Rebetika Resources

Below are some books I recommend and online resources for the study of rebetika.

G. Holst, Road to Rembetika is the best introductions to rebetika in English. Holst’s book contains additional bibliography and you can be on your way from there. Her book also contains CD suggestions, dozens of song translations, and some nice original documents.

The ultimate book to have on rebetika, though, is E. Petropoulos’ Rebetika Tragoudia. It’s written in Greek. But even  if you can’t read Greek, 1/3 of the book is a photo archive, consisting of materials you won’t find anywhere else (in fact, the Petropoulos archive  lives at the Gennadeion Library at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens). The rest is an essay with Petropoulos’ interpretation of the music and lyrics for hundreds of songs.

There are, of course, many more books beyond these; there is quite a bit of scholarship on the rebetika now in both English and Greek. But Holst will set you in the right direction.

Online resources:

1. Rebetika Wiki. It’s a Wiki, so you get the idea. Lots of good information, all of which is in Greek.

2. Rebetiko Online. Probably the best all around English language site for information about rebetika (though some it is in Greek). Databases, search, forum.

3. The “Bouzouki Portal” of Ousak. It contains links to everything and anything bouzouki-related. Fish around some, you’ll probably find what you need/want.

4. Kithara and Stixoi. Lyrics for rebetika and every other type of Greek music.

5. Tabs and sheet music for a lot of Greek music. Quality varies song to song.

6. A good page on rebetiko by Chris Blackmore. It contains a brief history of rebetika, some artist bios, book suggestions for the beginner bouzouki player, and good diagrams of the Roads.

7. The bouzouki forum.

8. A Google group devoted to Rebetika.

9. The Radical Movement for Rebetiko Dechiotification and Bouzouki Detetrachordization.

10. And don’t miss the Radical Movement’s Tsakismata Generator. Go ahead, try it. Generate some tsakismata.

11. Ed Emery’s Institute of Rebetology.

12. A great website (in Greek) with the old douzenia (tunings) used by musicians in the 20s and 30s. Good musical samples give you a gist of their sound. The site has good discussions of the roads, too.

13. Rebetisses. Essential to the rebetika.

14. The online Xilouris store. This is the shop run by the family of Nikos Xilouris–Crete’s most famous lyra player. They maintain two stores in Athens, one on Panepistimiou and the other at the Museum of Greek Folk Instruments in Plaka. Both are worth visiting–they have excellent CD collections (and more).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s