Urban popular music at Yeni Djami

In modern greek history the study of popular culture has been exclusively identified with the study of traditional music. The music culture of the cities has been considered as hybrid and of minor importance. However, as the neo-greek city evolves, it is highlighted as a dynamic cradle of style and practices, where popular musicians become the carriers of a multi-faceted society in constant transformation.

Popular or as it is widely known rebetiko guitar is always present in greek music even if its role had never been acknowledged in popular music, at least until recently. Maybe because it seemed as subordinent to the noble classical guitar, a substitute to lute or the oud, casual, cheap and always inefficient. However the history of rebetiko guitar is all but static. On the contrary it evolves impressively during the last century, adjusting to the cultural and aesthetic values.

Rebetiko guitar deserves a tribute: from its construction to discography, a series of activities are ambitious enough to promote its dynamic personality, to introduce it to everyone, to highlight musicians and of course to follow it to the popular fiesta, as one of its natural pillars.

The Department of Traditional Music which belongs to the School of Arts of TEI of Epirus in collaboration with the Municipality of Thessaloniki and a great help from volunteers, collectors, musicians, guitar-makers, communication and cultural technologies experts organized an innovative for greek standards event at Yeni Djami, Thessaloniki, from 9 to 11 May 2014, with an exhibition of rare rebetiko guitars, records, archive material, forum, masterclasses and concerts, hoping to be the first of a series of events, in Greece and abroad.

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