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Greek Oriental Folk Dances in Baltimore ca. 1959

by Gabriel Pantelides and Company

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Kitrolemonia 04:29
Velouhi 03:51
O Grivas 04:03
Elenitsa 04:38
Psarpoulla 03:11
Ali Babbas 04:05
Hiotopoulla 03:10
Tsingeneller 02:49


Michael George Pantelis was born May 5, 1886 on the island Symi. He arrived in Tarpon Springs, Florida at the age of 10 in 1906 and was naturalized as an American citizen on July 9, 1913. He was a seaman (and, perhaps, a sponge-fisher). He made a return journey to Greece at the age of 38 at which time he was living in Washington D.C.

On April 16, 1947 at the age of 60, he returned to Greece again, bringing back his then 10 year old son Gabriel Patelis Pantelides (b. Feb. 1, 1928 on Symi), who had been living in Athens. Father and son, lived at 2024 I St. NW in Washington before Gabriel relocated to the Greektown of Baltimore Maryland at 5025 Eastern Avenue.

Gabriel made a return journey to Athens for three months in 1952, about the same time time he was married to his wife Elaine (with whom he had two children, Cathy and Michael G.) and again for two months in 1955, shortly before he formed his band in east Baltimore. From about 1957 into the mid-‘60s, he performed around Baltimore and D.C., as far north as Wilmington, Delaware and as far south as Newport News in the tidewater region of Virginia. Around 1959 he made this LP, expecting that he would would record more. A note on the rear panel of the jacket describes the group as “specializing in Greek, Turkish, Arabian, and Italian Folk Music” and asks the audience to “Please give us 3-4 months time,” although it’s unclear whether that is for more recordings to appear or to be available for bookings.

By the time the album was released he and his family had moved from Greektown to the northern suburb of Towson and later moved to several addresses in the nearby northern suburb of Lutherville-Tinomium. Elaine was an organizer of Greek-American activities in Baltimore through the 1970s and ‘80s. She died Dec. 21, 1998. Shortly thereafter, Gabriel relocated to Tarpon Springs, where he apparently lived until about 2002.

Very little information has been forthcoming about the other performers on the album. We can, at present, only say that the drummer Emanuel Prassinas was born on the island Amorgos in 1936. He seems to have arrived in Baltimore around 1955 when a ship he was working on (from Newport News, Virginia to Brazil and back to Baltimore) gave him an opportunity to enter the country. (It seem to me very unlikely that he went through the immigration process.) Baltimore’s Greek population was heavily derived from islands rather than the mainlands.

When I first encountered this album about 15 years ago ca. 2006, I brought it to the proprietor of the then-oldest-running shop in Baltimore's Greektown (and, in fact, the longest-running record store in Baltimore history), Kentrikon. Nitsa, who ran the shop since the 50s was quite familiar with it and told me that many of the performers were then still living, but I failed to follow up on on finding them at the time, and I suspect that the window has closed to find out more. Nitsa, who was a broadcaster on local radio during the ‘60s, a great fan of Maniolis Chiotis, and someone I was immediately fond of closed the shop in 2018. I fondly recall that when I first visited her, she addressed me in Greek, and I apologized to her that I didn’t speak Greek. She responded, “why not?”
Good question.


released December 22, 2022

Transfers, restoration, and notes by Ian Nagoski

Gabriel Pantelides: 1, 4, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12
Soula Farach: 2, 5, 12
Mary Flori: 3, 4, 6

Gabriel Pantelides - accordion
Kostas Maravellis - clarinet
Panaiotakis Sarkis - bouzouki & violin
Stavros Yakoumakis - electric guitar
Emanuel Prassinas - drum set
Spiros Yannopoulos - bouzouki
Michael Bogiatzis - guitar


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