Con Kalamaras is nothing short of obsessed with all things Rebetika.
Exposed to this music from a young age, Con has immersed himself in this music, and has become an active musician in Melbourne playing in various Rebetika ensembles, and programming specialist Rebetika nights all over Melbourne and interstate, as well creative direction of the inaugural Rebetiko Festival at Melbourne's Caravan Club.
Con is a Melbourne based Greek-Australian who was first introduced to Rebetika at the age of 10 and has had an infinity with it ever since. An established musician in other contemporary ensembles, he’s been fortunate to play at many large festivals including Port Fairy Folk Festival (presented by the Music Deli), Multicultural Arts Victoria Emerge sessions, Darwin Festival, Sydney Festival to name a few.
With the Melbourne Rebetiko Ensemble , Con has curated and performed in many high profile Rebetika concerts at Melbourne's Caravan Club in Oakleigh, and Kew Court House in Kew, presenting the works of renowned Rebetika artists Vasillis Tsitsanis, Soteris Bellou, Yiannis Papaiannou, Giorgos Mitsakis, Marika Ninou, to name a few, with the aim of expanding the Greek and Australian audiences and celebrating the purist form of the genre.
Con was extremely fortunate to be invited to play with notable Greek Rebetiko musician Agathonas Iakovidis on his last Australian Tour and has presented Rebetiko specials on RRR 102.7 FM and also PBS FM 106.7. In 2014 he released his debut Rebetiko album, featuring works from the 1930's and 1940's. The album was launched to capacity crowd at Melbourne's Open Studio, and, after selling out its first pressing of 500 copies and garnering interest from the wider community, has since been invited to play at Folk Rhythm and Life Festival, Liquid Architectures Performance spaces and provided music for film scores.
Together with Passport Travel this tour will enable Con Kalamaras to share his passion and knowledge with an intimate tour group to where it all began.
Photography courtesy of Kostas Mountzoureas