The Rembetika Hipsters
In 2020, The Rembetika Hipsters will be marking their 25th year of bringing the traditional music of Greece to Calgary and across Canada. “Rembetika” is the name given to the music which emerged out of the poorer quarters of Athens (and other cities in Greece and in Asia Minor) between the World Wars and which introduced the stringed instrument known as the bouzouki to the world. The lyrics often portray the poverty and squalor of a people driven from their homes by war. Coupled with the swirling, Middle Eastern modes of the uplifting melodies, a Greek equivalent of “the blues” was created that has transformed popular Greek music.
The Rembetika Hipsters started as a duo of Nick Diochnos on bouzouki and Allen Baekeland on guitar. They are currently a six-piece ensemble, that also features Jonathan Lewis on violin and baglama, Giorgos Losifelis on bass, Lincoln Frey on clarinets, and Robin Tufts on percussion. The band members share vocals. Over the years, they’ve toured extensively in Canada and Greece, and have released three CDs and a digital EP, most recently Tzivaeri/Sergiani in 2017. Their Greek-style cover version of Chris Isaak’s song “Wicked Game” is included in the recently released album Cover Art, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Calgary Folk Music Festival.
The Rembetika Hipsters sure know how to play the “Greek Blues”. — Exclaim Magazine
- “Dimitroula Mou” — Vimeo