Greece holds the 6th International Rebetiko Festival ‘Syra de Markos Vamvakaris’


Rebetiko-Festival Syra by Markos Vamvakaris welcomes those who love the musical genre “rebetiko” from Greece and abroad, to its sixth edition to be held from August 29 to September 2 in different locations on the island of Syros.

2022 is a special year for the Syra Rebetiko Festival as it coincides with the hundredth anniversary of the disaster in Asia Minor and the 50th anniversary of the death of Markos Vamvakaris.

The consequences of the Asia Minor catastrophe had a decisive impact not only on major national issues, but also on the evolution of urban folk music, which was influenced, strengthened and enriched by artists and musical forms from from the coast of Asia Minor, as the only baggage of the uprooted, in most cases. Among these people who were considered foreigners both in Turkey and Greece, stood out intellectuals, businessmen, but also insurmountable musical geniuses who are mentioned with admiration and respect until today and as such will be mentioned in perpetuity.

From the 2021 ‘Syra de Markos Vamvakaris’ festival. Photo: Facebook

Gradually most of the representatives of the Asia Minor school were adapted and integrated into a new movement created by the so-called “Piraeus” school, having Markos Vamvakaris of Syros as rector, whose playing, forms and style were the cornerstone of this great musical genre, our folk music.

In this year’s programme, which spans five days, participating artists Maria Katinari and Giorgos Zorbas and the local group Ilianthos will focus on the era of the first decades of the 20th century, when the Asia Minor style dominated. This axis includes, among other things, a concert of the zithers of “Anagnostirion” Agiassou Lesvou, one of the oldest cultural institutions in Greece with a rich body of work and important archives. In addition, the music workshop with Petros Kouloumis as speaker and on the subject of the technique and stylistic approach of the Asia Minor school is included here.

Rebeti from Athens, as well as the local bands Estoudiadina from the Cyclades, Sabah, Who and En Chordais and Organois will have references -but not exclusively- to the work of the great folk bard Markos Vamvakaris, presenting influences, interactions with other genres and collaborations with other composers.

From the 2021 ‘Syra de Markos Vamvakaris’ festival. Photo: Facebook

During the Festival there will be an exhibition of folk musical instruments, where some of the most important Greek luthiers will display their creations. All these creators have preserved on the one hand the know-how and tradition of artisanal construction to this day, and on the other hand they have introduced innovations in the use of materials, in development techniques and tools: Galanos Nikos, Gulielmos Adonis, Dellios Andreas, Kadoglou Giannis, Katsifis Tassos, Miltiadou Savvas, Paisios Nikos, Polytaridis Giorgos, Stamkos Panagiotis, Stefanidis Grigoris, Schinas Dimitris, Tsiolis Makis, Tsoulogiannis Giannis, Fronimopoulos Nikos.

‘Syra of Markos Vamvakaris’ has been indexed in the European festival directory and awarded the EFFE LABEL.

The Festival takes place under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, the General Secretariat for Aegean and Island Policy; co-organized by the Municipality of Syros-Ermoupolis and the Cyclades Development Corporation (KETAN), the non-profit organization of the Cyclades Chamber.

This is a free entry event. Online booking through eventbrite is required. For specific events and locations, click here.

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