It’s hearing bedeviling and trance-like music like his that makes one realize how Mediterranean Greece is just as much an “oriental”, or Eastern, country as it is a part of Europe. His music draws upon rhythmic patterns and sounds we commonly associate with the Middle East and the eastern half of the Balkans – certainly more Turkey than, say, even Italy. The CD is a retrospective of Vamvakaris’ work, all recorded before or during World War II and released on 78rpm records. His fingers slide around the “frets” – assuming there are frets – of his bouzouki like a wild man at times, while at others his music is rooted in festive, danceable folk music of the age. There are a number of backing and sometimes lead singers among the various songs whose voices compliment his, but you always know when it’s Vamvakaris on the mic. His singing is more of a “spitting”, a guttural and raw intonation that nonetheless sounds wonderful, and which lends a cool aura to this most ethnic of musics.
I’m posting a couple of tracks from the CD in hopes that you’ll find a way to buy it, either online, in a store or via download. If there are any other giants of the bouzouki I need to know about, please let me and the HJ community at large know about ‘em.
DOWNLOAD Markos Vamvakaris – “Karadouzeni"
DOWNLOAD Markos Vamvakaris – “Mavra Matia Mavra Fridhia"