Vasil Patskou was born in the village of Zhelevo, Aegean Macedonia November 28th, 1907 to Done and Sophia (nee Hadjipaul) Patskou. Siblings included Elinka (died in infancy) Louis, Zoya, and Alex.
As a young boy, he played music with his father and younger brothers. He played by ear all through his musical career, but received formal musical training while serving compulsory military service in the Greek army. He played the clarinet predominately, also many instruments including the violin, saxophone, and trumpet.
In the old country, he was invited to play at weddings in all parts of the regions of Kostur, Lerin, Solun, Prespa, etc.
He married Sophia in June 1931, daughter of Risto and Mara (nee Nickolou) Dibranou.
His father made several journeys to the United States and Canada before settling in Toronto which resulted in Vasil joining him in 1937.
In December 1939, he was joined by his wife and three daughters, Pearl, (Mrs. Louis Trenton), Marina (Mrs. Chris Marko), and Kay (Mrs. Jack Wilson) just before immigration was stopped by the Second World War in Europe.
He worked with his father and brothers in the family owned restaurant “Paul’s Lunch” St. Clair and Dufferin from 1937 -1956.
At the same time, he formed a band played at many functions including, weddings, engagements, dances, and parties in Canada – Toronto, Hamilton, London, Windsor, etc., and in the United States – Buffalo, Detroit, Rochester, Syracuse, Akron and Columbus Ohio, Gary Indiana, etc.
In the late 1940’s, he recorded two albums of old country music at the House of Hamburg, which lead to having one of his records played on the Jewish radio program in 1947. He also appeared with Bert Niosi and Jack Evan’s orchestras (two-prominent Toronto band leaders.)
Singers on the records included: Turpo Steffoff, and Sophia Dineff.
Some of his band members included: Louis Patskou (drummer), Elia Butseff (piano), Jimmy Tomev (trumpet), Eddie Fedisinski (accordion), Kime Stefanoff (clarinet), Johnny Nichols (clarinet), Steve Necheff (drummer), and several others.
Vasil passed away July 31, 1974 after many years of failing health and has been greatly missed by his family, relatives and many, many friends, young and old alike. Fondly remembered for his kindness, music, and great story telling. His wife Sophia, passed away December 15, 2001. They left behind a family of 3 daughters, and 3 son-in-laws, 5 grand children and 9 great grand children.
A big thanks to James Stoynoff, Olga Sandolowich, and the MPO Macedonian Tribune for the information, pictures, and music. I suspect that his Slavic name was Patskoff, which was changed to the Greek format Patskou in 1936.
Left click on the above image to show the picture in full size.
Bilyana Platno Beleshe instrumental