Exo ftocheia

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At the beginning of the 20th century, Europe is living in peace and prosperity. The “Belle Époque” is an outgrowth of previous important historical events and developments. The networks that are created and which evolve funnel both people and their products, tangible and intangible. It is within this multi-layered world that sound recording and sound reproduction is invented. Early record labels send mobile crews literally all over the world to record local musicians. The range of the repertoire is endless. Cosmopolitanism in large urban centers favors polystylisms and polymorphisms. Colonialism, revolutions, conflicts, refugee flows; the theater, cinema, radio, photography, orchestras’ tours, but also circulations in all kinds of commercial channels in a world that evolves dynamically and anisotropically, form a complex network of “centers” and “peripheries” in alternating roles setting musical idioms in motion, both literally and figuratively. The networks in which the Greek-speaking musics participate, constantly conversing with their co-tenants, are magnificent. Discography has already provided important tools in understanding the relationships that developed between “national” repertoires. The result of this ongoing research is “Cosmopolitanism in Greek Historical Discography”.

We stumble upon wandering musical tunes in various places in Europe, Africa, Asia and America, where local musicians appropriate and reconstruct them. In addition to these, the mutual influences concern the performance practices, the instrumentation, the rhythm, the harmonization, the vocal placement and, in general, the habits that each musician carries in him/her. Repertoires are deterritorialized and mixed with others, which take on supralocal characteristics. Musicians are often on the move within multicultural empires, serving diverse repertoires and coming from heterogeneous ethno-cultural groups. This “convergence” of geographical coordinates is often accompanied by another one, the “convergence” of internal cultural “coordinates”. These are the fields of scholar and popular music, which have traditionally been treated not only as independent, but also as segmented. The popular and the scholar enter into a creative dialogue in a variety of ways, introducing in-between “places” depending on historical conditions.

Syncretism, which is observed in the musical actualizations of the areas where Greeks lived and recorded, mainly in the area of folk-popular traditions, is monumental. It only takes one to listen to historical discography, which begins in New York, Smyrna (Izmir), Constantinople (Istanbul), Athens and Thessaloniki since 1900. An essential part of this syncretism concerns the Jews, who constitute one of the main conduits in the uniquely diverse cultural heritage of the Greek-speaking world. They borrow and lend, but they also carry more distant traditions from the places where they have previously lived and the places they have traveled to. They are the central interlocutors in the Greek and Ottoman ecumene, together with Turkish-speaking Muslims, Orthodox but also Catholic Greek-speaking and Armenians, Levantine Protestants, Europeans and Americans, and compose a rich musical mosaic which consists of heterogeneous but co-existent palimpsests: a reservoir to which everyone contributes but from which also everyone receives.

The sources show the timeless existence of a Jewish element, at least since the Hellenistic period, in areas that millennia later formed the modern Greek state. After the “Edict of Milan” in 313 AD and the gradual Christianization of the Eastern Empire, the Jewish element found itself in a difficult position. The Jewish populations that have since been established in these lands became known as Romaniote Jews (or “Romaniotes”’ Rome – Romios). Their historical geographical center of reference was the city of Ioannina, and they speak Greek with various linguistic mixtures. After 1492 and the “Alhambra Decree” by the joint Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, those Jews who did not accept to embrace Christianity were expelled from the Iberian peninsula. They became known as the Sepharadi Jews (or “Sepharadim”), one of the largest Jewish ethno-cultural categorizations (Sepharad in Jewish texts is referred to as the region of present-day Spain). Thessaloniki was one of the main destination points of this displacement, as the ties with the city were older and already close. Apart from the role played by the Greek Jews in the musical developments on the Greek peninsula, there were also important mutual influences between the Greek-speaking Orthodox and the Jews in various other areas where the two communities lived together. As, for example, in Odessa, with the Eastern Ashkenazi Jews, who mainly speak Yiddish, a sui generis Semitic-Slavic language (in Jewish texts, the Kingdom of Ashkenaz, a descendant of Noah, is connected with north-eastern European territories). Their orchestral repertoire is often called klezmer. In other words, apart from the geographical limits of the modern Greek state, the cultural conversations between the Greek Orthodox and the Jews also concern other parts of the world, both in Europe and America, where they met as immigrants.


The label of the record reads "Rebetiko". Often, in the glossary of rebetophiles, the term "rebetiko" is identified with very specific specifications. Rebetiko has been identified with the city-port of Piraeus, and its emblem is the bouzouki. On the other hand, rebetiko from Smyrna [Izmir] ("Smyrneiko rebetiko") is also often mentioned, either as a categorization of the genre, or as its precursor. And yet, historical discography, that is, the records that began to be produced from the end of the 19th century all over the world with primitive equipment and techniques, reveals a different reality. The research in this archival material of historical discography reveals that the term "rebetiko" began to be printed on the labels of the records around 1912, in Greek recordings that took place in Constantinople (Istanbul). So far, at least 80 recordings that are labeled with the term have been identified. There are two impressive facts: on the one hand, these recordings took place in the 1910s, 1920s and 1930s. Markos Vamvakaris started recording in Athens in 1933. So, his own recording career cannot be that easily and exclusively identified with the term. On the contrary, the word "rebetiko" began to disappear from labels after 1933. On the other hand, when listening to the musical works labeled as "rebetika", one might be surprised. None of these recordings contain a bouzouki. In addition, a part of the musical works is not oriented towards the East. Overall, the findings so far concern recordings made in Constantinople (Istanbul), Athens, New York and Chicago. It seems that the term was rather an invention of discography, of that early sound industry, whose decisions determined many times the developments regarding this historical repertoire and the way in which it reached us.

Author (Composer):
Lyrics by:
Ntalgkas [Diamantidis] Antonis
Singer(s):
Politissa Erietta
Orchestra-Performers:
Popular orchestra
Recording date:
1932
Recording location:
Athens
Language(s):
Greek
Publisher:
Pathé
Catalogue number:
X-80173
Matrix number:
70401
Duration:
3:12
Item location:
Kounadis Archive Record Library
Physical description:
10 in. (25 cm)
Source:
Kounadis Archive
ID:
Pathe_80173_ExoFtocheia
Licensing:
cc
Reference link:
Kounadis Archive, "Exo ftocheia", 2019, https://vmrebetiko.gr/en/item-en?id=4520
Lyrics:
Δε μ’ αρέσουν τα πλούτη, ούτε τα λεφτά
εγώ θέλω κουτσαβάκι και παλικαρά
να μεθούμε, να γλεντούμε με το έμορφο κρασί
στην ταβέρνα πάντα οι δυο μαζί

Όξω φτώχεια, να γλεντήσουμε τον ψεύτικο ντουνιά
κουτσαβάκι θέλω, μάγκα, έμορφο και μερακλή
να γλεντούμε πάντα οι δυο μαζί

Κουτσαβάκι αν δε σε πάρω, 'γώ θα τρελαθώ
σ’ αγαπώ πολύ, βρε μάγκα, πώς να σου το πώ
έλα 'δώ, βρε κουτσαβάκι, οι δυο μαζί να σμίξουμε
και να τα κρυφομιλήσουμε

At the beginning of the 20th century, Europe is living in peace and prosperity. The “Belle Époque” is an outgrowth of previous important historical events and developments. The networks that are created and which evolve funnel both people and their products, tangible and intangible. It is within this multi-layered world that sound recording and sound reproduction is invented. Early record labels send mobile crews literally all over the world to record local musicians. The range of the repertoire is endless. Cosmopolitanism in large urban centers favors polystylisms and polymorphisms. Colonialism, revolutions, conflicts, refugee flows; the theater, cinema, radio, photography, orchestras’ tours, but also circulations in all kinds of commercial channels in a world that evolves dynamically and anisotropically, form a complex network of “centers” and “peripheries” in alternating roles setting musical idioms in motion, both literally and figuratively. The networks in which the Greek-speaking musics participate, constantly conversing with their co-tenants, are magnificent. Discography has already provided important tools in understanding the relationships that developed between “national” repertoires. The result of this ongoing research is “Cosmopolitanism in Greek Historical Discography”.

We stumble upon wandering musical tunes in various places in Europe, Africa, Asia and America, where local musicians appropriate and reconstruct them. In addition to these, the mutual influences concern the performance practices, the instrumentation, the rhythm, the harmonization, the vocal placement and, in general, the habits that each musician carries in him/her. Repertoires are deterritorialized and mixed with others, which take on supralocal characteristics. Musicians are often on the move within multicultural empires, serving diverse repertoires and coming from heterogeneous ethno-cultural groups. This “convergence” of geographical coordinates is often accompanied by another one, the “convergence” of internal cultural “coordinates”. These are the fields of scholar and popular music, which have traditionally been treated not only as independent, but also as segmented. The popular and the scholar enter into a creative dialogue in a variety of ways, introducing in-between “places” depending on historical conditions.

Syncretism, which is observed in the musical actualizations of the areas where Greeks lived and recorded, mainly in the area of folk-popular traditions, is monumental. It only takes one to listen to historical discography, which begins in New York, Smyrna (Izmir), Constantinople (Istanbul), Athens and Thessaloniki since 1900. An essential part of this syncretism concerns the Jews, who constitute one of the main conduits in the uniquely diverse cultural heritage of the Greek-speaking world. They borrow and lend, but they also carry more distant traditions from the places where they have previously lived and the places they have traveled to. They are the central interlocutors in the Greek and Ottoman ecumene, together with Turkish-speaking Muslims, Orthodox but also Catholic Greek-speaking and Armenians, Levantine Protestants, Europeans and Americans, and compose a rich musical mosaic which consists of heterogeneous but co-existent palimpsests: a reservoir to which everyone contributes but from which also everyone receives.

The sources show the timeless existence of a Jewish element, at least since the Hellenistic period, in areas that millennia later formed the modern Greek state. After the “Edict of Milan” in 313 AD and the gradual Christianization of the Eastern Empire, the Jewish element found itself in a difficult position. The Jewish populations that have since been established in these lands became known as Romaniote Jews (or “Romaniotes”’ Rome – Romios). Their historical geographical center of reference was the city of Ioannina, and they speak Greek with various linguistic mixtures. After 1492 and the “Alhambra Decree” by the joint Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, those Jews who did not accept to embrace Christianity were expelled from the Iberian peninsula. They became known as the Sepharadi Jews (or “Sepharadim”), one of the largest Jewish ethno-cultural categorizations (Sepharad in Jewish texts is referred to as the region of present-day Spain). Thessaloniki was one of the main destination points of this displacement, as the ties with the city were older and already close. Apart from the role played by the Greek Jews in the musical developments on the Greek peninsula, there were also important mutual influences between the Greek-speaking Orthodox and the Jews in various other areas where the two communities lived together. As, for example, in Odessa, with the Eastern Ashkenazi Jews, who mainly speak Yiddish, a sui generis Semitic-Slavic language (in Jewish texts, the Kingdom of Ashkenaz, a descendant of Noah, is connected with north-eastern European territories). Their orchestral repertoire is often called klezmer. In other words, apart from the geographical limits of the modern Greek state, the cultural conversations between the Greek Orthodox and the Jews also concern other parts of the world, both in Europe and America, where they met as immigrants.


The label of the record reads "Rebetiko". Often, in the glossary of rebetophiles, the term "rebetiko" is identified with very specific specifications. Rebetiko has been identified with the city-port of Piraeus, and its emblem is the bouzouki. On the other hand, rebetiko from Smyrna [Izmir] ("Smyrneiko rebetiko") is also often mentioned, either as a categorization of the genre, or as its precursor. And yet, historical discography, that is, the records that began to be produced from the end of the 19th century all over the world with primitive equipment and techniques, reveals a different reality. The research in this archival material of historical discography reveals that the term "rebetiko" began to be printed on the labels of the records around 1912, in Greek recordings that took place in Constantinople (Istanbul). So far, at least 80 recordings that are labeled with the term have been identified. There are two impressive facts: on the one hand, these recordings took place in the 1910s, 1920s and 1930s. Markos Vamvakaris started recording in Athens in 1933. So, his own recording career cannot be that easily and exclusively identified with the term. On the contrary, the word "rebetiko" began to disappear from labels after 1933. On the other hand, when listening to the musical works labeled as "rebetika", one might be surprised. None of these recordings contain a bouzouki. In addition, a part of the musical works is not oriented towards the East. Overall, the findings so far concern recordings made in Constantinople (Istanbul), Athens, New York and Chicago. It seems that the term was rather an invention of discography, of that early sound industry, whose decisions determined many times the developments regarding this historical repertoire and the way in which it reached us.

Author (Composer):
Lyrics by:
Ntalgkas [Diamantidis] Antonis
Singer(s):
Politissa Erietta
Orchestra-Performers:
Popular orchestra
Recording date:
1932
Recording location:
Athens
Language(s):
Greek
Publisher:
Pathé
Catalogue number:
X-80173
Matrix number:
70401
Duration:
3:12
Item location:
Kounadis Archive Record Library
Physical description:
10 in. (25 cm)
Source:
Kounadis Archive
ID:
Pathe_80173_ExoFtocheia
Licensing:
cc
Reference link:
Kounadis Archive, "Exo ftocheia", 2019, https://vmrebetiko.gr/en/item-en?id=4520
Lyrics:
Δε μ’ αρέσουν τα πλούτη, ούτε τα λεφτά
εγώ θέλω κουτσαβάκι και παλικαρά
να μεθούμε, να γλεντούμε με το έμορφο κρασί
στην ταβέρνα πάντα οι δυο μαζί

Όξω φτώχεια, να γλεντήσουμε τον ψεύτικο ντουνιά
κουτσαβάκι θέλω, μάγκα, έμορφο και μερακλή
να γλεντούμε πάντα οι δυο μαζί

Κουτσαβάκι αν δε σε πάρω, 'γώ θα τρελαθώ
σ’ αγαπώ πολύ, βρε μάγκα, πώς να σου το πώ
έλα 'δώ, βρε κουτσαβάκι, οι δυο μαζί να σμίξουμε
και να τα κρυφομιλήσουμε

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