Tuesday, 27 September 2011


1983 by Costas Ferris - Greek movie

I have always wondered about the striking similarity in the music of the gypsies from Spain and Rajasthani folk. Just like twins almost. Now watching Rembetiko, the similarities of the music score in this movie with Indian music is really incredible.

Rembetiko are known as the music or songs of the outclass. After the Smyrna disaster (war with Turkey) a large group of Greek refugees were confined to living a terrible life in Greece, in the lowest order of the society. Rembetiko reached its peak during this period after the 20's. The movie pans the life of a Rembetiko singer Marika, between 1919 to the 60's and through her let us have a close look at the music and its artists. 

Greece went through lots of political instability during these years and Rembetiko attained its peak during this period too. May be as the only solace for the outclass people who suffered all along. It concentrates on one of the famous singers of this period, Marika, and follows her from her very early days, as a little girl, till her tragic death. Through Marika, we definitely get to know a lot about Rembetiko.

The story of Marika alone is dramatic and add to it the element of music, this turns out nearly like a master piece. There are so many touching moments involving the life of Marika, as both a child and adult, and all this is captured nicely in a subtle way. Her personal life is terrible, but she does attain popularity as a great singer and unlike another predecessor, her funeral attains lot of attention, with many performing for her. That was a beautiful scene.

I found the music of this movie incredibly brilliant. It is so beautiful to the ear and the soul and it makes it also good for the eyes because of the scenes. Some of the characters who are performing looks like as if they have just walked out of Guru dutt movies. I would love to have the music cd of this one. And as mentioned, the similarity of the same with Indian music, both in classical and folk ways, is so surprising. I do not know how this happened. I do not know if the music score is really based on the original Rembetiko style and hopefully it is. If yes, then this is incredible.

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