A Conversation with Grigoris Maninakis and Anna Eliopoulos about the upcoming Rebetika Concert (April 19—21) at the Hellenic Cultural Center, April 18, 2013
My first memory of Rebetika comes from more than 20 years ago. It was before I started doing my show at Hellenic Public Radio. I was meeting someone who was already doing a show for HPR so she could tell me a bit about the types of shows she was planning to do in the future. I must admit to having some trepidation about starting down this path. After all what did I really know about Greece? I’d travelled there and fallen in love with the culture, the history and the people but how could I possibly do a show week after week after week? In the weeks leading up to my first show, how many times had picked up the phone to call the station and tell them that the idea of me doing a show was ridiculous? A dozen? Two dozen? But each time that little voice in my head, the one that usually tells you that you CAN’T do something, told me that making that call would be something I’d regret for the rest of my life. The “What if’s” would be, in the long run, crushing.
The meeting with my friend almost pushed me over the edge though. After we sat and ordered she pulled a huge binder out of her bag and started leafing through showing me page after page of themes she wanted to explore. She was trying to help but this was daunting. I remember very few of those pages and themes but I do remember one in particular that stood out: REBETIKA. She had pictures of a few of the great practitioners—the only one I remember now is the one of Roza Eskenazi. So I asked what Rebetika was and her answer was three words: It’s Greek Blues.
I could go on but suffice to say that I was “sold”—hook, line and sinker.
This coming weekend at the Hellenic Cultural Center you’ll have the chance to experience Rebetika at its best.