From the joyful vibrancy of Athens to the sublime tranquillity of the islands, Greek music is the soundtrack to an outdoor life of the streets, beach tavernas and cafes. Kick back and relax to the enchanting sounds of this Mediterranean café culture.
New Agean Waves
Written by Manos Hadjidakis and featuring lyrics from Sapfo's ancient poetry, 'Kelome Se Gongila' beautifully showcases Nena Venetsanou's legendary lyrical voice. Hadjidakis was a close friend and collaborator of Venetsanou's until his death in 1994, and this song was recorded shortly afterwards, with guitar from Yiorgos Mavroeidis. Kristi Stassinopoulou describes herself as a 'Balkan ethno-trance artist' and she draws influences from everything from Jefferson Airplane to Middle Eastern radio broadcasts. The song included here, 'Sto Patithraki', was inspired by an Aegean island and is about fishermen seducing mermaids. Papa-Anastasis, aka 'the singing priest', is descended from generations of priests and musicians and is well-known for his versions of Souliot folk ballads. 'Ilie Mou Iliaki Mou' is one such ballad and it features one of the most sought-after clarinet players in Greece, Petro Louka Halkias.
A popular four-piece band made up of Theodora Athanasiou, Apostolis Tsardakas, Evgenios Voulgaris and Dimitris Mistakidis, Apsilies eerily recreate the feeling of early twentieth-century Turkish art singing on 'Dos Mou Piso Ta Louloudhia'. Dimitris Mistakidisis also celebrated for his crisp reinventions of the classic rebétika of the 1920s and 1930s as well as older café aman songs from Asia Minor. His 2006 debut solo album can be heard on the bonus CD and he can also be heard collaborating with Thanasis Papakonstantinou on 'Pehlivanis' and with Himerinoi Kolimvites on 'Ston Eptalofo'.
Loved for their jazz-fusion slants on Greek folk tunes, Mode Plagal have collaborated on 'Tatvla' with the Istanbul-based group Vosporos. An instrumental track, it was named after the once mostly Greek neighbourhood (today's Kurtulu√Ö≈∏) in European Istanbul. Dilek Ko&;ccedil is renowned for interpreting Turkish classical, contemporary and folk music, and in particular songs from Asia Minor that are a common heritage of Greeks and Turks, such as 'Kanarini Mou Glyko'. One of the most prominent musicians from a generation who have fused rebétika, café aman and la&;iumlká, Nikos Papazoglou here performs 'Maisa Selini', which talks of the bewitching effect of the moon.
The Rough Guide To Greek Café is a selection of some of the irresistible and enriching sounds that you can hear full tilt in concert, or more quietly on the sound systems of Greek restaurants, beach tavernas or café-bars.