Rebetiko Festival Pays Homage To Greek Blues This March


Rebetiko Festival will take over Melbourne Recital Centre for one day in March with two extraordinary ensembles from Greece: Pliri Ntaxei and Chrysoula K & Purpura and a collection of Greek Australian musicians and dancers.

Con Kalamaras, Rebetiko Festival Artistic Director, explains that rebetiko is Greek blues, "Rebetiko is urban improvised music created over 100 years ago by Greek refugees from Asia Minor (Turkey). I only re-discovered rebetiko ten years ago and never turned back. We've curated a festival of exile, redemption and love."

"Our festival team of rebetiko aficionados cannot wait to share this festival with Melbourne and experience the visiting iconic Greek rebetiko musicians. Pliri Ntaxei will bring a raw edgy authenticity of old style gritty rebetika. While the all-female ensemble of Chrysoula K & Purpura are ethereal, otherworldly and will combine traditional instruments with contemporary music," said Kalamaras.

Chrysoula K & Purpura will perform a selection of their own original material with a mix of traditional songs taken from Greece, Argentina, Portugal, Armenia and Italy.
Considered one of the shining stars of authentic rebetiko music, Pliri Ntaxei will bring an authentic urban rebetiko reminiscent of 1930s Greek ensembles where their songs speak of a life past and the continual tragedies of modern Greek life.

Rebetiko Festival also includes a depth of local talent, including the Israeli, Lebanese, Turkish and Greek Zourouna, the renowned Melbourne Rebetiko Ensemble and Philhellenes - all are instrumental in making Melbourne a recognised centre for rebetiko.

As part of the festival Dean Georgalas will lead the huge Melbourne Bouzouki Orchestra made up of young students and Manasis School of Greek Dance and Culture will bust moves all over Melbourne.

The festival will also host club nights at The Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture as well as select Jewish and Muslim venues.

Rebetiko is a unique and cross-cultural embroidery of urban music built on Byzantine, Turkish, Sephardic Jewish, Middle Eastern, Armenian, North African and Greek musical traditions - like the blues, it is extraordinarily diverse in terms of epochs and influences.

As masses of Asia Minor Greek, Armenian and Jewish refugees fled the 1913 Balkan War and later the 1920s Greco Turkish War, rebetiko found true form in the crowded city ports and inner-city ghettos of Greece, New York, Chicago and later in Melbourne.

Initially, the Greek state tried to suppress rebetiko, seeing it as 'oriental' with subject matter like cross-cultural love, political protest, exile and drug use - but it is now described as a Greek urban popular music genre.

Rebetiko always reflects the cultural milieu and the music of the underground - today the form blends even more musical influences, including Italian, Balkan, Latin, Arabic, African, jazz, rock and hip hop.


Rebetiko FestivalDate & time: Saturday, 10 March 2018 from 3pmLocation: Melbourne Recital Centre, 31 Sturt Street, SouthbankFestival pass: $55 - $69 (plus booking fee)Bookings: 03 9699 3333 or melbournerecital.com.au

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