Hydra Rebetiko Conference - October 2002 - Programme








Programme of the October 2002 Conference


Please Note: These sessions will take place in the Melina Mercouri Hall on the harbourside. If that building is required for mayoral election purposes, we shall transfer to another building. A notice will be posted on the door to inform you.

The following order of speakers may also be subject to change.

 Flexibility is the order of the day!


Afternoon Session – Melina Mercouri Hall – 4.30-5.30pm

Registration for the Conference

Evening Session – Melina Mercouri Hall – 7.00pm to 9.00pm

Showing of a REBETIKO FILM. Title to be announced.


FRIDAY 18 OCTOBER [Most papers presented in English]

Morning Session – Melina Mercouri Hall – 10.00am to 12.30pm


HUGO STRÖTBAUM of Holland: "Rebetiko: what's in a name?" [In English] [Summary below]

PETER VEJLESKOV of Denmark: "A thematic-stylistic analysis of Vasilis Tsitsanis's censored pre-war lyrics" [In English] [Summary below]

Afternoon Session – Melina Mercouri Hall – 2.30pm 5.30pm

ED EMERY of London: "The figure of Stavrakas in the Karaghiozis shadow theatre" [In English] [Summary below]

NIKOS ZARKOS of Moosootoo. "The Guitar Style of Katsaros" [In English and Greek] [Summary below]

ANDREAS TSEKOURAS of Athens. Invited to speak on "The Epicurean Ideal in Rebetiko "** [In English]

Evening Session – Time and venue to be announced

The group MOOSOOTOO will play a 60-minute themed session on "Rebetiko and the World of Work: Songs from the 1930s"

JASON MELISSINOS of Athens: A shadow puppet performance of "Stavrakas sto Tekke".  [With live musical accompaniment]


SATURDAY 19 OCTOBER [Most papers presented in Greek]

Morning Session – Melina Mercouri Hall – 10.00am to 1.00pm

MARIOS KOPTSAS-ANASTASSIOU of the University of Vienna. "Some points where scientific research about rebetiko is lacking" [In Greek] [Summary below]

DIMITRIS HYPHANTIS of Athens: " Typology of Hashish Users in Rebetiko" [In Greek] [Summary below]

ARIS RADIOPOULOS of Germany: "Rebetiko i laiko? Ena anuparkto dilimma" [In Greek] [Summary below]

Afternoon Session – Melina Mercouri Hall – 2.30pm 4.30pm

JOHN HARRISON of Yorkshire. Contributor to the workshop on instrument-making. [In English]

A ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION entitled "Rebetiko in Today's World – Mapping a Musical Movement" [In Greek and English]

ALI FUAT AYDIN with CENK GURAY of Ankara. Will speak on: "The Characteristics of the Music of Asia Minor Greeks and the Effects of 'Population Exchange' in Greek Music: A Comparative Approach" [In English] [Summary below]


Followed by our REBETIKO SUPPER AND CONCERT at the Douskos Restaurant from 9.30 till late.

Our performers will be:

Maryo from Thessaloniki – singer

Kyriakos Gouventas – violin

Manolis Pappos – bouzouki, singer

Sophia Papazoglou – singer

Christos Papanikolaou – guitar

Andreas Tsekouras – accordeon – baglama – banjo – mandola tenore

with additional contributions from

Ivi Dermanci from Istanbul – singer

the Ladies' Choir of Hydra

and Ali Fuat Aydin and Cenk Guray from Ankara


Morning Session – Melina Mercouri Hall – 11.00am to 1.00pm


MARK DRAGOUMIS of the Centre for Asia Minor Studies, Athens: "A paper on Kyria Koula and the 'Votsis March'."  [In English]

A ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION of about the plans for next year's Conference, October 2003, for which the sub-theme will be "REBETIKO, WOMEN AND THE WOMEN OF REBETIKO" 

This will be followed by a leisurely afternoon JAM SESSION at the Harbourside.

The Jam Session will be set off by Moosootoo

 [Pavlos Melas, Asterios Pouftis and Nikos Zarkos]

with participation of the musicians of the REBETIKO FORUM

Then FAREWELL TILL NEXT TIME, which will be on the island of Hydra on the weekend of 17-19 October 2003





At 8.x.02 the following summaries have been received.

Listed in alphabetical order of speakers.


"The Characteristics of the Music of Asia Minor Greeks and the Effects of 'Population Exchange' in Greek Music: A Comparative Approach"

by Ali Fuat Aydin and Cenk Guray


SUMMARY: This study is an examination of some of the roots of the today’s Greek Music in the region of Anatolia. The work starts with a brief overview of the subject of the “makam”, on which the main content of this paper will be based. In this section the musical and the spiritual theory of the “makam” concept will be discussed. These discussion will be concluded with musical examples from Turkish music and Anatolian based Smyrnaika and Politika.


After that, we will offer historical and geographical observations on the exchange of Greek and Turkish populations in 1923, which will help to locate the roots of the musical influences extending from Anatolia to Greece.


The research will continue by a comparative study of today’s Greek Music and the Greek Music before 1923. This stage of the paper will concentrate on the observable application differences of the “makam” theory in Greek Music in the past 100 years. The study will conclude with a discussion of the possible effects of the Anatolian Music on today’s Greek Music after 1923 in terms of “makam” applications.


[Paper presented in English, with musical illustrations]




"A paper on Kyria Koula and the 'Votsis March'."

by Mark Dragoumis


[Paper presented in English]




"The figure of Stavrakas in the karaghiozis shadow theatre"

by Ed Emery


SUMMARY: Rebetiko is not merely a musical genre. It is a way of life, a social ambience with its own styles and rules. This paper looks at the figures of the koutsavakis and the mangas as they are presented in the tradition of the Greek karaghiozis shadow theatre. It is designed as a prelude to the performance which will be given by Jason Melissinos.


[Paper presented in English]




"Hashish users in Rebetiko and their typology"

by Dimitris Hyphantis


SUMMARY: Developing last year's paper in which I looked at the general question of drug usage in Rebetiko, I examine the specific case of hashish usage and its portrayal in Rebetiko song.


During the 1920s and 1930s the use of hashish becomes markedly present in Greece. In rebetiko songs we find frequent references to the use of hashish. I have examined 1,228 songs dated from 1924 to 1958. For the period 1924-36, which is censorship-free, I have 151 songs where hashish use is either mentioned or is the principle subject. Analysing the lyrics of these songs I have classified three broad categories of hashish users, and these are analysed in my paper.

[Paper presented in Greek]



"Some points where scientific research about rebetiko is lacking"

by Marios Koptsas-Anastassiou


SUMMARY: The aim of this paper is to focus on some particular difficulties in studying Rebetiko, in relation to most of the existing publications. The personal emotional approach of most writers, the tendency to analyse and place Rebetiko within the historical events and important social structures of modern Greek society – perhaps in order to make the genre better understandable – has resulted in a certain interpretative slant being given to Rebetiko. Beside this, a lot of less qualified statements, based on prejudice, ignorance or rejection bring a lot of confusion, so that many significant questions about Rebetiko still remain answered. On the other hand, scientific musicological studies and archive publications are either non-existent, or are obscure and hard to obtain. The repeated clichés and the simplified interpretations, combined with exhaustive but unrealistic attempts to include everything about Rebetiko and its people in a single publication, seems to lead scientific research to a dead end, since a lot of Rebetiko facts and phenomena cannot be explained within those “preconstructed” schemes. We need to be able to develop new approaches in order to understand Rebetiko better. Flexibility, precisely oriented research, organization and publications are necessary.


ΠΕΡΙΛΗΨΗ: Στόχος αυτής της παρουσίασης είναι να επιστήσει την προσοχή σε συγκεκριμένα προβλήματα που αντιμετωπίζει ο ερευνητής του Ρεμπέτικου κυρίως σε σχέση με τις υπάρχουσες δημοσιεύσεις. Η προσωπική προσέγγιση των περισσότερων συγγραφέων, η τάση να αναλύσουν το Ρεμπέτικο και να το τοποθετήσουν μέσα στο πλαίσιο ιστορικών γεγονότων και σημαντικών δομών της σύγχρονης ελληνικής κοινωνίας- ίσως για να το παρουσιάσουν ως πιο κατανοητό- δημιούργησε ένα τυποποιημένο ερμηνευτικό πλαίσιο. Πέρα από αυτό, πλήθος από αυθαίρετες ερμηνείες, βασισμένες στην προκατάληψη, στην άγνοια και στην απόριψη του Ρεμπέτικου έχουν επιδεινώσει τη σύγχυση, έτσι ώστε καθοριστικά ερωτήματα για το Ρεμπέτικο να παραμένουν αναπάντητα. Αντίθετα, οι επιστημονικές μελέτες και οι εκτεταμένες δημοσιεύσεις αρχειακού υλικού απουσιάζουν ή βρίσκονται σε δεύτερο πλάνο. Τα επαναλαμβανόμενα στερεότυπα και οι απλοποιημένες ερμηνείες σε συνδυασμό με την εξουθενωτική αλλά συγχρόνως και ουτοπική προσπάθεια να συμπεριλάβουν οτιδήποτε σχετικό με το Ρεμπέτικο και τους ανθρώπους του σε μια και μόνη δημοσίευση, φαίνεται να οδηγεί την επιστημονική έρευνα σε αδιέξοδο, αφού ένα μεγάλο μέρος γεγονότων και φαινομένων που σχετίζονται με το Ρεμπέτικο δεν μπορεί να ερμηνευθεί μέσα σε αυτά τα προκατασκευασμένα πλαίσια.

Θα πρέπει να φανούμε πρόθυμοι να αναζητήσουμε μερικούς καινούριους δρόμους για να μπορέσουμε να καταλάβουμε καλίτερα το Ρεμπετικο. Απαραίτητα μέσα είναι η ευελιξία, η έρευνα πάνω σε ξεκάθαρους στόχους, η οργάνωση και οι δημοσιέυσεις.


[Paper presented in Greek]





"A karaghiozis shadow theatre performance: STAVRAKAS IN THE TEKKE"


performed by Jason Melissinos


This performance will take place at the harbourside on Friday evening.


On Saturday morning, for those who are interested, Jason will be conducting a Karaghiozis Workshop for the children of the island. He will show how to construct and paint the traditional figures. This event will take place in the Archaeological Museum.






"Rebetiko or Laiko? A false dilemma"

by Aris Radiopoulos

The aim of this paper is to show that the widespread use of the two terms, often in a way that implies a different musical and textual content, is not based upon solid historical criteria or data but upon the assumptions made by the first researchers of the topic. The terms “Rebetiko” and “Laiko” – when referring to songs – were not used originally versus, but only in addition to each other, in order to include the different nuances of the same genre. The ideological distance that emerged in the last fifty years is only another proof that history is not an objective discipline but rather the most suitable version of one`s own past.


[Paper presented in Greek]




"Rebetiko: what's in a name?"


by Hugo Strötbaum

SUMMARY: This paper will contain the following: Some facts and speculations about "prehistoric" rebetika. An inventory of all available evidence on "rebetiko" as a generic term and how it was used. And a look at other generic terms used in Greek music.

Parallels are drawn with similar generic terms in other kinds of music.


[Paper presented in English]




"A thematic-stylistic analysis of Vasilis Tsitsanis's censored pre-war lyrics"


by Peter Vejleskov


SUMMARY: Which themes does Vasilis Tsitsanis write about in songs issued on
record during the period from October 1937 till the end of 1940, and what are the songs like from a literary point of view? My presentation aims at answering the first of these two questions in full, and the second at least in part. This is the first step in what is hoped to become a comparative analysis that may answer questions such as the following:

Do Tsitsanis's lyrics differ from those of Markos Vamvakaris, and if yes: how?

Do Tsitsanis's post-war lyrics differ from his pre-war lyrics and how?

Do Tsitsanis's few uncensored lyrics differ from the vast majority of  his production which was subject to preventive censorship, and how?

Do the song-texts written by Markos before and after October 1937 differ and how? Does the censorship influence the style as well as the choice of subject matter?

During the presentation much emphasis will be given to the question
of the accurate dating of the songs.

[Paper presented in English]




"The Rebetiko Guitar Playing of Yiorgos Katsaros"

by Nikos Zarkos


SUMMARY: The 'Giorgos Katsaros' project has the following structure:


1. I shall play two songs as examples. These songs will be 'Chtes to vrady stou Karipi' (Yesterday at Karipis's place) and 'Vre ti mangas pou'mai 'go' (What a mangas am I).


2. I shall look at the technique that Katsaros used in playing the guitar, analysing it through the eyes of a classical or flamenco guitarist (finger-style, rasgueados, etc.)


3. Discussion and questions. I shall prepare a photocopied text and a hand-written music score of the songs to hand out to Conference members.


[Paper presented in English and Greek, with musical illustrations]





Also present will be members of the band AMABOLA from London:


"Inspired by crackly old 78's Amabola produce music of 'timeless quality' (LGR). Intent on bypassing package-holiday sounds, the London-based band Amabola draw upon the music of the rebetes to create their own brand of Greek roots music. They work towards rich, emotional, acoustic performances, and feature the beautiful voice of Katina Kangaris."


Katina Kangaris (DV8) – Vocals

Chris Morphitis (Arabesque+Spirit Talk Mbira)  – Guitar

Max deWardener – Double Bass

Jack Arnold – Clarinet





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