RBA: Grigoris Maninakis & his Mikrokosmos Ensemble: Rebetika Music of Greece
Grigoris Maninakis, a major vocalist of traditional and contemporary Greek music, is joined by his Mikrokosmos Ensemble in an engaging concert of rebetika, which is often called “the Greek blues.” The foundation of popular Greek music, rebetika expresses the hardship and joys of everyday life and deals with such subjects as unrequited love, economic hardship, and repatriation. At times rebetika was censored and its musicians ostracized; at other times, it was lauded as the greatest expression of Greek music and culture. Maninakis, who has toured the US and Europe, was a founding member of the Greek Popular Chorus, which was established in New York by the legendary composer Mikis Theodorakis in 1974. His ensemble features musicians on bouzouki, tzoura, violin, baglama, guitar, bass and percussion. Their extensive repertoire includes popular music of Smyrna-rooted composers Apostolos Hatzichristos and Kostas Skarvelis (early 1920s), Markos Vamvakaris (1930s), and Vasilis Tsitsanis (1940s), as well as old and rarely heard songs.