Dear community!

This is translated with google from german language in english:


I have dealt intensively with the music genre PUNK and its possibilities of expression and would now like to allow myself to transfer my criteria to or about the phenomenon PUNK as a subculture on Rembetiko. It’s just an attempt, for the first time, just for fun, I don’t know how far I want to go ;-).

Subcultures are mostly theory-less, they are not based on theory, they have no plan or goals, first of all no strategy. They are mostly hedonistic and arise in the underground, in the underworld or demi-world and often have connections with sex and crime and drugs. At first, intellectuality is still a foreign word, and subcultures are initially not concerned with commerce or marketing. On the contrary, own, alternative forms of distribution are being developed, keyword: independent!

“We are different, we are alternative”.

We are not mainstream and we are against the establishment!
In the beginning, subcultures have something anarchic, uninhibited, a longing for freedom.

Subcultures can be expressed as follows:

Aesthetics: physicality, fashion, language, slang

Sound carriers: records, cassettes, CD, social media …

Publications: fanzines, magazines, newspapers, art: poems, song texts, small books, leaflets, posters, caricatures, design of the sound carriers (cover design)
today via social media

Styles, variety of styles


  • Live: appearances in locations, in clubs, taverns, Cafe Aman, tekes,

  • Meeting places, scene (piatsa), hiding places (caves, on the beach, in the mountains …)

  • Practice or rehearsal rooms - where are the rehearsals or where are the sessions

Formation of bands, groups, companies

Connections to the public - also politically.

When these terms have settled in me and I concentrate, I may be able to find typical parallels if I feel like it and you are interested.

Question: Are you interested? :smiley:

greetings from Stuttgart/Germany


5 «Μου αρέσει»

It is a very interesting subject, actually there is a common ground between the two subcultures. There are people listening to and/or playing both genres, some are more on the punk side and some more on the rembetiko side. I mean, some play rembetiko bouzouki but sing punk style or make punk covers of rembetiko songs, whereas others play punk songs with bouzouki. These people have a strong connection with both subcultures, musical and social/political as well as a way of living.

1 «Μου αρέσει»

As for myself: The answer is No.
My point of view is Live and let live. Gangs, formations of people, societies, nations, ideas, generally develop and move independently of other similar on non similar groups, remaining as self contained entities. Rebetiko too, as a subculture, is a formation totally different from any other group or movement anywhere in the world. Possible similarities with other groups or subcultures are either totally obvious or non existent. Take the example that arouses from the (unfortunately very popular) expression Rebetiko: The Greek Blues. No doubt, black people of early America and the poor folks who formed the initial carriers of the rebetiko song genre, have many similarities: both groups were suppressed by the respective leading classes, both groups were hungry, both were arrogantly neglected by the well off society. But there is not the smallest similarity in the musicologigal field, where it really counts, between the two genres.

I ‘m afraid, similar parallels exist when comparing Punk and Rebetiko against each other and, what’s more for my case, having experienced the development of the Rock and Roll Era in the 50’s, I find it difficult to examine Punk so as to get to know and like it…

1 «Μου αρέσει»

yes i think so too and i saw a few examples on youtube,
from the fields of punk but also in acid house, hip-hop, dub …, it’s nice that Rembetiko is also developing and is not only played traditionally, but that predominates. And I’m also happy that the traditional dominates.

1 «Μου αρέσει»

Me too, although I appreciate mixes and covers with a reason and a honest background.

yes Niko, they remain typical independent “units” and yes: Rembetiko differs from other “groups or movements”, as you write.
“Possible similarities with other groups or subcultures are either completely obvious or nonexistent.”
I don’t know, I’m just trying to find parallels based on the criteria I have listed. I could do the same thing in relation to the hippie movement.

This subculture was - as I wrote - primarily hedonistic and at first aimless and theoryless and without a plan and also against the establishment. And I claim that it was similar with Rembetiko and I would like to record that again in a few days.

I would also like to simply let the points of aesthetics, fashion and physicality melt on my tongue and look for parallels. Why not, I enjoy it. I let everyone live.

Niko, I see what you say about the comparison with the blues! I’m totally of the same opinion and I’m surprised how many people are shouting: “Oh yeah, the greek blues!” I get a stomach ache when I hear this opinion!

Right, the blue notes in the rebetiko are missing and also the exaggerated feeling, the blues scheme and the syncope are missing. But of course I know Stelios’ approach towards the blues, but this was the case very late.

Okay, thank you very much for the two answers and next week I will first specialize in the criteria I mentioned - aesthetics and locations.

Have a nice Weekend!

1 «Μου αρέσει»

hi Nikos S., I also enjoy working with loops and samples

1 «Μου αρέσει»

Rebetiko is not a movement, it is merely a song genre.

Rebetiko is not against the establishment, it simply disregards it. Rebetiko does not aim at establishing a society based on rebetiko’s own principles, because there are no such principles. However, any records you can present are highly welcome.

You can say that again! :smiley:

To me, it was not an approach. He met a guy who played the Blues and was happy to jam with him. The blues guy played the blues, while Stelios played the rebetiko.

i like Stelios so much if he tried to play blues, with bluenotes. No Niko, Stelios played years after the sessions with John Lee Hooker and Louisiana Red rebetika from his father in blues style! look at youtube. please.

i never said that Rembetiko was a movement and i said not “against the establishment”, i said it was “similar” and you know what i mean!

You are possibly right, Simon, but quite honestly, I don’t like Stelios’ style, so i may have missed some recordings of him…

i saw sessions behind the stage in the wardrobe, at youtube, not recordings. Stelios played himself in ectasy. that was very close to blues.

1 «Μου αρέσει»

here is another example minute 6:30 … o o o so “blues” :wink:

not Blues was the theme but to compare some categories between Punk and Rembetiko, here is my opinion for two points:

Aesthetics - body - magkes fashion from the 30s and 70s / 80s of the punks

In my opinion, a typical feature of subcultures or underground / demi-world is the hedonistic turn to one’s own body and body language (also through dance or very special walking), to fashion - clothing style and to aesthetics in general via individual or common styles and codes. Punk and Rembetiko are sometimes similar, there are these possibilities for comparison and parallels in both worlds, I think, especially when it comes to the criterion of body / fashion / aesthetics.
Appearances such as clothing, jewelry, behavior, appearance (posing), staging, rituals, appearance, hairstyles, … are of great importance in subcultures.

The overemphasis on the physical is interesting in my eyes but of course completely subordinate to the music! The music and its styles dominate all sub-categories.

Another (and last) example in which I allow myself to discover parallels between the two subcultures punk and rebetiko is the topic of locations.

While punk reinvented itself through the fashion boutique “SEX” in London and the punks had to create their own locations (independent, free, autonomous youth centers, small clubs, small concert venues and, for once, the first discos), the MAGKES had to create their own places and retreats (caves, mountains, beaches … later tekes). In both subcultures, the initial search for one’s own opportunities to retreat plays a major role in order to avoid the mainstream or establishment, also because they were sometimes not tolerated. Years later, they were marketed.

Both examples are just an attempt at a daring approximate comparison, it’s just my opinion, about my impressions and what I have read, heard and experienced. Maybe there are these parallels, maybe not. I was interested in the topic and that’s it, thank you.

Hello Simon and everybody.

I totally agree with the first part. The rembetiko is not the Greek blues, it is the Greek rembetiko.

As for the second part: You can’t say that the blue notes are missing. If you play blues without blue notes, they will be missing: their place will be there, but it will be empty. If you play s/thing that is musically so much different altogether, they can’t be missing. Just as we can’t say that Rast or Hidjaz are missing from the blues, since the whole modal system is alien to it.

Back to rembetiko, there’s no such thing as Rast or Hidjaz with or without blue notes. Even if s/one found a way to play Rast or Hidjaz with blue notes, it still won’t be blues, musically - it will be “something like Rast/Hidjaz”.

Same goes for the blues scheme (I suppose you mean the 12-bar?) and for syncopation. The whole musical context of the two genres is so different that there’s no point in isolating such particular differences.

However, there are some points that, in their very general form, are common between rembetiko and blues. I believe it is possible to find analogies in the minimalist spirit in composition of the two, in the freedom to combine bits of lyrics with melodies and with other bits of lyrics, etc. Points that, of course, are not exclusively common in these two traditions but in a wide range of orally transmitted musical traditions.

Thank you and i understand you Pepe.
i thought the blues scale and the dhromoi and the makams are different but i believe that they have commonalities.
i miss the bluesy “pulling” of the strings in the rebetika


it is possible and very interesting for me to compare scales, modi, dhromoi, makam … i like it to compare.

i began with march music and “deutsche Volksweisen”, later Blues, Jazz, Rock, Punk, i play a lot of styles, also Dub, noise, Free … and so i love it to compare.

Apologies for my ignorance about all these different styles you are discussing.Please allow me a comment though:
There is a difference between finding 2 historically unrelated traditions that happen to share a scale and actually finding common elements of two traditions that prove they are related.

there are only so many ways of dividing an octave and its not surprising that a major or minor scale can be called something else in Greece and something else in India, China etc.
Its really far fetched however to start linking those traditions based solely on this musical evidence.Nobody invented the minor scale!So if there is a Chinese version of it, that doesn’t make it more Indian or Turkish and vice versa.
I am not sure if you are putting Punk and Rembetiko (or whatever styles) side by side because of the social circumstances that produced each one, or because you feel there is something common to be discussed in their musical languages, that the two styles share.

2 «Μου αρέσει»

from Nikos Ordoulidis: Publications

Nikos explains two poles: east - west and he compares different scales

Simon, the resolution is much too low: the scales are distinguishable, the texts not.

can you open this PDF?

Ok, I know this paper. But in which relation does all Mr. Ordoulidis explains therein, fit into the comparison punk vs. rebetiko?