The new double CD compilation titled The Rough Guide to Greek Cafe (RGNET1197CD) features Kristi Stassinopoulou, Hainides, Papa-Anastasis, En Chordais, Psarantwnis, Thanasis Papakonstantinou, Nena Venetsanou, Sokratis Malamas & Melina Kana, Dilek Koç, Nikos Papazoglou, Sophia Papazoglou, Lesvos Aiolis, Apsilies, Mode Plagal & Vosporos, Himerinoi Kolimvites. the second Bonus Source CD includes Dimitris Mistakidis: 16 Rebetika Tragoudhia Paigmena Me Kithara.
Written by Manos Hadjidakis and featuring lyrics from Sapfo’s ancient poetry, the song ‘Kelome Se Gongila’ beautifully showcases Nena Venetsanou’s legendary lyrical voice. Hadjidakis was a close friend and collaborator of Venetsanou’s until his death in 1994, and this song was recorded shortly afterwards, with guitar from Yiorgos Mavroeidis.
Kristi Stassinopoulou describes herself as a ‘Balkan ethno-trance artist’ and she draws influences from everything from Jefferson Airplane to Middle Eastern radio broadcasts. The song included in The Rough Guide to Greek Cafe, ‘Sto Patithraki’, was inspired by an Aegean island and is about fishermen seducing mermaids.
Papa-Anastasis, a.k.a. ‘the singing priest’, is descended from generations of priests and musicians and is well-known for his versions of Souliot folk ballads. ‘Ilie Mou Iliaki Mou’ is one such ballad and it features one of the most sought-after clarinet players in Greece, Petro Louka Halkias.
A popular four-piece band made up of Theodora Athanasiou, Apostolis Tsardakas, Evgenios Voulgaris and Dimitris Mistakidis, Apsilies eerily recreate the feeling of early twentieth-century Turkish art singing on ‘Dos Mou Piso Ta Louloudhia’.
Dimitris Mistakidis is also celebrated for his crisp reinventions of the classic rebétika of the 1920s and 1930s as well as older café aman songs from Asia Minor. His 2006 debut solo album can be heard on the bonus CD and he can also be heard collaborating with Thanasis Papakonstantinou on ‘Pehlivanis’ and with Himerinoi Kolimvites on ‘Ston Eptalofo’.
Loved for their jazz-fusion slants on Greek folk tunes, Mode Plagal have collaborated on ‘Tatvla’ with the Istanbul-based group Vosporos. An instrumental track, it was named after the once mostly Greek neighborhood (today’s Kurtuluş) in European Istanbul.
Dilek Koç is renowned for interpreting Turkish classical, contemporary and folk music, and in particular songs from Asia Minor that are a common heritage of Greeks and Turks, such as ‘Kanarini Mou Glyko’.
One of the most prominent musicians from a generation who have fused rebétika, café aman and laïká, Nikos Papazoglou here performs ‘Maisa Selini’, which talks of the bewitching effect of the moon.
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