The Evolution Of Greek Music In A Single Video!

Contemporary Greek music has a deep history that expands over 100+ years and here I am sharing a video that shows its evolution from the 1910s onwards. This “A Capella compilation” was an idea of the Greek artist Nikolas Raptakis and his friends. It shows how the Greek music changed – This compilation includes bits and bobs of many different hit songs after the other.

Watch the video below and have a listen and see how many of them you are able to recognize! If you are able to read Greek, then the lyrics are written down for you under the video, as well as more explanations. Enjoy!

Note: If you prefer to read this article in Greek, then CLICK HERE

Click below to watch the video:

 

 

1910 – 1920 – 1930

Από τα πολλά που μου ‘χεις καμωμένα
Δε σε θέλω πια
Δε σε θέλω πια

Τα παιδιά της γειτονιάς σου με πειράζουνε
Τα παιδιά της γειτονιάς σου με πειράζουνε

Από ξένο τόπο κι απ’ αλαργινό

Τράβα, ρε μάγκα και αλάνι
Τράβα για το Πασαλιμάνι

Ζητάτε να σας πω τον πρώτο μου καημό
Τα περασμένα μου γινάτια

The journey through the history of Greek music starts with rebetiko and the traditional songs “Δεν σε θέλω πια” and “Τα παιδιά της γειτονιάς σου” which were first recorded in Istanbul and Smyrna. Rebetiko originated from the music of large, mainly coastal cities of Asia Minor, where big Greek communities lived and prospered during the Ottoman era. It is closely related with nightlife entertainment – ouzeries and tavernas. One of the key figures of rebetiko, Markos Vamvakaris, was actually born on the island of Syros, where the Omilo school organizes the Greek Language and Culture courses.

In this video, we can hear a part of the song “Μην περάσεις από τη γειτονιά μου” (above in bold).
More info about this music and composer Markos Vamvakaris in the eBook Rebetica


1940-50

Ξύπνα μικρό μου και άκουσε
Κάποιο μινόρε της αυγής

Το πρωί με ξυπνάς με φιλιά
Μου χαϊδεύεις μετά τα μαλλιά

Τι σήμερα, τι αύριο, τι τώρα
Ας καθαρίσουμε μια ώρα αρχύτερα

Τι μου τη χάρισες αυτή την ταμπακιέρα

Αφού το θες, τούτη τη βραδιά
Με βαριά καρδιά και καημό μεγάλο

Another song by Markos Vamvakaris leads us into the 40s, it’s called “Μινόρε της Αυγής”. It is followed with “Το Πρωί Με Ξυπνάς Με Φιλιά”, which originally was sung by one of the most important voices of the Greek music, Sofia Vembo. In the 1950s, rebetiko started changing and giving its place to a new-ish genre, laïkó. One of the songs we can listen to here is “Αφού το Θες” by Manolis Chiotis and Mairi Linda. Chiotis created the idea of entertainment venues the way people understood them in Greece in the decades to follow. He is also considered one of the best bouzouki players of all times; rumor has it that his fans included Jimi Hendrix and US president Lyndon Johnson!

Towards the end of the 50s, a new music genre appears in Greece, which is called “entekhno” – orchestral music with elements from Greek folk rhythm and melody. The lyrics of the songs are often poems written by Greek poets, to which significant composers like Mikis Theodorakis and Manos Chatzidakis are adding music.


1960-1970-1980

Υπομονή, υπομονή, υπομονήηηη

Τόσα καλοκαίρια μου ‘χαν φύγει από τα χέρια
Τόσα καλοκαίρια που…

Μένουμε πάντα παιδιά

Στην πλάτη ρίχνεις τα μαλλιά
φοράς κορδέλα βυσσινιά
σε λένε το κορίτσι του Μάη

Γεια σου, γεια σου, ποιος σου έκλεψε ας ξέραμε τη χαρά σου

Στη ντισκοτεκ, στην παλιά ντισκοτέκ
Είναι που λείπεις εσύ

Μια ζωή πληρώνω…

Παλεύει το ποτάμι στη θάλασσα να βγει
Και ο ποιητής γυρεύει τη μούσα του να βρει

Ααα κρουαζιέρα θα σε πάω
Γιατί σε νοιάζομαι και σ’ αγαπάω

Για δε μ’ αφήνετε ήσυχο
Άστε με ήσυχο, όλοι

Τα κορίτσια ξενυχτάνε μ’ ένα μυστικό

Greek cinema bloomed in the 60s and so did Greek music since many movies had music and dance sequences like modern musicals. It is thus no coincidence that this part of the videos starts with “Υπομονή” and “Τόσα Καλοκαίρια”, which are both from Greek movies of that time.

The music of that era, especially from the 1970s onwards, carries a lot of optimism, enthusiasm and some hippie vibes as the songs “Το Κορίτσι του Μάη”, “Ο Πιο Καλός Τραγουδιστής”, “Στη Ντισκοτεκ” and “Τα Κορίτσια Ξενυχτάνε” show. Greek music opens up to foreign influences which might also explain why this last song sounds a bit like “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”. Speaking of international music, rock music finds its way to Greece towards the late 70s – early 80s.


1990

1992
Ποτέ μου δε σου είπα δικός σου για πάντα
Γι’ αυτό πιες, σ’ ότι είχαμε ζήσει μέχρι χθες
Ήμουν στη ζωή σου κάτι σαν θρησκεία
Τώρα αν φύγεις θα ‘ναι ιεροσυλία

Δυνατά δυνατά , γίνονται όλα δυνατά τ’ αδύνατα

Τι πρέπει, τι δεν πρέπει
Στιγμή δε σκέφτηκα
Εγώ μέχρι θανάτου σε ερωτεύτηκα

Μ’ αρέσει να μη λέω πολλά
Μη λέω πολλά

Άκου μάνα, για όλους έχει ο Θεός
Κι ίσως το δικό μου άστρο να ‘ναι κάπου εκεί στο φως

Μπαμ και κάτω

The 90s was a very productive decade for the Greek music industry but unlike the previous ones, here it’s tricky to pinpoint a specific music genre! Contemporary laïkó (σύγχρονο λαϊκό) merged with pop to create laïko-pop, sung by artists like Kaiti Garbi. Pop itself peaked with artists like Sakis Rouvas, Michalis Rakintzis and Lambis Livieratos, whose songs are considered “cult” nowadays. There is also a strong entekno presence like the song “Dynata Dynata” by Eleftheria Arvanitaki that we can hear in this video and alternative music bands like Ypogia Revmata and Active Member.


2000

Από’ αγάπη υπερβολική θα πεθάνω

Και όλοι στην ντίσκο
Ντίσκο γκερλ

Και υποφέρω, υποφέρω, υποφέρω πολύ

You are the one
My number one
The only treasure I’ve ever had

Έλα που δεν μπορώ
Πλέον να αντισταθώ
Σ’ αυτό το Gucci φόρεμα που φοράς
Και στο ρυθμό που απόψε βράδυ το κορμί σου κουνάς

Κλείσε τα μάτια κι άφησε το μυαλό
Άνοιξ’ τα χέρια, πιάσε τον ουρανό
Δώσε στην τρέλα σου λιγάκι απ’ το φως

Ξέρω τι ζητάω
Τίποτα δε μένει πια να με κρατάει
Μόνο αυτό μετράει

Πιάνω φωτιά

Όταν σ’ είχα πρωτοδεί κάτι στη ζωή μου
ειλικρινά είχε παιχτεί

The 00s were marked by the success of artists like Anna Vissi, Antonis Remos, Elena Paprizou, Despina Vandi and Yorgos Mazonakis. Their songs were upbeat with catchy lyrics and on constant replay at local stations and at dance venues where you could listen to mainly Greek music, called ellinádhika. Similarly to the rest of the world, it was a big moment for boy and girl-bands like Onirama, Professional Sinnerz and the one-hit wonder Hi5.


2010

Και μου βγαίνουν πάντα λίγοι
Ή μου βγαίνουνε πολλοί

Έλεγες πως μ’ αγαπάς

Έσπασε η νύχτα δυο κομμάτια
Και έκλεισα σφιχτά τα δυο μου μάτια

Δεν ταιριάζετε στο λέω
Τόσο αντικειμενικά στο λέω
Κι άσε τις φίλες σου να λένε το αντίθετο

Ξημερώματα δίνεις δικαιώματα

Θα πετώ, θα πετώ, θα πετώ για να σε βρω
Κόντρα σ’ όλους τους ανέμους και στον άστατο ουρανό
Θα πετώ, θα πετώ,
μάτια μου για να σε δω

Interestingly enough, Greek music takes a turn for the more dramatic from 2010 onwards with every artist – from entechno to bouzouki and pop music – singing sad songs about love. Moreover, the era of artists who begin their careers as YouTube sensations arrives in Greece as well. The most well-known example would be Pantelis Pantelidis who started with home-made videos and ended up signing with important local record labels. At the same time, we have the first examples of Greek songs who reach more than 30k views online, like “Mantissa” by Marina Satti.

Nowadays, Greek music is a mix of references from rebetiko and laiko that also borrows elements from various music genres abroad.


Hope you enjoyed this variety of Greek music.
Watch the video again and read/sing along to the lyrics and read/sing along to the lyrics to practice your listening skills.
Songs are such a fun way to learn new vocabulary as well… and maybe you might be able to recognize a song or two?

And do not forget, write in the comments which song or style you like the most 🙂


If you’d like to learn more about Greek music then you might also be interested to learn more about the genre “Rebetka music”

You can start right now and discover more about Greek music by reading the eBook about Rembetiko music (in English and Greek), while listening to some beautiful songs. 
Then click on the button below and order your eBook

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