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The Times/BBC

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Follow the link below for an interesting article by Pete Paphides of The Times newpaper (who wrote the review of the last London concert featured in The Times). He has written an interesting article (which mentions Dalaras - he describes him as "a national treasure"!).

The BBC Radio programme he has made will be on BBC Radio 4 at 1.30 pm UK time, on 8 July. Should be interesting.....

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Thank you Diane. Amazing recount by Rena Stamou.


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I hope you managed to listen to the whole programme today Alona - not only the interview with Rena Stamou (lovely lady - I have seen her before a couple of times and she has MANY stories to tell) but also the interview with Dalaras which I was not expecting :razz::razz:

I was also pleased to hear Nikos Politis, who I have seen many times at the Hydra Rembetiko Conference. He always has something interesting to say.

An excellent programme ;):music:

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Hi oberonsghost

No need to wait for the repeat. You can listen to it from this link from the site 'Listen again to this programme' (don't be put off by the first few seconds when they're talking about the share index in the City!). I'm listening to it now and it it sounds excellent. Also have just realised it's the first time I've heard Dalaras speaking English (apart from a few words). Awesome. And many thanks Diane for the information about this programme.

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Thanks, Kate, for pointing out the "Listen Again" facility that the BBC has - VERY useful.

And yes, it's the first time I have heard Dalaras speaking in English too, which was why it was such a surprise to me!

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The BBC Listen Again link has gone now (I think theyre only on the website for a week after a programme has been broadcast) This is my transcript of the interview with Dalaras. Sorry I couldn't manage the whole programme, but you can hear some more - an interview with Rena Stamou - through the link in Diane's post.

Pete Paphides: For the first nine years of my life I grew up above a fish and chip shop in Birmingham. On Sundays, my parents would go to the radiogram and they would play records that reminded them of home. Generally, very sad bouzouki music with a very bluesy quality. And this made a real impression on me. It filled the house with longing and I really think it set the tone for much of the music Ive listened to throughout the whole of my life, and during my childhood gave me notion of what it was to be Greek or at least what it sounded like to be Greek. Why does this music sound the way it does? At this point in my life the only way I can really find an answer to that question is by going to Athens, where my mother grew up, and meet some of the people who made this music.

Weve just left the airport at Athens. Our journey has just begun really. Weve had his very congenial taxi driver and we are talking about rembetika and how a generation had been turned on to rembetika music, and he was saying really that the person who did it was George Dalaras which is very convenient because hes the first person were going to meet today. Absolute superstar of Greek music known to everyone what Bruce Springsteen is to the American people George Dalaras is to the Greeks. Those are the songs I grew up with so Im pretty excited about meeting him as well.

GD: Rembetika is not only a type of music but also a way of life. When I was around 6 I started singing and learning the great rembetika songs of the beginning of the 20th century. I have around 3 or 4 thousand songs in my mind.

PP: Incredible. So music really that comes from a poor background. People really excluded outsiders in society. The blues and rembetika they have that in common dont they?

GD: Yes I think they have a very close relationship.

PP: In 1975 you made a very famous record of rembetika songs. It seemed to really dramatically turn a whole new generation onto this music that maybe were not aware of its history. How is this different to what happened before?

GD: It was different because the audience was different. They were mainly young people, students, and I also believed that I should present and play them not by imitating the old sound but by putting in my personal input as a musician.

PP: I think its time to talk about the character of the manga. Hes a very important character in the history of Greek music and the iconography of Greek song.

GD: Manga. A manga can be friendly, open minded, brave, sociable and fun to be with. On the other hand we have the tsamba manga, the fake manga whos exactly the opposite character. In rembetika we dont see the second case very often.

PP: Women find them quite sexy dont they?

GD: We are speaking about music!

PP I know, just that you cant separate the two.

GD: You are right.

PP: Its a problem, for us who are not mangas.

PP: Is there a degree of romanticising that goes on with this music now, or maybe a reimagining its Greekness?

GD: There is, with positive and negative aspects. Positive is to save our tradition. When however the songs become a touristic way of imagining the Greeks they lose their originality.

GD: Misirlou, you know this song? Its a song for the Pulp Fiction film, remember?

PP: Misirlou. Its famous these days because Dick Dale * did it

GD: This is a good example. It is an old song from the beginning of the 50s.

PP: You like Dick Dales version of it?

GD: Yes.

PP: You realise how versatile this music is. How well it travels. Were not here for very long. We need to find a place where we can hear some of this music.

GD: Hm. Difficult. Difficult. Do you know the place called Monastiraki?

PP: I like Monastiraki

GD: There are many many small clubs.

PP: Where we just might just hear something a bit like something Vambakaris might have played?

GD: Not the same.

PP: Im not giving up. Im going to find somewhere. George Dalaras thank you so much. Thank you very much.

GD: Thank very much. Its a pleasure

PP; Its funny, Dalaras was talking about his new album which deals with some of the grand themes that remetika music dealt with. Essentially, lots of very old songs about taking drugs. and it precipitated a minor backlash in the Greek press who said that these lyrics had no place coming from the mouth of someone like Dalaras. What he was saying to me there was that basically this stuff went on, and these songwriting gods like Tsitsanis and Vamvakaris who we deify as synonymous with Greekness, they wrote about this stuff and like it or not we have to acknowledge that.


Stuff about Dick Dale on Wikipedia

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