MUSIC AND PERFORMING ARTS /  Revue’s music

Article by Manolis Seiragakis, Assistant Professor of Theatrology, University of Crete

Revue’s music is one of the most scorned sources in theater’s historiography. Until 1976, theatrical researchers considered completely unnecessary, if not beneath them, to even talk about Revue. But then the three-volume “Athinaiki Epitheorisi” (“Athenian Revue”) was published, a baseline study by Thodoros Chatzipantazis and Lila Maraka, which sparked an interest in the constantly growing genre.
... However, few have realized that the research on this genre can not be limited to the hardly few surviving files of revue texts; it should be extended to the record labels’ archives and to the collectors’ 78 rpm records.
Revue’s music was ignored, in similar fashion, by rebetiko collectors. Considering it spurious or rebetiko-like, revue was neglected due to the lack of the supposedly classic rebetiko musical instruments (bouzouki, baglamas) in the recordings and due to its lighter, western “vibe”, reminiscent of Athenian serenades or, finally, due to its facetious attitude towards the amanes, the figure of the mangas (someone who is a master of himself and who has little respect for any authority beyond his own inclinations and personal principles) and the world of “genuine” rebetiko.
Panagiotis Kounadis solved once and for all the relevant misunderstandings. Not only did he clear revue music’s name, but he also used the innumerable pre-war revue/rebetiko songs to draw fruitful conclusions about the relationship between rebetiko and revue. The courageous documentation of these findings with numerous examples from his valuable collection underlined that discography is an ideal source for the study of different elements (music, lyrics, orchestration, prose, typology), offering a fuller picture of the smallest structural part of the revue, that is, the act.

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