CD Rembetika: Greek Music from the Underground [Box] (CD 1057968),
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Rembetika: Greek Music from the Underground [Box]

  • 0. DISC 1: THE OTTOMAN LEGACY 1925-1937:
    1. Mandalena - Various Artists
    2. Chakiji Zeibek - Various Artists
    3. Tsifte Telli - Various Artists
    4. Huseini Manes - Various Artists
    5. Ballos Smyrneikos Me Mane - Various Artists
    6. Aidhinikos Xoros - Various Artists
    7. Zeimbekiko Melemenio - Various Artists
    8. Piran Ta Frygana Fotia - Various Artists
    9. Minore Manes, S'Afino Tin Kali Nychtia - Various Artists
    10. Sousta Politiki - Various Artists
    11. Bournovalio - Various Artists
    12. Melachrinoula - Various Artists
    13. Rast Zergile - Various Artists
    14. Zi Markopouliotissa - Various Artists
    15. Dzerkeza - Various Artists
    16. Gazeli Sabach, Sti Mavri Yi Chrosto Kormi - Various Artists
    17. San Eyriz' AP Tin Pylo - Various Artists
    18. Mes' to Vathi Skotadhi - Various Artists
    19. O Prezakis - Various Artists
    20. Yiovan Tsaous - Various Artists
    21. Paraponiounde I Manges Mas - Various Artists
    22. Ego Thelo Prigipessa - Various Artists
    0. DISC 2: PIRAEUS HEAVY HITTERS 1934-1946:
    1. Klostirou - Various Artists
    2. Zeimbekano Spaniolo - Various Artists
    3. Thermastis - Various Artists
    4. San Ise Mangas Ke Dais - Various Artists
    5. Kapote Imouna Ki'ego - Various Artists
    6. Synachis - Various Artists
    7. Varka Mou Boyiatismeni - Various Artists
    8. I Fylakes Tou Oropou - Various Artists
    9. Prepi Na Xeris Michani - Various Artists
    10. Panta Me Glyko Hasisi - Various Artists
    11. Htan Anixi - Various Artists
    12. Manges Piaste Ta Vouna - Various Artists
    13. Pende Manges - Various Artists
    14. Soura Ke Mastoura - Various Artists
    15. Taxim Athineiko Ke Zeimbekiko - Various Artists
    16. Mes'tou Vavoula Ti Gouva - Various Artists
    17. Ouzak - To Tragoudhi Tis Xentias - Various Artists
    18. I Moni Mou Parigoria - Various Artists
    19. Ego Mangas Fenomouna - Various Artists
    20. Taxim - Zeimbekiko - Various Artists
    21. Olli I Rembetes Tou Dounia - Various Artists
    22. I Baglamadhes - Various Artists
    23. Ithela Na' Moun Iraklis - Various Artists
    0. DISC 3: DOPE, DICE, GUITARS, KNIVES & SUCH 1928-1946:
    1. Stis Syras to Aniforo - Various Artists
    2. Tout' I Batsoi Pou'rthan Tora - Various Artists
    3. Troumba - Various Artists
    4. O Skylomangas - Various Artists
    5. Me Pianoune Zaladhes - Various Artists
    6. To Minore Tou Deke - Various Artists
    7. O Paraponiaris - Various Artists
    8. I Efmorfi Attaleia - Various Artists
    9. Echo Meraki Echo Dalga - Various Artists
    10. To Yellekaki - Various Artists
    11. Raste Tou Deke - Various Artists
    12. O Vlamis Tou Psyri - Various Artists
    13. Mas Kynigoun Ton Argile - Various Artists
    14. Strive Logia - Various Artists
    15. To Flidzani Tou Yianni - Various Artists
    16. Pane Yia to Prasso - Various Artists
    17. Ime Prezakias - Various Artists
    18. Dhervisis Ke Anna - Various Artists
    19. To Proi Me Tin Dhrossoula - Various Artists
    20. Hadzimilousiko - Various Artists
    21. Trikouverto - Various Artists
    0. DISC 4: AFTER CENSORSHIP 1937-1947:
    1. I Margarita - Various Artists
    2. Ola Ta 'Cho Varethi - Various Artists
    3. Mikroula Pireotissa - Various Artists
    4. I Magdhalo - Various Artists
    5. Thelo Na Se Andamoso, Xaveriotissa - Various Artists
    6. I Mikri Ap'to Passalimani - Various Artists
    7. Vaggelitsa - Various Artists
    8. Se Fino Akroyiali - Various Artists
    9. Tatavliano - Various Artists
    10. Dhen Tha'rtho Peia Stin Kokkinia - Various Artists
    11. Pali Mou Kanoun Proxenia - Various Artists
    12. Paliopedho - Various Artists
    13. O Tsiggounis O Babas Sou - Various Artists
    14. Vadhizo Me Parapono - Various Artists
    15. Tha Se Klepso Tha Se Paro - Various Artists
    16. I Meraklidhes - Various Artists
    17. To Portofoli - Various Artists
    18. Opios Orfanepse Mikrosmanavissa Me Gaidhouraki - Various Artists
    19. Manavissa Me Gaidhouraki - Various Artists
    20. O Serianis - Various Artists
    21. Tis Mastouras O Skopos - Various Artists
    22. Varka Yialo - Various Artists
    23. NEA Vaggelitsa - Various Artists
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 7776

  • Credits

    Thanks to the crazy music fans at JSP in England comes this packed four-disc overview of rembetika, the true music of Greece's underworld. Rembetika has an interesting history. Its origins are not exactly known, and are traced back in various labyrinthine ways to the mid-19th century. In 1911, the word "rembetico" appeared on a record label, and the word was defined as being of "mildly erotic," bohemian content; it was used to describe such records through the mid-'20s. Beginning around 1925, the music's name changed and became associated most specifically with the underworld -- primarily because of music played in brothels, hash dens, prisons, and other generally criminal surroundings. It was raw, immediate, sometimes harsh and bawdy, other times noir-ish and seductive in a sinister way. The music listeners now consider true rembetika came into view after the Greco-Turkish war. It flourished between 1925 and 1937 when it was officially censored as immoral by the Metaxas government. The music lived, however, and went deeply underground; it surfaced again briefly around 1946 before it was once again censored. The instrument rembetika brought to Greece's popular consciousness was the bouzouki, though violins, ouds, hand percussion, and singing were all part of the rembetika experience.
    The four discs here are organized around various themes. The first concentrates on the music made in the golden years as the material developed into a bona fide recordable style as it came out from under the hard thump of the Ottoman Empire. Singers such as Marika Papagika, Achilleas Poulos, Rita Abadzi, Stellkis Perpinidhis, and Kostas Karipis are all featured on this slab. Disc two begins in 1932 under censorship; it goes deeply underground and reflects the seamy side of life in the underworld. Here is the place where the bouzouki and baglamas come into prominence (bouzouki has been the featured instrument in Greek music since that time). Here the more popular song is introduced. Most of the performers here are male, and they make an impression with their swirling darkness and tales of lost love, drunkenness, power, violence, and grief. From the start, the bouzouki reigns supreme as Mrkos Vamvakris sings "I Klostirou (The Mill Girl)." Long intricate instrumental patterns dig into the lyric and assert themselves at the tune's nadir. Yiorgos Batis' "I Fylakes Tou Oropou (Oropos Jail)" is another punch in the gut as he sings with rage about his pain and isolation. Vamvakris and Batis are featured on this disc many times, but one never tires of the music they make. Stellios Keromytis is also here, and his "I Moni Mou Parigoria (My Only Consolation)" is one of the this CD's highlights.
    Disc three, entitled Dope, Dice, Guitars, Knives and Such, documents the scene thematically with songs of the underworld along those lines from 1928 to 1946. And some familiar names are here such as Jack Halikias, whose "Raste Tou Deke" was the first true -- albeit underground -- rembetika hit and featured the bouzouki, making many other musicians turn their heads. Also included are fine decadent tunes by George Katsaros, Rza Eskenzi, and Gus Dussas. The final volume in the set showcases the brief popularity -- above ground -- of rembetika. The big names in the scene are here, like Perpinidhis, Stratos Payoumtzis, Yiannis Papaiouannou, and Apstolos Hadzichrstos. But this disc is also the place where rembetika virtually disappears and goes back so far underground that it almost -- almost -- ceases to exist. The rawness is here; the sexual allure and tales of the forbidden have gone back into the shadows where they have begun to emerge once more in archival recordings such as these. JSP's documentation of this music is superb. The remastering job from tapes and 78s is exacting, which makes for a warm sound even on the earliest sides. The notes are historical, with a different set for each volume, and the histories of performers, origins of terms and words, and even a pronunciation guide are provided. Like the great blues collections they issue, Rembetika: Greek Music from the Underworld is a treasure trove of the lost, the forgotten, and the dangerous. As stellar and soulful a documentary collection as you'll fine anywhere. ~ Thom Jurek

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