#1. The Greece of Yannis
Papaioannou: This is my favorite album. Rembetika and laika from
the 40's, 50's and 60's. I consider Papaioannou, Tsitsanis and Kalderas Greece's top composers of popular music.
#2. 30 years of Kaldaras. From the 50's and 60's. Great songs by a man who in my opinion is one of Greece's
top 3 composers. This is a collection of original recordings. The 10 Years of Kalderas listed at # 12 are new recordings
of old songs.
#3. Thelo Na Ta Po.
George Dalaras does songs of Akis Panou. Recorded in the 70's. Great songs and
production. The song titled Xarakopou 1942-1953 is a masterpece. George Dalaras is an amazing singer.
#4. Rembetika Tis Katohis. Dalaras plays the songs of the Nazi occupation of WWII and the civil war which
followed. Comes with a little book about the period, and lyrics.
#5. The Greece of Tsitsanis. This could easily be in my top 3 and some people may question my taste because
I have it all the way down at number 5 and Vassilis Tsitsanis is generally recognized as Greece's Greatest composer.
#6. Mikra Asia. Songs by Kaldaras about the Greeks from Asia Minor sung by Haris Alexiou and
#7. Stratos Dionysiou
1960-1990. Probably the most popular singer of the sixties and
early seventies. Beautiful voice.
#8. 50 Years of Rembetika
Songs. Sung by George Dalaras this album contains the greatest
songs by the most well known and (some lesser known) composers.
#9. Sotira Bellou sings
Tsitsanis. There is a whole collection of these. This one is
my favorite. You may not like her voice at first but it grows on you.
#10. 30 Years of Mitsakis. Rembetika from during the Second World War and after.
#11. Ten Years Songs:
Apostolis Kaldaras. Another collection with different songs recorded
by Dalaras, Haris Alexiou, Giannis Parios and Stelios Kazantzides.
#12. Afieroma by Stelios
Kazantzidis. This is a collection of old (and not so old) Rembetika
songs but recorded in the late nineties. Terrific sound and band. Wonderful voice.
#13. Loukas Daralas. This double LP-CD is hard to find. Daralas was the father of Dalaras, a sort
of marginal star who some say squandered his talent. But his album Enas Rembetis is excellent and his hit 'To Vouno'
is one of the most famous Greek songs.
#14. Nikos Gounaris
and Trio Belkanto. My wife's 80 year old aunts bought this for
me because I heard Nikos Gounaris voice one night in a taverna and asked who it was. It's like listening to a Greek
version of the Kingston trio. These guys can really play.
#15 Stratos Pagioumitsis. This is one of a series. I have several of these but this one is my favorite.
Original recordings from 78's from the thirties.
#16 Poly Panou's Big
Hits. There are two of these. I like the black one. She sang
with just about everyone in the 60's and still sings today.
#17. Rembetiko. The soundtrack to the movie. Great movie. Great soundtrack too.
See also www.greecetravel.com/film
#18. Greece is Gold. Yes this is one of those collections I mentioned. But this one is special. We
call it The Greatest Hits of the Junta because these were the songs that were popular
from around 1967-1974 when the military was in power in Greece.
But this is a very spirited collection.
|#19-23. My favorite was Dionysious Savopoulos, a sort of Greek hybrid of Bob Dylan and Frank Zappa with strong traditional influences
as well as rock. Some of my friends are disappointed in his recent work, say the last 15 years or so. But
these 5 are classics. It's not Zorba. You may not like him, but then again you may love him. Take a chance on one
Garden of the Fool. 1969
Vromiko Psomi. 1971
This is my favorite and is the
most like rock
This will sound the friendliest to western ears
Pino Kai Metho is a great selection of old Rembetika
and Laika songs sung by the best singers of today,
namely Glykeria, Agathonas, Gkoles, and my favorite
Babis Tsertos. The title song is the anthem for
anyone who believes life is for living. This could
easily be in my top 5 but I did not feel like rearranging
the whole page.
Erotopoleion is a collection of old Rembetika,
Smyrnika, Traditional and Laika songs from
the 1930's through the 50's performed by Babis Tsertos
and some great musicians. Another terrific album
by Tsertos is Aktimi Tichos. Both albums are a good introduction
to the different styles of Greek music and are well produced, in
fact the production is exceptional on all of Tsertos albums.
recommend the CD Cafe Aman Amerika
by Gregoris Maninakis and Anna Paidoussi. This CD
was given to me many years ago by the owner of a
small cafe in Lesvos and was relatively unavailable
at the time. It is a collection of songs of the
Greeks in New York, Chicago and San Francisco and
mixes rembetika, popular music,swing, jazz in a
CD of masterful musicianship and a great choice
here to order or for more information
My album of the month,
or year, or maybe forever is the album Iparchi
by Dimitris Mitropanos,
Themis Adamantidis and
Dimitris Mpasis which
was recorded live at the Akti in Pireaus. This double album
is a collection of moving songs in the slow and dramatic zeimbekiko
style. For those who have been to a Greek club or restaurant the
zeimbekiko is the dance that is usually done solo and is an expression
of passion whether it be sadness or feeling the music. This
album begins with an instrumental by Xarchakos and then introduces
the singers as they each to a verse of Savaopoulos' classic Zeimbekiko
which is my all time favorite song. It only gets better from there.
The band is as tight as the best rock act and the sound for a live
recording is excellent. But what really makes this album is the
passion of the music and the vocal abilities of three GREAT singers.
The Greeks have always been known as good singers as far back as
the Roman empire and one would assume before. For a lesson on what
great singers sound like buy this album and if you are like me you
will listen to it endlessly. Mitropanos is a God and the other two
guys are not far behind. Its a double album and many of the songs
are so familiar that the audience sings on the choruses. You may
find yourself singing too. I do.
Greek Music Information and Links
some other favorite CDs of mine that I have discovered since
putting together my top 25 Greek CDs: Yannis
think his best album), Grigoris
of his collections of hits especially 36 Chronia, Glykeria-Traditional
and Rembetika Songs, Haris
Tsilika. I also like the Xrisis Discothiki collection
of hits for every year from around 1950 to 1990.
The best years are the early ones up to about 1972. You can
usually find these at discounted prices.
There are a zillion record shops in Athens. Between Panapistimiou and Stadiou streets there are a couple stoas (like
streets but covered so they are indoors) with different themes. In the Stoa Pezmazoglou at 39 Panepistimiou, right across from the University there is a very interesting little music shop called Nikos Xilouris. Xilouris is to Cretan music as Hank Williams is to country music and this tiny store is full of his CDs, DVDs, books and memorabilia plus music by other Cretan, Rembetika and Laika musicians. The shop was owned by his son Giorgos Xilouris
(photo), now deceased, and is a great place to buy Greek music or just to stop in and say hello to his wife if you are a Xilouris fan.
For more on Rembetika Music see my Rembetika page at www.greektravel.com/rembetika
See also Gifts