I consider myself one of todays’ “Rembetes”. A synchronous rembetis, that is to say that my instincts and my thinking are out of sync with the mainstream although my way of life is somewhat tied up with it.
What is a “Rembetis”? or more to the point what are the prerequisites that distinguished this group of people from the rest of society? Rembetes were considered to be ‘wide boys’, ‘spivs’, living on the peripherals of society, involved with the underworld, getting their kicks in the hash dens around Peiraeus where they played this new type of music with bouzoukis, baglamathes and other exotic instruments in the 1920’s and 1930’s. The music came to be called “Rembetika” and it was, like early ‘rock n roll’, simple but exciting and it talked about the lives of the people who wrote and sang it, their sorrows, their loves, their run-ins with the law, some of the songs even commented on the governments, on the war(s), in fact it was just like the blues of the American negroes.
So, what gives me the right to consider myself one of them? I don’t live on the edge of society, I don’t frequent hash joints, I am not a spiv or a wide boy and I am certainly not involved with the underworld! I’m just an ordinary guy, doing ordinary things living a pretty much ordinary life, and yet, and yet I feel myself closer to these guys than any other group of people I can think of. I said right at the top that I felt my instincts and thinking were out of sync with the mainstream, actually I think it’s more than that. I am certain now as I write that it’s actually a spiritual thing I’m experiencing. The more I think about it the more convinced I become and it’s opening up a whole new way of thought for me. Why can’t I, why can’t we all as musicians be synchronised Rembetes? We can do this by expressing ourselves in our music in the same way as they did back then. God knows the world is in a pretty big mess and instead of being caught up in this consumerism and celebrity rubbish we should be out there writing and singing about the things that have real meaning for people……..the very same things that those guys were writing and singing about back in the day.