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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Markos Vamvakaris: The Autobiography in English; Greek Rebetika Songs; Bouzouki

I've had the book in Greek since around 1980: available in English - a wonderful translation by Noonie Minogue!

"Markos Vamvakaris, born in 1905 in Syros was a pioneer of rebetiko, the urban folk music of Greece...

This is the first ever translation into English of the Autobiography compiled by Angeliki Vellou Keil and published in 1978. It opens a window onto a time of extraordinary creativity in the history of Greek music, an explosion of song writing in the interwar period. Its composers wrote about themselves and each other, the rituals of hashish smoking and the landmarks of a now vanished city.

Markos the repentant sinner and living legend, looks back at childhood idylls in Syros, the arrival of the Asia Minor refugees, the terrible years of the German Occupation, the ceaseless love affairs and disappointments, and the triumphs of the bouzouki. He offers a rare insight into the lives of toiling workers and the lowlife of one of the world’s most ancient ports, where East meets West. Out of this melting pot he produced the classic songs that Greeks of all ages still love and know by heart".

Extracts from the autobiography

Frangosyriani (original, 1935)

Documentary, YouTube

Taksimi Rebetiko

Singing Frangosyriani (in old age - Ο Μαρκος μιλαει για την ζωη του και παιζει την Φραγκοσυριανη σε μεγαλη ηλικια)

The Charlie Patton or Howlin' Wolf of rebetiko?

Was this the first translation into English? Ed Emery translated his Chapter 7 as study material for the conference to celebrate the life and times of Vamvakaris, in June 2005. Ed Emery was planning to publish his own full translation of the Autobiography.

The Rise And Fall Of Rebetiko: "The Greek Blues", Greeker than the Greeks, blog

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