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Folk music of Lesvos

Panayiotis Sousamlis was born and raised in the town of Agiassos on Lesbos island in 1944, where folk music flourished and still preserves some of its original glory. His father, a musician, played the violin, the santouri (dulcimer) and the trumpet. He came from a family background where most members of the family were professional musicians. He was taught the folk tunes as a boy by his cousin Stratis Sousamlis (Silems) who played the clarinet. The first instrument he learnt to play were the drums (referred to as "jazz" in those days).

Later on in life he attended music classes (theory and the trombone) at the Music Academy of Athens. He decided to go back to his roots in 1986, at a time when almost all folk bands that played traditional music with wind instruments had disappeared. He began experimenting with hi-tech computers in order to reproduce certain cherished folk pieces from his childhood and adolescent years. His efforts were guided by his acoustic memory and the heritage both folk and other which his father passed down to him.

It may sound weird. Folk music generated by means of a sound card installed on a PC. Indeed such an attempt can not possibly reproduce the expression, the tones produced by the authentic instruments or the feeling of a live performance. Nonetheless it may come close. But the most interesting aspect of the "collection" is that the authentic melodies are preserved and presented, as they were back in those days. For, as time went by and because those melodies were passed on by ear and played by different performers, it was only natural for there to be variations and distortions.