The Famous SOAS Rebetiko Band

The Famous SOAS Rebetiko Band

Sunday 30 October 2022
7:30 pm

Ashburton Arts Centre


Book Here now: £14 full price • £10 or £7 if you prefer – pay whatever you can*

Director of the band, Ed Emery writes:

“We are bringing a programme of our favourite songs from the Rebetiko (“urban blues”) tradition of Greece, the rebel musics that were born in the port cities of Athens and Piraeus in the early twentieth century.

We hope that you will join us for a lively programme of songs and instrumentals. The history of the songs will be explained with brief introductions.”

THE FAMOUS SOAS REBETIKO BAND – the line up for this gig in Ashburton will be:

Mario Christofi – ‘ud
Ed Emery – tzoura and vocals
Nikos Kiofiris – bouzouki and vocals
Anita Munson – clarinet
Nicos Nicholas – tzoura and vocals
Nik Palamidas – guitar
Filipos Papasavvas – bouzouki
Lisa Rowe – violin and accordion

About the band:

The SOAS Rebetiko Band plays the music of Greece known as Rebetiko, a genre that has been called the ‘urban blues’ of Greece. The band was formed almost twenty years ago at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, and plays regular sessions and concerts in and around London. Rebetiko was banned in Greece during the periods of Fascism (1936, 1967), but has since re-emerged to become a badge of national pride. But in its nature it is not purely Greek. It arose out of the population transfers that happened in the 1920s, when Greeks living in Turkey were obliged by forced transfers to move to the Greek mainland (at the same time as Turks and Muslims living in Greece were shipped to Turkey).

This migration brought the musics of Anatolia across the seas into the port areas where the migrant settled (Piraeus and Thessaloniki), and there they fused with western musical forms to create a wholly unique sound. The original instrumentations (of violin, ‘ud, santouri etc) soon gave way to other instruments (bouzouki, baglama, guitar) and a new kind of song emerged, that spoke of the lives and sufferings of the urban poor. There are many early songs that deal with drugs, petty crime and sickness. Although Greece is a country characterised by strong nationalisms and a powerful sense of religion, Rebetiko song is non-national and non-religious. It is a fusion of musical influences that come from all around the region, and it resists attempts to constrain it. It is music to move the soul. It is a rebel music.

* See Access, Tickets & Finding Us for more about why there are three ticket prices, plus other useful info about coming to events at Ashburton Arts Centre.