Earlier this year, the Rebetiko Carnival, one of the most exciting and biggest music festivals in Europe landed on the shores of the UK. The infectious, uplifting traditional music of Greece and Asia minor resounded through the streets of cities of the UK from Brighton, Shrewsbury, Bristol and Manchester, with the heart of the festival in London before arriving at Oathall this November. This culminated in a wonderful workshop and concert bringing together incredible musicians, young and old, Oathall students, amateurs and professionals.

What is Rebetiko?

Rebetiko is the music of an urban sub culture of musicians called “rebetes”. Although they openly emerged in Greece in the 1920’s, rebetiko music is a rich synthesis of music from all over Greece that expresses the pain and suffering of the people at the time. In a heartfelt way of reflecting life, these songs can be full of humour and profound beauty. The instruments used vary depending on the style of song. Most common are the bouzouki, baglama, guitar, oud, violin, kanonaki, santouri, hand held percussion. The voice, of course is a very important aspect of this music and one must not forget the dance. The songs are based on the many different types of rhythms found throughout this part of the world and it spirit of dance drives every song.