About Rebetika


What is Rebetika?

Rebetika has always been the music of the poor and the dispossessed, combining different musical styles of the region and with lyrics describing the joy, the sorrow, and the difficulties of everyday life. Often called the Greek blues, since like the blues, it grew out of a specific urban subculture and reflected the harsh realities of an oppressed subculture's lifestyle. Music Story telling spanning love, loss, drugs, and heart-breaking refugee tales.

Rebetika is a form of Greek urban music from the early twentieth century. Although the origins of the music certainly stretch into the 19th century—and earlier— it was especially important and vibrant during the 20s, 30s, 40s, and early 50s. It was the music of the lower ends of the socio-economic spectrum—those who stood outside “mainstream” culture in certain although not all respects. The music contains a lexicon of its own, and it uses terms such  as mangaskoutsavakirebetisteke, and many others which are difficult to translate, but nevertheless understandable within this unique social milieu. The music was closely associated with the Greek “underworld,” and, as a result, it was controversial until the Junta fell in 1974 (though one could say that it remains so even today, in certain quarters). The manges and rebetes—those who wrote and performed the rebetika—tended to live in or around Piraeus; they frequented the tekedes (hashish dens); many spent time in jail, either simply for performing their music, or for engaging in other criminal behavior, such as smuggling, theft, or smoking hashish (it is important to note, though, that some of the musicians never set foot in a teke, and that they were certainly not violent criminals). The music is grounded in this social experience. The songs are about love, loneliness, despair, xenetia and the diaspora, jail, hashish and drugs, women, misfortune and misery, social injustice, current events, the Aegean and its waters, fishing, the landscape, poverty, death, daily life, violence, mangas culture, and so on

Experience the tour of lifetime as you delve into this hypnotic world. Visit live music venues which specialise in this music. Witness firsthand how these instruments are made, listen to local musicologist who will share their stories. Visit the many Museums that will open this world and the history surrounding the birth of this music. Delve into the culture as you will also take part in an art and cultural experience of music, art food and wine!

This tour will take you on a musical journey that will change you forever.

Rebetika Greek Blues