Hydra Rebetiko Conference - October 2003 - Programme of Events









Island of Hydra – 16-19 October 2003




Please Note: Most of the sessions will take place in the Melina Mercouri Hall on the harbourside. But other venues will also be used [see below].

The following order of speakers may be subject to change.

 Flexibility is the order of the day!



Thursday Afternoon Session – Melina Mercouri Hall – 1.30-3.00pm

Registration for the Conference

Thursday Afternoon Session – Fine Art School – 3.00pm to 4.30pm

MADELYN TAYLOR of California will hold a mixed dance workshop on “Zeibekiko: Up Close and Personal ”. This is a warm-up for the main session on  Friday.

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


RUTH MARGRAFF and NIKOS BRISCO from New York will perform and talk about the Greek music inspiration in their working-class operas Judges 19: Black Lung Exhaling and Café Andartes.

Showing of the film “ON A MOONLESS NIGHT[“Νύχτωσε χωρις φεγγάρι” –  English version]. The director, LUC BONGRAND, will give a short talk about the making of the film.

Evening Session – Various restaurants – 9.00pm till whenever

Following the wishes of last year’s conferees, there is no single venue for music-making this evening. At some point IVI DERMANCI will arrive, after a long day’s travel, and there might be an informal session, at some venue yet to be announced, on “The Women’s Voice in Rebetiko”. This will be a warm-up for the main session on Friday.


Friday Morning Session – Melina Mercouri Hall – 10.00am to 12.00pm

MADELYN TAYLOR of California will present a small paper on “Zeibekiko: Up Close and Personal [In English] [Summary below]

YANNIS ZAIMAKIS of the University of Thrace: "The world of the tekke in pre-war Heracleion: Symbolisms and rituals".  [In Greek] [English summary provided]

MARIA KOTSIRI of Athens will talk about the politiki laouto, and will present a few songs with the instrument.

Friday Lunchtime Session – Fine Art School– 2.30pm 4.00pm

IVI DERMANCI of Istanbul will lead a women’s singing workshop on “The Women’s Voice in Rebetiko”. [Songs: Psaropoula; To Yelelaki and Hariklaki.]

Friday Afternoon Session – Melina Mercouri Hall – 4.30pm to 6.00pm

KRINI KAFIRIS of Athens: “Towards a Filmography of Rebetiko” [In English]

ED EMERY of the Institute of Rebetology, London: "In Memoriam Elias Petropoulos: Les Juifs de Salonique” [In English] [Summary below]

HANK BRADLEY of Seattle: A talk on “The Violin in Rebetika”. [In English] [Summary below] [Full paper]

Friday Early Evening Session – Amalour Bar – 6.15 pm to 7.00pm


Showing of the film “THE HYDRA REBETIKO GATHERING [2001-2002]”, with the director EMILIO DELLA CHIESA.

Friday Early Evening Session – Bratsera Hotel  7.00pm to 9.00pm

MARKOS DRAGOUMIS of Athens: A mini-concert of his own arrangements of rebetiko songs.

JASON MELISSINOS of Athens: A Karaghiozis shadow puppet performance.  [With live musical accompaniment.] To be held at the Bratsera Hotel.

Friday Evening Session – “To Steki” Restaurant  – 9.00pm till late

An evening session at the “To Steki” restaurant. Musicians will include members of PALIO PAREA from Holland.



Saturday Morning Session – Melina Mercouri Hall – 9.45am to 10.30am


SINGING REHEARSAL… Bright and early… for women singers who wish to sing at the Saturday evening concert…

Saturday Morning Session – Melina Mercouri Hall – 10.45am to 1.00pm

NADIA MINTILOGLITI of London: "Rembetisses and non-rembetisses: the image of the rembetissa now and then" [In English] [Summary below]

DIMITRA LASPIA of Edinburgh: a paper on "Dancing the 'Zeibekiko': Men in Performances of Vulnerability and Hegemony". [In English] [Summary below]

ANDREAS TSEKOURAS of Athens. Invited to speak on "The History and Culture of the Zeibekiko” [In English] [Still to be confirmed]

ROUND TABLE discussion about Greek dance, and Zeibekiko in particular.

Saturday Lunchtime Session – Fine Art School – 2.00pm to 4.00pm

MADELYN TAYLOR of California will hold a mixed dance workshop on “Zeibekiko: Up Close and Personal

Saturday Afternoon Session 4.00pm to 6.00pm

ALI FUAT AYDIN and CENK GÜRAY of Izmir and Ankara. Will speak on: "The Role of the Women’s Voice in the Smyrneika songs” [In English] [Summary below]

KYRIAKOS GOUVENTAS of Thessaloniki and HANK BRADLEY of Seattle: Will hold a workshop session on “The Violin in Rebetiko


Saturday Early Evening Session 7.30pm to 9.00pm

FRANCESCO GANASSIN and ROBERTO TOMBESI of the Italian musical group CALICANTO: a musical presentation on the theme of  Grekesca, Moresca and Dance: musical relations between Venice and Greece”.

Saturday Evening Session

Featuring our famous REBETIKO SUPPER AND CONCERT at the Douskos Restaurant [“Xeri Elia”] from 9.30 till late.

Our performers will be:

Kyriakos Gouventas – violin

Yiannis Alexandris – outi, baglama, singer

Lela Papadopoulou – accordeon and singer

Antigone Bouna – guitar, baglama, singer

Vaso Dimitriou – bouzouki

Irene Lasithiotaki – guitar


Also performing will be our guests from Turkey

Ivi Dermanci – singer

Ali Fuat Aydin and Cenk Güray – baglamadhes

Cengiz Onural  politiki lyra


and from Hydra

Sophia Kabadaï, Irene Daskalaki and Paschalia Latra



Sunday Morning Session – Melina Mercouri Hall – 9.45am to 1.00pm

PAVLOS MELAS of moosootoo.com: "Mapping Rebetiko: A discussion on the potential uses of an online database on Rebetiko” [In Greek and English]

[An early start because Pavlos has to catch a plane back to London]


MARK DRAGOUMIS of the Centre for Asia Minor Studies, Athens: "Vamvakaris’s ‘Politissa’. A rebetiko rooted in a folk song of the 1830s "  [In English] [Summary below]

CLOSING SESSION summing up the events of this year, and looking forward to the events of next year.

Sunday Afternoon Session – Harbourside bars – 3.00pm onwards

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

We hope to have participation of musicians from MOOSOOTOO and the REBETIKO FORUM


Then FAREWELL TILL NEXT TIME. Our next conference will be held on the island of Hydra on the weekend of 14-17 October 2004.

The topic for that conference will be “MODES AND ROADS, TAXIMIA AND MAQAMS” Please spread the word to all who may be interested.

To join our Mailing List send an e-mail to rebetology@yahoo.com



For those who are interested, there will be a Monday night session in a club in either Piraeus or Athens. Details to be announced.





At 11.x.03 the following summaries have been received.

[ Listed in alphabetical order of speakers ]




Dancing the "Zeibekiko": Men in Performances of Vulnerability and Hegemony

by Dimitra Laspia


SUMMARY: The 'zeibekiko' is a Greek, solo, male dance. It is performed to the tune of rebetika songs. The rebetika are songs speaking about pain, sorrow, homesickness, separation, bereavement, death, and unrequited love.


The zeibekiko through the moves of its performers' bodies comes to reveal these men's vulnerability. It reveals the vulnerability of men overall, one could argue, as the zeibekiko is a male dance. However, this exposure of the performers' most private insecurities and worries does not make them look any less manly. The revelation of their deepest fears and agonies earns them a hegemonic grandeur.


I claim that the zeibekiko is a dance that enables us to transgress the limits of conventional theorising on 'dominant masculinity'. The example challenges the existence of most of the personality features associated with the latter notion, like powerfulness, aggressiveness, assertiveness, the willingness and ability to control and exercise authority over others. What we are dealing with here, I show, are confessional performances of deep sorrow and acts of admittance of the performers' defencelessness.


But it is precisely because of the public display of the dancers' vulnerability, I further argue, that performances become acts demonstrative of courage and bravery. They unmask the psychical strength of each dancer. They are acts of 'hegemony' – of the hegemony of the male, zeibekiko dancers – of the hegemony of men.


I demonstrate, with references to the history of the dance and to the culture that it has come to be associated with, how open-to-new-interpretations the notions of 'hegemony' and 'hegemonic masculinity' are.


Web-page: http://www.geocities.com/ladimi



“The Role of the Women’s Voice in Smyrneika Songs”


by Ali Fuat AYDIN, Cenk GÜRAY

In this paper we will make an historical introduction and identify the differences of Smyrna (cafe-aman) and Piraeus styles of Rebetika music. Then we will touch upon the woman characters and their role in the Smyrna school. At the same time the place of the woman voice in Turkish Music – since Smyrneika is directly related with Ottoman period Turkish Music – will also be examined, especially non-muslim woman voice, under the religious effects. The paper will continue by investigating the characteristics of Ottoman period entertainment music and especially "kanto" type of that music. In the result the effects of Smyrneika songs and thus the woman voice in Smyrneika songs on the Rebetika music of mainland Greece after the "population exchange" between Greece and Turkey will also be examined.


Website: http://www.geocities.com/alifuataydin



[Paper presented in English, with musical illustrations]




“ The Origins of Markos Vamvakaris’s ‘Politissa’ ”

by Markos F. Dragoumis


SUMMARY: The so-called rebetiko (words and music) derives from various sources. Yet it gradually  developed a special profile.


In comparison with “dimotiki” (Greek folk-song) it shares more or less the same scales (rather modes or ēchoi), but differs in other respects. Usually the melody of a rebetiko comprises a larger number of meters and a more complicated modal surface. The tracking down of demotiki melodies that were transformed into rebetika is necessary for the student of the rebetiko who wishes to study the history of its origins. My paper will deal with this matter, showing how Vamvakaris transformed into a rebetiko a song that was popular among the Greeks at least  from the early 19th century.


Melpo Merlier Music Folklore Archive

11 Kydathineon str. – Plaka / Athens

Τel & Fax: (210) 3251364

E-mail: mlamerlie@yahoo.com

Site: www.mla.gr


[Paper presented in English with musical illustrations]



Rembetisses and non-rembetisses. The image of rembetissa now and then

by Nadia Mintilogliti


SUMMARY: Introduction: music has no borders. Who and what were the “rembetisses”? The “known” ones – reference to “sung” rebetisses. What general characteristics and elements compose the general image and attitude of a rebetissa and non-rembetissa? (Everyday life…) Different “social-classes'”in relation to rembetisses and non-rebetisses. Why this “relation” takes place. Reference to E. Petropoulos' Rebetologhia and the “woman-rembetissa section”. What were the general socio-political situations, and how did they affect the “development'”of rembetisses. Reference to some songs about women and rebetisses (eg “derbederissa'”, “paksimadokleftra” etc). Reference to Thalia Spyridakh' s article “Woman in Men's Eyes”. Who are todays “rembetisses”? How is the term “rembetissa” understood and used today. Why are we still using the term?




"In Memoriam Elias Petropoulos: Les Juifs de Salonique…”

by Ed Emery


SUMMARY: Elias Petropoulos died in Paris in September 2003. His legacy is examined. Particularly in relation to the history of the Jews of Thessaloniki and their deportation to the Nazi death camps in 1943. Greek attitudes to Jews are examined through the lens of Karaghiozis shadow theatre. The roots of Karaghiozis in medieval Cairo. Sociological impact of the post-Katastrofi immigration on the Jewish city of Thessaloniki. The story, still to be told, of two Jewish rebetiko singers from Thessaloniki, Foufou and Korina Kapon.


Ed Emery

E-mail: rebetology@yahoo.com




"Zeybekiko – up close and personal"


by Madelyn Taylor


SUMMARY: The Zeybekiko, a unique Greek dance form, is recognized as the major dance within Rebetika. This paper will trace a few of the existing theories regarding the history of this dance, will look at some of the ways it has evolved, and will speak about its performance today. It will suggest areas for further research.

The context for performing this dance has certain boundaries, within which the dancer improvises step patterns, according to his/her mood and emotions in that moment. The key to this dance is internalizing the distinctive Zeybekiko rhythm (9/8 or 9/4). Next in importance is the melody of the song chosen to dance to. The words of a particular song may or may not be important to the dancer, although much information about the Rebetika movement comes to us from the language of its songs, from slang to poetry. 


The tempo of a particular musical piece is variable, and will influence the mood of the music and dance presentation. When a reciprocal relationship is established between the dancer and musicians, a unique flow of energy may be felt by everyone within the dance space, and by others observing.  A few other notable factors, which influence the mood of the entire dance presentation, are kefi (joy) and parea (camaraderie).  The emotional state of the dancer may or may not shift during the execution of his/her dance. In past times, as recent as the 1980’s, clapping the rhythm was encouraged, while applause was considered taboo.


Other issues, which will be explored are: methods of teaching Zeybekiko, improvisation, styling for gender, extensions of the body, and etiquette. In order to speak about these ideas, a few terms and definitions from the field of Ethnochoreology will be used.


Oral interviews were conducted with persons known to the presenter as dancers of Zeybekiko. Answers to questions about the psychological and emotional side of dancing Zeybekiko were central to the research for this paper, and will be included.


Email: madelyntaylor@hotmail.com




“The Violin in Rebetiko”


by Hank Bradley


SUMMARY: At the Hydra concert last year, I asked Mr. Gouventas how he learned to play, and found that he did study the violin formally.  However, I didn't have the brains to pursue the next step: how he acquired the gracings and movements particular to the traditional music of Greece and Asia Minor.  Through the pores, I suspect, a result of immersion in such music for some decades.  (In Bulgaria, my kaval teacher Lyuben Dossev showed a little of how this immersion works for fanatic learners, which we certainly were.  We'd have a radio going whatever else we were doing, and when some particularly good singer came on we stopped everything and fastened all attention on the vocal lines – wherein lie all those lovely ornaments that the instrumentalists build into their playing).


I've been acquainted since about 1970 with the violin music of all the countries lying north of Greece, and see Mr. Gouventas as a part of a wider pattern.  All the Communist governments of eastern Europe tried to ensure that students with musical talent had a chance at systematic music studies, and the best of those entered the various national conservatories and became cultural ornaments.  And a feature of some of these fearsomely proficient musicians was a dual repertoire – the 'Western canon' plus a dressed-up collection of their national music.


Aleksandr Aranicki and Vlastimir Pavlovic of Serbia, and Aleksandru Tsitrus of Romania are a few examples of  such ‘national’ players, and my Bosnian friend Slavko Silic in San Francisco who in the course of his education became a serious violinist as well.  Much against the will of his professor, he made pocket money by acting as studio musician at Radio Sarajevo, accompanying various Bosnian folk singers on their recordings after school.  I think that  Kyriakos Gouventas could be part of this tradition.  I'd venture that he is better rewarded playing Greek weddings and festivals than as an orchestra member, too.  But now I’m speculating – I know very little about his career, and it would be better for all of us for me to just stop writing, and hope to hear him once again in person.


E-mail: hankbradley@uswest.net


[Note: HB was under pre-conference pressure, so I have hi-jacked this note from an e-mail that he sent me. The full paper is available at www.geocities.com/HydraGathering/bradley2003.html. EE]




[Due to changes of circumstances, Debbora Berlinger, Pavlos Doukanaris, Nearchos Georgiadis and Nikos Kotaridis will not be presenting papers this year.]



Posted 11.x.03








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