July 24, 2011


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...

Posted by oook at July 24, 2011 12:10 PM
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