Yiovan Tsaous Tabouras

Here, Stavros Kourousis, author of From Tabouras to Bouzouki, plays one of Tsaous’ actual instruments–the larger tabouras (he also played a smaller tzouras). As Kourousis notes, Tsaous recorded Diamanto Alaniara, Blamissa, Se mia Mikroula, and Yelasmenos with this instrument. It sounds the way it does, in part, because the strings are quite old. According to the man who keeps the instrument, they haven’t been changed since Tsaous’ death in 1942 (though this is perhaps somewhat difficult to believe).

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H Drosoula

“The Dew”

From the Indian Summer of Rebetika…Tsitsanis, 1944, with Markos singing. The teke mentioned in this song is that of Miltos Sidheris, Nikiforos Fokas Street, Thessaloniki. Tsitsanis spent most of the war in Thessaloniki, where he wrote many of his finest songs, all of which were recorded after the war–so, too, this one in ’45 or ’46.



A modern version from Skopelos:



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Τσαους, Διαμαντω

Here’s a wonderful Yiovan Tsaous song (zeibekiko). Stellakis Perpiniadis sings. 1936.

Γεια σου Γιοβάν Τσαούς με το ταμπούρι σου!

Βρε Διαμάντω μου χαδιάρα
και γλυκιά μου παιχνιδιάρα
έλα άνοιξε την πόρτα
να `ρθω μέσα σαν και πρώτα

Άιντε τράβα στη δουλειά σου
να μην έβρεις τον μπελά σου
και αν είσαι παλικάρι
τράβα κάνε μου την χάρη

Άσ’ τα κόλπα σου Διαμάντω
θέλω σπίτι σου για να ‘μπω
λαχταρώ την εμορφιά σου
και τα ολόγλυκα φιλιά σου

Τράβα φύγε απο μένα
γιατί στα `χω μαζεμένα
τράβα μ’ άλληνε να ζήζεις
ήσυχη να με αφήσεις
ώχ! Άλα !

Yeia sou, Yiovan Tsaous, with your tabouras!

Diamanto, my spoiled girl
my sweet, playful one
come open the door
so I can come in like I used to.

Go on, get out of here
Or you’ll be in trouble
If you’re a good palikari 
you’ll go and do me the favor.

Forget your tricks, Diamanto
I want to come inside
I long for your beauty
And for your sweet kisses.

Go on, get out of here
because I’ve got some words for you
Go live with someone else
And leave me alone.

Ox, ala!


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Tsiprokratia, Year Two

Did you think that the Greek Crisis was over? Well, I’ll turn it over to Stathis Kalyvas:

The Greek crisis erupted in 2009 and peaked for the first time in the spring of 2010. Unable to refinance its enormous debt, Greece was bailed out by the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the IMF. The bailout  prevented a major economic catastrophe but signaled the start of a protracted economic and political drama that spread to the rest of the eurozone. In Greece, the crisis peaked twice more: in the summer of 2012, when two successive elections left Greece’s political system in shambles, and in the summer of 2015, when Greece’s newly elected left-wing government unsuccessfully threatened its European creditors and the IMF with a massive default in a failed attempt to win some debt relief and a break from austerity policies.

At each inflection point, commentators wrung their hands over the potential contagion from a catastrophic Greek default and subsequent exit from the eurozone. The near collapse of June-July 2015 was perhaps the most dramatic, peaking with a bank shut-down and bizarre referendum in which the embattled Greek prime minister and anti-austerity champion, Alexis Tsipras, urged Greeks to reject a bailout package that he had just negotiated with Greece’s Troika of creditors.

In the end, the doomsayers were wrong all three times. Grexit did not happen and the euro survived. As for the July 2015 showdown, its resolution was decidedly anti-climactic. Greeks voted “no” in the referendum, but faced with the prospect of complete economic collapse, Tsipras executed an undignified U-turn, settling for an 85 billion euro ($96 billion) bailout, the country’s third since 2010.  A new round of elections was called in September 2015. Tsipras won again, but with the exact opposite mandate of the one that he had before: instead of abolishing austerity, he now promised to implement it. The weeks wore on and, as before, Greece retreated from the global headlines.

Yet if the past is a guide, the lull may well prove to be temporary. In fact, a new round of turmoil—a fourth and perhaps final peak—is in the offing.

Full article here (subscription).

And so we await the summer, once again.

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Σαλα, Σαλα

Παραδοσιακο, 1926, NYC.

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A Markos Playlist

Here, a 110 songs for your enjoyment. Υεια σου, Μαρκο, με τις ομορφες πενιες σου!

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The Falero Cemetery

Here’s a good blog post about its discovery and some of the implications involved:

“Sensationalising archaeological finds in pursuit of funding, access or political favour, however tempting, is a risky strategy – as we have noted previously in the case of Amphipolis. The importance of this particular find is indisputable, but it is not because of the shaky Kylon connection.

The Phaleron Delta cemetery may be one of the largest ever excavated in Greece. It was in use for almost three hundred years during a poorly understood period on the cusp between prehistory and the historical era. The large sample size will make it possible to reach significant conclusions about the population of Archaic Athens, its genetic makeup, its diet and its historical evolution. Moreover, the preservation conditions are exceptional, because the site lay in swampy ground in a river delta. In addition to the mass graves, it includes an amazing variety of funerary practices, including infant jar burials, funeral pyres, boat burials (with carved wooden boats fully preserved), and animal burials (including several horses) (further information and photos here). Archaeological techniques for recovery, conservation and analysis have progressed significantly since the first excavations on the site, but the sheer volume of material will undoubtedly pose a logistical, as well as a funding challenge for those involved (an international team based in the American School of Classical Studies in Athens has already been given permission to study the osteological material).”


(mass burial with evidence of violent death)

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