Leros is a small island in the Dodecanese group of Greek islands off the coast of Asia Minor, the largest of which is Rhodes and one of the best known is Potmos, where St. John the Divine wrote down his Revelations. The Dodecanese became part of Greece following World War II, having been occupied by Italy since 1911.
The songs and dances of the island reflect, in their rhythms and words, the lives of the people - love, parting, longing, reunion, marriages and feasts. The men, for the most part, are fishermen, sailors and cultivators. As with Greeks in general, many are sojourners and immigrants, and Leros is represented in the European and American diasporas.
The typical island instruments, heard here, are the fiddle, the lute and the hammered dulcimer (violi. laouto, santouri). The songs represented here do not adhere to a fixed text. In the middle of a dance song, the singer may think of another text to the same tune and switch, or the musicians, used to performing in a set rather than discreet pieces, will go into a different dance altogether.
The recording is representative of the local performance of the dances of many Greek islands as they have been played at festive gatherings and tavernas and some, played on radio on national folklore programs, are familiar to listeners from many parts of Greece.