Deserted Villages

By Louise, Gray | New Internationalist, December 2008 | Go to article overview

Deserted Villages


Louise, Gray, New Internationalist


Deserted Villages

by George Dalaras (Tropical Music/Universal Music Greece 68 865 CD)

Born in Piraeus in 1949, the son of a rembetika musician, George Dalaras could not have come from any place closer to the crucible of Greek rembetika than this Athenian port. And even if the pungent flavours of rembetika - its earliest lyrics dealt with scoring drugs, getting stoned and the inevitable visits to prison - had been toned down by the time that Dalaras was old enough to pick up a baglama (a little lute, typical of the genre), there was still plenty of life left in the music.

Rembetika has had an interesting history in Greece: reviled, rediscovered and reinterpreted. Dalaras is certainty one of its modern advocates. Deserted Villages is an album that follows in the footsteps of tributes to Mikis Theodorakis and an entire album dedicated to the work of an original rembetis, Markos Vamvakaris. Made in tandem with the Albanian accordionist/composer Dasho Kurti, the 11 songs on Deserted Villages offer a broad palate, and not all of it mournful. …

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