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Ensemble plays outlaw blues, Greek style

September 7, 2016 9:57 A.M.

They play the blues, Greek style.

Named for the distinct genre of Greek music they bring to the stage, the Rembetika Hipsters perform at St. Andrew’s on the Square Saturday, Sept. 24.

While their sound is Mediterannean, their origins are a little closer to home — Calgary. The band has been around for 20 years — beginning as a duo of Nick Diochnos on bouzouki and Allen Baekeland on guitar — performing at music festivals, concert halls and more intimate venues such as St. Andrew’s. They have evolved into a seven-piece ensemble that includes Jonathan Lewis on violin and baglama, Giorgos Iosifelis on bass, Lincoln Frey on clarinets, Jon May on percussion and Racheal Cogan on recorders.

Rembetika Hipsters’ repertoire encompasses a variety of Greek folk genres, but rebetiko (or rembetiko) music is their foundation. Early in the 20th century, Rebetiko music emerged as a counterpoint to traditional Greek music while remaining relatively unknown outside of Greece. 

The word “rebetiko” is derived from a Turkish word meaning rebellious or disobedient. Compared with “outlaw blues,” it touches on themes such as exile, loss of family, bohemian ways, lost love, imprisonment and death. Songs were banned for being anti-authoritarian.

Presented by Entertainment Management Associates, the concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available from Kamloops Live Box Office.

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