Talk:Markos Vamvakaris

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Untitled[edit]

This desperately needs to be re-written in English. It looks uncannily like the output from WorldLingo pasted directly. I don't mean to be rude. If I had the time, I would ask for the original Greek and try to translate it myself. Too busy, alas. The Real Walrus 15:29, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

I have smoothed out some of the lumps, and am going to remove some of the flags from the page - it's better than it was. The Real Walrus 22:25, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

Vamvakaris[edit]

The translation is inadequate, and some of the facts are wrong. Vamvakaris was half Catholic, half Orthodox; he worked as a butcher in Pireus until he couldn't stand it anymore, and quit entirely. He hung out with the Rembetes of Pireus when he was a teenager, and swore that if he didn't learn to play the bouzouki in six months, he would cut his own arm off. When he did learn in six months, and kept his arm, he then took to playing with the older musicians in the clubs and hashish dens of Pireus during the twenties, and wrote his first songs in the late 1920s. During the 1930's his group was the most popular group of its time in Pireus and Athens, and he had numerous hit songs on disk. Many of his songs were in the Asia-Minor scales, and in 9/8 time, and he sung of hash smoking and lost love. In 1936 the dictator Metaxas banned all use of Asian scales in Greek music and all lyrics having to do with drugs in order that the music would be more western. Markos changed his style and lyrics for his published music, but continued to play underground in clubs.

Markos, as he was known to anyone familiar with Rebetika, continued to play his music, and he was quite a prolific songwriter, composing several hundred songs, many of which have become famous standards and known to a whole generation of Greeks. During the 1950's, Markos went out of fashion, but continued playing his music while the rest of Athens (and Greece) turned to Laiki, or "people's" music, which derived from Rebetika but was more modern and less bleak. Markos would have ended his days playing in small clubs as second or third bouzouki player for little money had it not been for some students from Crete who, in the course of their studies, contacted Markos and encouraged him to tell his story. His story got told, and he came back into fashion as a sort of grandfather to the younger generation of bouzouki players, his most famous collaboration being with Gregoris Bithikotsis in 1961. Bithikotsis played and sang an album of all Markos' songs, and Markos was right there playing with him. The younger generation became familiar as a result of that album, and Markos went on to play for another ten years or so, until his death in 1971. The Greek people rediscovered him, and he enjoyed a certain amount of fame once again. His last recorded concert was in 1967, where he played with other musicians of the time in a concert tribute to him. Markos was married several times, and had a son who went on to become a bouzouki player in his own right.

Nick Soter

Markos had at least two bouzouki playing sons, Domenikos and Stelios. Stelios is still playing, and must be fed up with making a living playing his Dad's greatest hits. Domenikos is dead, alas. Nick, I am sure that by "Bithikotsis played and sang an album of all Markos' songs" you mean all of the album was songs by Markos! I would put more on the page, but I'm waiting for the translation of the "autobiography" of Markos that is supposed to be in the process of being translated. The Real Walrus 15:29, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

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There is also a movie as far as I know, that is based on his biography. Unfortunately I don't remember the title. Vazgen Ghazaryan