Starting this Saturday June 4th and until July 2nd, the Rebetiko Carnival 2016 will offer music lovers in London and other U.K. cities the opportunity to experience and enjoy the history and beauty of the Rebetiko music genre with gigs, workshops and instrument exhibitions.

Rebetiko music, a kind of underground Blues that emerged in urban Greece in the 1920s, is a rich synthesis of music from around Greece and Asia Minor, combining elements of Ottoman modal art music, Byzantine chant, and kafe aman music. The music expresses the pain and suffering of the people at the time, on account of war, poverty, incarceration, as well as deeply felt sentiments on issues such love and addiction. Although the bouzouki is the instrument which has been mostly associated with the music, the rich tapestry of influences in the music has been coloured by the many different instruments used; oud, baglama,  violin, kanun, santur, accordion, guitar, lauta etc.  

Rebetiko Carnival celebrates this amalgamation of cultures, instruments, and people through  concerts, seminars, workshops, outreach work, instrument exhibitions and Shadow Puppet theatre, brought by many of the greatest musicians from Greece – such as Gerasimos Andreatos, Dimitris Mystakidis, Manolis Pappos, and Kyriakos Gouvendas – as well as the best UK based bands (Kourelou, Pakaw!, Megla…).

The musical programme of the festival will be filled with stories and sounds about love, loss, hope, war, suppression and freedom from some of the greatest names in the Greek Rebetiko scene such as Vamvakaris, Tsitsanis, Hiotis, Loizos, Theodorakis, Hadjidakis, and Xarhakos, to name a few. The programme however isn’t all about Greek music, as the concerts will feature music from the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East as well.

The Carnival opens its doors this weekend with a tribute concert to Vamvakaris.

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