“CONSIDERATIONS IN THE COMPILATION OF A REBETIKA CD”
by Marc Dubin
SUMMARY: So far as the compiler is aware, this
was the first attempt to give a notionally complete overview of the trajectory
of rebetika on a single, sub-74-minute CD. Existing compilations tend to focus
either on a single artist or a single sub-genre within rebétika (eg hasiklídhika).
The task was constrained at the outset by various ground rules imposed by the record label, World Music Network (WMN), concerning source labels and licensing territories. With these in mind, a few hundred songs from all eras were listened to exhaustively by the compiler to form a short list according to his own criteria, to be discussed. Among these, of course, were a certain variation in rhythms – zeďkbékika being hard to avoid and "roads".
The process of licensing undertaken by WMN itself uncovered various surprises, both pleasant and unpleasant – not all is as it seems with the existing compilations. There will be a brief discussion here concerning the legal position of tracks on old 78s not necessarily in the public domain, and the common dodges used to get around this.
Liner notes were compiled using primarily Tassos Schorelis, Petros Dragoumanos and Ilias Petropoulos as sources, and these were (not surprisingly) frequently in conflict as to "facts".
In the event, the CD as produced varied significantly from the demo disc first presented to the company, not least in it no longer being a strictly chronological survey from the 1920s to the present day. The initial 5 tracks of the 22 total are presented "out of order" because WMN hopes to entice various radio DJs across Europe to give air time to these ostensibly "catchiest" tracks, and thus boost sales.
CV: Marc Dubin first came to Greece, and was exposed to rebétika, in 1978. He has returned almost yearly since, working for various travel-guide companies and maintaining a second residence on the island of Sámos. Although his Greek is fluent and his Turkish passable, he makes no claims to being an academically trained musicologist, or trained anything else for that matter. He merely hopes to illuminate an increasingly common discographic process, now that rebétika has (arguably) found a wider audience overseas than in Greece.