I happened upon the 1988 documentary “Music of the Outsiders” on YouTube. Here’s the first of seven magnificent parts:

I’ve been entangled with re[m]betika since… well, when? I suppose I first heard of the genre as ‘rebetika’ about 30 years or so ago, but my taste for Greek music goes back much further, to the early 1950s when I used to listen to Greek and Armenian music on AM radio. When I was in college in the early 1960s I had a few Greek records, most notably the Folkways “Songs and Dances of Greece” (1953, and a mix of ‘folk’ and urban styles, but without the disreputable rebetika, or the Levantine smyrnaica). I got Gail Holst’s Road to Rembetika (1975) in 1980 or so, and in the early 1980s I bought a lot of vinyl reissues of rebetika 78s, and a mountain of CD reissues once the material started to appear in that format. I also got my hands on the Costas Ferris film “Rembetiko” (1984) Watch this bit for the flavor, and this too:

and I’ve collected books and articles more or less systematically. Being unable to read or understand Greek is the main stumbling block to further development –there’s only so much that translations of lyrics can tell you, especially when their language is nuanced argot. But I have thousands, literally, of MP3s, and there’s a fine array of video on YouTube… and Spotify has tons…

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