Rembétika & Éntekno Bookmark and Share

After World War 2, Rembétika (ρεμπέτικα) had become a calmer form of music, Out of this music scene came two of the earliest legends of Greek Oriental music, like the quartet of Markos Vamvakaris, Artemis, Stratos Payioumtzis, and Batis. Vamvakaris became perhaps the first star of rembétika after beginning a solo career. The scene was soon popularized further by stars like Vassilis Tsitsanis. His "Synefiazmeni Kyriaki" became an anthem for the oppressed Greeks after it was composed in 1943, though it wasn't recorded until 1948. He was followed by female singers like Marika Ninou, Ioanna Yiorgakopoulou and Sotiria Bellou. In 1953, Manolis Khiotis added a fourth pair of strings to the bouzoúki, which allowed it be tuned tonally and set the stage for the electrification of rembétika. This led to a Westernization of Rembétika.

Drawing on Rembétika's Westernization with Tsitsanis, Éntekhno arose in the late 1950s. Éntekhno is orchestral music with elements of Greek folk rhythm and melody. Later (in the seventies) it is mixed with more electric elements. Mikis Theodorakis and Manos Hadjidakis were the most popular early performers; however there are also other significant Greek songwriters like Stavros Koujioumtzis and Manos Loizos. By the 1960s, innovative albums made éntekhno mainstream, and also led to its appropriation by the film industry for use in soundtracks. Actress Melina Mercouri had a hit song titled Hartino to Fengaraki  written by Manos Hadjidakis and Nikos Gatsos. Although the honors of recording it officially were for Nana Mousukouri in 1960. Outside greece it was the music theme which appears in the Hollywood 1964 movie Zorba the Greek that remains the most well-known Greek song abroad.

The fall of the dictatorship was followed by a total cultural dominance of left wing intellectuals (though the government was still moderately right-wing). For them, western rock was an "imported" (xenoferto) form of music and they instead promoted music based on local traditions like Theodorakis's compositions. This is crucial for the breakthrough of singers like Haris Alexiou, Dimitra Galani, Georgos Dalares, Marinella, Tania Tsanaklidou, Dionysis Savvopoulos, Viki Mosxoliou and Vassilis Tsitsanis. Although the rembtiko and éntenko styles have a dominant character doesn’t mean there isn’t room for experiments. Synthesizer maestro Vangelis teams up with actress Irene Papas in the seventies for some highly daring projects. The Rembétika and éntenko music is still very popular in the Greece music scene and spawns new artists on a regular basis like Eleftheria Arvanitaki, Gianna Terzi