Last Updated 09 | 12 | 2012 at 16:33

Lifestyle / Culture Cafe

Greek Urban Folk Styles

Article By:
Eric Montfort

Toubeki Quartet will  be performing tonight, Sunday 9th December, at 21:00h, at the Coach and Horses, Msida. This band, will be featuring Rebetiko music, a term used today to designate originally disparate kinds of urban Greek folk music which have come to be grouped together since the so-called rebetika revival. This revived art form took off  in the 1960s and developed further from the early 1970s onwards.

Traditional rebetico goes back hundreds of years. The singers sang in quiet, hoarse voices, unforced, one after the other, each singer adding a verse which often bore no relation to the previous verse, and a song often went on for hours. There was no refrain, and the melody was simple and easy. One rebetis accompanied the singer with a bouzouki or a baglamas (a smaller version of the bouzouki, very portable, easy to make in prison and easy to hide from the police), and perhaps another, moved by the music, would get up and dance. The early rebetika songs, particularly the love songs, were based on Greek folk songs and the songs of the Greeks of Smyrna and Constantinople.

Toubeki have been in the forefront in this revival movement.  Their current line-up features :  Georgios Yannakakis _tsouras, voice,  Vassia Filou- guitar, voice and  Vassilis Valdramidis- percussion, baglama, voice. On their Maltese tour, they are Andrew Alamango on the oud.

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