Kalafatis Kostas

Kostas Kalafatis is one of the most famous rebetes in Greece.

This post is also available in: Ελληνικά (Greek)

kostas kalafatis, musicians in Skopelos, artists in Skopelos, rembetiko music skopelos.

Artists of Skopelos

Kostas Kalafatis is one of the most famous rebetes in Greece. He was born in Thessaloniki in a poor neighborhood and was taught Byzantine music by his father, who was a cantor.

At the age of 14 and after saving money, he buys his first guitar, while at the age of 16 he already plays and sings.

During the coup in Greece, Kalafatis studied at the School of Biology in Patras, where he fully dedicated himself to music, since his fellow student and later known lyricist Lefteris Chapsiadis introduced him to the music of Hadjidakis, Theodorakis and Markopoulos.

He started singing at very small taverns where they served wine and appetizers on wax paper.  There he was introduced to the particular sound of  the rebetiko and restored his liking of folk music. In Patras he met Giorgos Xintaris and they started playing together. So he left his studies (he later got his degree) and started playing music all over Greece.

Kostas Kalafatis

On a trip to Skopelos was so fascinated by the island and the people he decided to live there. Thanks to him and other musicians of Skopelos (eg Nicolas Syros), in the mid 70s a core of folk song was created on the island.

Kalafatis first played with the very young then and still unknown Eleni Tsaligopoulou and with Christos Mirthidis – later “Agamos Thytis”.

In the summer of ’79 in a shop, a group of young musicians were playing music. Kalafatis was there when some of the audience begged to give the microphone to a girl who sung well. It was Eleftheria Arvanitaki and that night was the beginning of the musical group  “Opisthodromiki Kompania”.

Soon after, someone introduced him to “a young man who plays amazing bouzouki and writes songs.” It was Vangelis Korakakis, with whom Kalafatis later collaborated and recorded.

This “tradition” of Skopelos gradually began to decline. In 2001, Kalafatis starte living in Athens during the winter months.

In Athens, one can see Kostas Kalafatis at “Ali Skala” in Kaminia. There, this great “rebetis” interprets the songs sitting at a table instead of a stage, because as he claims. “It is essential to sit at the same level as all others.”

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