various artists,
The Rough Guide
to the Music of Greece

(World Music Network, 2001)

After having been kept awake all night several evenings in Athens by some terribly "rough" bouzouki music last year, I began listening to this "rough guide" to the music of Greece with some trepidation. However, instead of painful sounds, the melodies that arose were delightfully pleasant and quite soothing.

Known for its mid-priced, outstanding collections of world music, World Music Network continues its golden tradition with its musical introduction to Greece. The Rough Guide to the Music of Greece presents a rich and satisfying tapestry of Greek folk music woven from the threads of an impressive variety of Greek musical instruments and voices. Artists featured include George Koros, Anna Karabeshi, Eleftheria Arvanitaki, Kostas Nouros, Manolis Angelopoulos, Glykeria, Nikos Papzoglou, Stelios Kazantzidis, Dionisis Savopoulos, Sotiria Bellou, Nikos Xylouris, Petro-Loukas Chalkias, Kristi Stassinpoulou, Banda Tis Florinas, Himerini Kolimvites, Mikis Theodorakis, Nikos Xidakis and Savina Yannatou -- all modern folksingers singing Rembetika (popular music of the working classes in World War II) or folksongs with origins and influences that go as far back as the Greek Mysteries.

While I do not have an extensive background in Greek folk music, singers, musical instruments and/or styles, I am certainly a qualified listener of many types of music. In that regard, I must note this album's strength lies in the fact that you do not have to be a die-hard lover of Greek folk music to enjoy it. Each and every well-chosen selection of musical art on this disc appears on successful "easy-listening" albums released by the artists, resulting in an exquisite collection of the best this region has to offer.

Having spent several weeks in Greece myself, I feel this lively compilation captures the very heart and soul of Greece -- an ancient land of exotic passions and remarkable culture. The Rough Guide to the Music of Greece isn't rough at all -- it smoothly opens the door for further discovery of Greek folk artists and songs, as well as world music in general.

[ by Lynne Remick ]
Rambles: 1 December 2001

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