Tony Klein - "MORTIKA – Rare Vintage Recordings From A Greek Underworld" - Hydra Rebetiko Conference - October 2005

 

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TONY KLEIN

 

 

MORTIKA – Rare Vintage Recordings From A Greek Underworld

by Tony Klein

 

An account of a CD of historic rebetiko recordings about to be published in 2005

 

A Short History:

 

My musical life began with hearing 78s in my late 40s early 50s childhood – Caruso, Kreisler etc. My Greek musical life began in 1973 with, among other music, the first Greek LP reissue of Markos 78s – 'Afieroma', and shortly after, the 6 Rebetiki Istoria LPs. And I studied with Keromites 1975-6.

 

Acquiring internet 5 years ago and going through my lifetime backlog of unanswered questions, I asked "Who the h-ll was Jack Halikias – the man who transformed my idea of bouzouki in 1975 and of whom virtually nothing  is known?'" My searches led me to a series of exchanges with Halikias' son, to Dick Spottswood, and thither to Charlie Howard with whom I became very friendly.

 

Through Charlie, and the 14 CDs he had already compiled, I became even more interested in the question of retrieving optimal sound quality from 78s.

 

When Charlie had a compilation ready remastered by Ted Kendall, disciple of John R.T. Davies, doyen of 78 rpm sound conservers/retrievers, and was looking for a home for it, I finally took the plunge and undertook to see to its release. It is being released on a small independent label run by Den Flygande Bokrullen ('The Flying Scroll') an Uppsala Klezmer band with whom I have played on and off the last 10 years.

 

Mortika contains, as you see by the track list, a varied set of mainly 20s & 30s recordings of both Piraeus and Asia Minor style songs. The A-side  of the first bouzouki solo record, Halikias' s "To Mysterio", is heard in its complete form here, for the first time since 78 reissues of this music began – the inferior version on the 1977 Columbia LP CBS 82290 was clearly 'doctored' from a disc with an unplayable beginning – and here it is to be heard with unbelievably good sound. The Spahanis track on Mortika is the flip side of the very first recording with bouzouki made in Greece, in c 1931 – the player mentioned by both Markos and Keromites, Yorgos Manetas – is to be heard, from the only known copy of the disc. (The other side is on Rounder's Mourmourika CD). Sotiris Gavalas 'Memetis', known for penning many songs, sings himself on a rare and well preserved disc. The two Markos songs are heard in better condition than on any previous releases.

 

MORTIKA – Rare Vintage Recordings From A Greek Underworld

 

ARKOCD008

 

TRACK LIST

 

01 To Mistirio – Ioannis Halikias "Jack Gregory" (instrumental)

02 Erhome To Tiho Tiho – Giorgios Katsaros

03 Kale Mana Dhen Boro – Spahanis

04 Dou Dou – Andonis Dhiamandidhis "Dalgas"

05 To Dhahtiri – Frangiskos Zouridhakis

06 To Toust – Harilaos Kritikos

07 Haramisa Ta Niata Mou – Kostas Roukounas

08 O Isovitis – Markos Vamvakaris

09 O Bohoris – Andonis Amiralis "Papadzis" (instrumental)

10 Touto To Kalokeraki – K Kostis

11 Dhervisis – Marika Papagika

12 I Hasiklidhes – Pol-Meraklis

13 Mes' Stou Tzambikou Ton Teke – Rita Abadzi

14 Mortissa Hasiklou – Markos Vamvakaris

15 Iroοni Ke Mavraki – Stellakis Perpiniadhis

16 Xeftilis – Ioannis Halikias '"Jack Gregory" (instrumental)

17 Stou Bezesteni Tin Avli – Sotiris Ghavalas

18 Kapnouloudhes – Dhimitris Gogos "Bayenderas"

19 I Avandes Tou Sofer – Andonis Dhiamandidhis "Dalgas"

20 Dhervisaki – Giorgios Katsaros

21 Kato Ap' Ti Skala Tou Papa – Nikos Vrahnas

 

Hydra Rebetiko Conference

13-17 October 2005


Ends

 

E-mail: mortika@telia.com