Boomkat Product Review:
Superb selection of haunting, cranky, romantic, playful and entertaining Greek music from 1st half of the 20th century, all compiled by Tony Klein, who’s behind some of our favourite compendiums from the region and era, such as the ‘Mortika’ set and the A. Kostis’ LP ‘The Jail’s A Fine School’. Considering they’re so old, there’s a remarkable amount of life inside. Immerse yourself.
"Like many others, we were first seduced to the pleasures of this epoch by the book's researcher and compiler, Tony Klein's previous incursion, 'Mortika - Rare Vintage Recordings from a Greek Underworld', compiled with Charles Hayward in 2005. And, while the emphasis here has shifted from the lyrics of gangsters and the dispossessed to purely instrumental recordings, the emotive sentiments still carry as much weight as the lyrics which we never understood anyway. Aside from the appearance of Rebetiko forefather, Markos Vamvakaris, who featured prominently on 'Mortika…', all players are new to us and each lends a personal and rhapsodic inflection to their instrumental tales, with each disseminated in detail in the book beside extensive further reading on their instruments and a rich historic background.
We still can't exactly place our finger on what it is the endears this music to us so much, maybe it's the minor key phrasing, its proud working class elegance, or perhaps the syncretic blend of European and minor Asian nuance. Maybe its the ghostly, opiated atmospheres or the swaying rhythms, but whatever it is, it hits the spot like no other.