"Introductory" Dimotika CD recommendations (English)

I’m a musician (USA) and listen to a lot of different musics. I like Greek music too,what I’ve heard, but I’m that that knowledgable about it and the various musicians/groups.

I have the handful of the Rounder rembetika compilations, and some other things by estabished names (Tsitsanis). However, I don’t know what to even look for in regards to dimotika.

Does anyone have any recommendations for 5-10 “must have” Greek folk music recordings? Any input is appreciated.

Thank you.

University of Crete has published a series of CDs followed by whole books of explanations and details regarding the songs that each part contains. I recommend them! Those are good not only because of the songs they include. You can find nice songs in several CDs. But those ones include a lot of details, even the tabs of each song and all of them, both in Greek and English. (in the publication for the region of Thrace, the book is “fatter” than both the two CDs together that it comes with)

Further, if you are looking just for names, note:

Hronis Aidonidis and Kariofilis Doitsidis for Thrace
Nitsa Tsitra and Xanthippi Karathanasi for Macedonia
Halkias family for Epirus
Karabesini, Sarri and Konitopoulos family for the islands
Domna Samiou for Minor Asia (she is also a researcher and you will find her name in a lot of works)

and and and…where to start from and where to stop.

In general, try to avoid titles such as “greek glenti” or “athanata tragoudia” or CDs that include more than 20 songs. They are very suspicious to be “rough-and-ready” recordings (most times they will be the cheapest ones) Also avoid titles that specific names appear to be the composers or the lyricists of the songs.

For any special info, always here…

I’m seeking Arvanit music in the original dialect. I already have a CD of a concert held in Athens as well as a CD with recording from the 1920’s. Are there any other CD’s out there with traditional Arvanit, Tsamiko or Suliot?

We’ll check it out for you.
There must be some recordings available besides the CD you already have.
By the way, which one is it?


Thanks Kourounis,

I have “Arvanitic Songs” by Thanassis Moraitis and a CD of Yorghos Papasideris recordings from the early part of the 20th century.

Thanks again,
Roland Uruci

Do you know where the bouzoukis, baglamas or Djouras are from ? I’m looking for the history of these instruments … for a french University !

It’s a very long story, Ayrelio. Better start from the ancient Greek PANDOURA, PANDOURIS or PANDOURIDA, then the Byzantine-Greek, Persian and Indian TAMBOURA, then the SAZ, and then you can reach the DZOURAS, BAGLAMA and BOUZOUKI. I don’t know any non-Greek publication on the Greek instruments, but if you can read Greek, start by the “Greek Instruments” by Phoevos Anogianakis.


you can find many informations on the history of bouzouki in the PhD-Thesis of R.P. Pennanen, University of Tampere, Finnland. Try this link to order the thesis:

If you have any problem, contact me at manos@online.de

Μάνο, δεν διάβασα την “Θέσις” του Ρίστο, αλλά είναι παλιός γνώριμος του Φόρουμ, και τον γνώρισα προσωπικά. Όπως μπορούν να σε διαβεβαιώσουν και οι άλλοι φίλοι μας, πρέπει να είσαι πολύ επιφυλακτικός με τις… “θέσεις” του. Είναι τραγικά -και επικίνδυνα θάλεγα- παραπλανημένος.

Hi Aurelio,

as Ferris said a good place to start is Fivos Anoyanakis book which to my knowledge is also translated to english (however I don’t know available it is on the market):

-Fivos Anogyanakis. (1979). “Greek Popular Musical Instruments”. Athens: National Bank of Greece.

Also if you want to go a long way back, with some heavy but interesting reading, you could check the following books:

-Jeremy Montagu (2002). “Musical Intruments of the Bible”.

-Martha Maas & Jane McIntosh Snyder. (1989). "Stringed Instruments of Ancint Greece. Yale University Press.