From 1911, to be precise. I stumbled upon this video on YouTube tonight and thought–what a sound! That guy’s bouzouki sounds just like the pre-war bouzoukia. Turns out, it is a pre-war bouzouki, made by Karambas in 1911 in NYC.
The bouzouki player is Stavros Kourousis, who has also written an excellent book, From Tabouras to Bouzouki, which is well worth reading (if you can find it). Remarkably, this was recorded at the BSA–the British School of Archaeology at Athens–which hosted a rebetika night last November. You can check out the instrument at Spyros Dimis’ excellent blog (just scroll down a bit). Of course, it could be a replica….well, what can we here at Mediterranean Palimpsest do to confirm such things anyway? We’re a small operation, after all.
Want a bit more? Here’s Stavros talking about his book (in Greek):