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Lecture: Rebetika and their Asia Minor Roots

altDr Demeter Tsounis will present a lecture entitled “Rebetika and Their Asia Minor Roots”, onThursday 13 July, at the Greek Centre, as part of the Greek History and Culture Seminars, offered by the Greek Community of Melbourne.

What we have come to know as rebetika is a rather broad genre of Greek urban music which developed in the urban and coastal regions of Asia Minor, the Aegean Islands, Greece and the United States in the first half of the 20th century. “Rebetika flourished between the 1920s and the 1960s reaching a wide audience with commercial recordings and performances,” says Dr Tsounis.

During the lecture Dr Tsounis will present biographical testimonies of Roza Eskenazi, a protagonist of the ‘Café Aman school’, and Markos Vamvakaris, a major exponent of the ‘Piraeus school’. Then she will explore heterogeneous musical influences-folk dance, Byzantine Greek Orthodox chant; Estoudiantines; tavern and café music; guild parades; Ottoman court music and mystical Sufi ceremonies-all found in the multicultural Ottoman setting of Asia Minor.

It is hoped that such a discussion will evoke the sounds, stories, images and experiences embedded in this rich history of rebetika. Rebetika continue to be close to our hearts and to inspire music lovers around the world.

Dr Demeter Tsounis was born in Adelaide, South Australia, of Ikarian and Pontian parents. She studied western classical music, Aboriginal music, ethnomusicology and anthropology at the University of Adelaide where she undertook original research into the music of Greek-Australian migrants (Multicultural Music-Making and Dancing at Wedding Receptions: A Study of the Music-Making and Dancing Activities of Greek People in Adelaide, Unpublished Honours thesis, 1986; Rebetika Music-Making in Adelaide-Diaspora Musical Style and Identity, Unpublished PhD thesis, 1997). She is the author of several publications Greek music. Demeter has performed in, arranged and directed ensembles, choirs and concerts for the Greek community (Themelia, Sirens, Meraki, GOCSA, Hellenic Youth of SA Theatre, Festival Hellenika, Glendi, Dimitria, Friends of Byzantine Ecclesiastical Music). She conducts workshops and seminars on Greek music in schools and universities. Demeter has also composed original music for theatre (Paramythi Horis Onoma), film (Adio), multidisciplinary arts projects (Shoulder to Shoulder, Bitter Song) and education (Animal Alphabet Songs, GOCSA). During fieldwork in Greece Demeter learnt to play the baglamas (a small long-necked lute) and the toumberleki (goblet drum) at the Aristides Moschos Popular School of Traditional Music, Athens. She currently teaches piano, toumberleki and baglamas and performs and arranges traditional Greek music in the Meraki Music ensemble.

When: Thursday 13 July 2017, 7.00pm
Where: Greek Centre (Delphi Bank Mez, 1678 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne)