Rebetiko - The Greek Blues

A dance and music performance by Phaedra Pisimisi

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Smyrna catastrophe (1922), the Greek choreographer present together with musicians and dancers from Greece her new interpretation of the Rebetiko culture consisting of dance, live music, video and sound design.

Rebetiko, today also known as the "Greek blues", emerged around 100 years ago from the symbiosis of Greek and Ottoman culture. With the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Greeks from what is now Turkey ("Asia Minor") to Greece, Ottoman musical tradition mixed with traditional Greek music and dance culture. Rebetiko has continued to develop ever since.

With sensitivity for both Greek and Turkish perspectives and a clear statement against division based on religious and nation-state animosities, Phaedra Pisimisi takes the audience on an artistic journey through this history - beginning in Smyrna (now Izmir) in 1922. In doing so, she directs the focus primarily to the perspectives of women, drawing on material from contemporary witnesses such as Filio Heidemenu.

Her interpretation of dance theatre and live rembetiko not only recalls the consequences of one of the greatest humanitarian disasters of the 20th century, but also tells of the importance of rembetiko, its healing effect on performers and society, and its development - from Smyrna to the time of its prohibition during the Greek military dictatorship to the present day.

Today, Rebetiko is regarded worldwide as an outstanding example of commemorative culture and thus rightly belongs to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. With its origins in a region where people of different religions and cultural backgrounds lived together peacefully for a long time (before being driven apart by nationalist forces), it is still a living symbol today of international understanding, against oppression and persecution, and a memorial to the suffering caused by war all over the world.

Production Credits

Choreography: Phaedra Pisimisi in collaboration with the dancers

Live Music:"Τετράς του Πατρέα"

Dancers: Stavros Boutsikas and Phaedra Pisimisi

Sound design: Niovi Kitsiou

Set and costume design: Ria Papadopoulou

Rembetiko 1 Rembetiko 2 Rembetiko 3 Rembetiko 4 Rembetiko 5 Rembetiko 6