I love many kinds of music from classic to folk, Greek or foreign, and it depends on my moods what music I will hear that specific moment. When I feel very depressed the rebetika songs take my sorrows away. Thank you Aino for the challenge.

Rebetiko or Rebetika are the Greek Urban Folk (Laika) Songs that made their first appearance towards the end of the 19th century and were born at the harbours, where the Greek labour class used to live and Asia Minor. The cradles of rebetiko song were the tavern, the ouzeri, the hashish den and also the prison. The name rebetiko comes from the word rebelos and refers to the indocile and undisciplined person. Rebetiko is a synthesis of the music of the various areas of the Greek mainland and the Greek islands, Greek ecclesiastical chant, often referred to as Byzantine music. The Greek genocide of Asia Minor in 1922 and the income of numerous refugees, Rebetika songs merged with the songs of Asia Minor and became even more popular and more diverse. In music,it passes from the basic instruments bouzouki to a larger orchestra, although still, the predominant sound belongs to bouzouki. Like several other urban subcultural musical forms such as the blues, flamenco, fado, and tango, rebetiko grew out of particular urban circumstances. Oftentimes, but by no means always, its lyrics reflect the harsher realities of a marginalized subculture's lifestyle. Thus one finds themes such as crime, drink, drugs, poverty, prostitution and violence, but also a multitude of themes of relevance to people of any social statum: death, eroticism, exile, exoticism, disease, love, marriage, matchmaking, the mother figure, war, work, and divers other everyday matters, both happy and sad. The companion dance of a rembetiko song is the zeimbekiko, an improvisational dance, following the dancing pattern of 9/8. Zeibekiko is definitely one of the most popular and beloved dances and rhythms in Greece, because it’s passionate and flamboyant. It is a personal dance, a way to express individuality, but also fears and desires, a way to unwind through music and dance. Usually only one person at a time may dance it and everyone else has to kneel down, forming a circle around the dancer, clapping following the rhythm and encouraging the dancer. Zeibekiko dance does have some particular steps, but the most impressive dance is the one where the dancer shows his creativity, performing special feats, adding a little humor and personal touch to the occasion. The real zeibekiko for Greeks, though, is heavy and impassionate, a spoony dance; an expression of passion danced by buster guys. It is an introverted dance that reflects the sorrow, anguish and pain of the dancer as well as his emotional distress and his losses.

I hope that Randy will give the permission to put this link from YouTube, so that you can hear the best rebetiko music. You can see the famous Zeibekiko of Evdokia, one of the most known Greek Songs, which is actually instrumental, because the sound and melody are so powerful that lyric writers refused to write lyrics on the melody, fearing that they will ruin it. It was composed by Manos Loizos. It was played during the concert of Haris Alexiou, a known Greek singer and in the theater of Herodes Atticus under Acropolis. Put the speakers aloud and enjoy the music and the rhythm.


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The sketch of the dancer, the bouzouki instrument, the Smirni's (Izmir) photo are from the web. The title of the song on the background is "I am burning".