Violin of Western Crete
He was born on 28th February 1988 in Gramvousa, Kissamos, Crete, where he grew up. His musical inclination was evident from an early age when at 4 or 5 he would use his mother’s wooden spoons singing softly and pretending to be playing the violin.
His first contact with that musical instrument was at the age of 6 when his father’s brother gave him a violin as a present.
His first music teacher, at the age of 9, was Michalis Kounelis. When Kounelis passed away, Stratis went on studying with Thodoris Polychronakis and Haralabis Annousakis.
Stratis was greatly influenced by older Cretan musicians, namely: Kostis Papadakis (Naftis), Nikolaos Tzegas, Fotis Katrakis, Manolis and Vasilis Kartsonakis, Grigoris Mathioudakis, Stefanis Karefyllakis, Stelios Lainakis (Gramvousianos), Vagelis Polychronakis, Fotoula Polychronaki and George Koutsourelis.
What played a very important role in the shaping of Stratis’ musical style and character was the fact that he was always in close touch with dancers and singers of the Kissamos area.
The first traditional Cretan feast where Stratis played his violin was when he was 11. Since the age of 15 he has been invited to play professionally at local feasts on a regular basis. (His partners have been: Nickos Stamatakis, George Annousakis, George Kontstantoudakis, Nickos Marentakis, Dimitris Hartzoulakis, Leonidas Lainakis etc).
His musical journeys include places such as Munich Germany, Sardinia Italy and several others in Greece, like Thessaloniki, Veria, Naousa, Xanthi, Serres, Metsovo and Athens.
Stratis has participated in the Houdetsi (Heraklion) musical festival and other events organized by the Pancretan Musicians Association.
Any personal albums have not been released yet.
As a teenager and for 3 or 4 years he was lucky to be a part of the Rizitiko Song choir and to be taught by George Michelakis (Michelogiorgis).
For the last 2 years he has been teaching traditional violin playing along with Lefteris Koumis at the Conservatory of the Kissamos and Selino Holy Metropolis.