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Open Seminar: Rebetika & Their Asia Minor Roots
Open Seminar: Rebetika & Their Asia Minor Roots
13.07.2017 19.00 h
Greek Centre Melbourne (Mezzanine) - Melbourne


Lecturer: Dr Demeter Tsounis

Entry: FREE


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.

This talk begins with biographical testimonies of Roza Eskenazi, a protagonist of the 'Café Aman school', and Markos Vamvakaris, a major exponent of the 'Piraeus school'. It then explores 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.


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and Dancing at Wedding Receptions: A Study of the Music-Making and Dancing Activities of Greek People in Adelaide, Unpublished Honours thesis, 1986; Rebetika Music-Making in Adelaide-Diaspora Musical Style and Identity, Unpublished PhD thesis, 1997).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.


We'd like to thank the following donors: Kon Tsementis-Floudas | Anthea Sidiropoulos.

During the course of the year considerable expenses are incurred in staging the seminars. In order to mitigate these costs individuals or organisations are invited to donate against a lecture of their choice.

You too can donate for one or more seminars and (optionally) let your name or brand be known as a patron of culture to our members, visitors and followers, as well as the broader artistic and cultural community of Melbourne.  Please email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 03 9662 2722.

We also like to thank the following corporate sponsors for their support:


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The Mezzanine floor (press "M" in the elevator) of Greek Centre Melbourne - located at the corner of Lonsdale and Russell streets in Melbourne, Australia.

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