Rebetiko Festival “Syra of Markos Vamvakaris” raise the curtain for the fifth consecutive year, being an established statute of cultural events on the island that aims to preserve and promote local folk music tradition “rebetiko”, as a key element of our cultural heritage. Rebetiko was born in harsh times and is an expression of these tough time and difficulties, with very specific aesthetics and style, along with the strength, hope and anticipation of better times. Today, despite the difficulties and unprecedented situations we experience, our folk music remains more relevant and more alive than ever.
Symbolic but also of substantial importance, is the participation of Cyprus that performs on the first day of the Festival with Petros Kouloumis, a performer and musician with a special route of study and experience in Folk and Traditional Music, with great collaborations and partnerships with renowned artists. Together with 3 soloists and excellent musicians, he presents songs of some of the most important delegates of the “Smyrnaean School”, like Panagiotis Tountas, Dimitris Semsi (Salonikiou) Giannis Dragatsis, among others.
The co-capital city of Greece, Thessaloniki is honoured, participating with two bands, “Yarem” and “Cherchez la femme”, while on the second day, Cyprus and Karditsa join with the duet of Despina Psatha and Vangelis Petriniotis. These three bands, consisting of young members, will give with their performance, a fresh air of optimism that we so much need. A particularly pleasant surprise for the friends of the Festival and folk music, will be the participation of Stelios Galanos and his collaborators. A performer with solid voice and a distinctive expression, he is particularly beloved and known for his recording activity and his collaborations with well-known composers. Finally, on the fourth day of the Festival, the skilful “bouzouki” master Giannis Papavassiliou along with Giannis Niarchos, one of the most important performers of the genre, Semeli Papavassiliou and their band, will close the Festival with a genuine folk night in Tarsana, Syros.
Of particular interest is the lecture/seminar on “Scales, Sound & Makam in Rebetiko - Relationships and Differences”, by Kyriakos Gouventas, with live examples of rebetiko songs. Αfter a long time/decades, Rebetiko steadily gains the recognition it so deserves, having been registered in the National Index of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2015, in the representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in UNESCO in 2017, while the Festival “Syra of Markos Vamvakaris” has been Indexed in the European Festivals directory festivalfinder.eu and has received the EFFE LABEL. The Festival is co-organized by the Municipality of Syros-Ermoupolis and the Cycladic Development Company (KETAN) AMKE of the Cyclades Chamber.