Ethno Musicological Analysis of Music of a Greek Sub-Culture
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Published: Fri, 02 Mar 2018
Rembetika is the Greek urban song that emerged during the 20th century. The aim of this dissertation will be to approach, explore, evaluate, and compare rembetika as cultural art expression and as heritage art expression. It will explore the roots of rembetika, the historical and political forces that influenced its development, and the changes that have transformed it into what it has become today.
It will seek to address the question of how this Greek musical tradition managed to develop and survive on Turkish grounds. In addition, it will study the role that rembetika has played in Greek society, and explore what made this form such an important vehicle of expression for the people who lived during the years in which it flourished the most (the period after the Asia Minor Catastrophe).Finally, it will discuss the ethnomusicological aspects of rembetika by comparing it with the music of similar subcultures, such as fado,tango, and flamenco.
Researching rembetika has presented special challenges, as its acceptance into society is relatively recent. In addition, its existence as a legitimate subject of academic investigation is relatively new.
The work of Gail Holst (later Holst-War haft) was tremendously helpful in researching rembetika, as her work spans a number of years. Her earlier writings are enthusiastic and passionate, although unfortunately much of the information she presented was not quite accurate, as the sources she relied on did not have the correct information to begin with. She discusses this in the preface to third edition Road to rembetika Her later writings, particularly the essay’Rebetika” The Double-descended Deep Songs of Greece’, are written in a much more scholarly fashion, and are carefully researched and documented. In general, her work was an invaluable resource.
Elias Petropoulos’ book, Songs of the Greek Underworld: The Rebetika Tradition, was another helpful source. Petropoulos’ first-hand knowledge of the world of rembetika gives him an insider’s perspective that is difficult to find in the literature that is available on this subject. As a source, however, it tends to be uneven, as the mythology of the rebates is intermingled with his notes on musical modes and lyrical style.
In addition, some of the information is contradictory. For example, although Petropoulos asserts that the practitioners of rembetika were basically law-abiding people, he spends a great deal of time talking about their prison hierarchies. He does this without explaining why these law-abiding people would spend so much time behind bars.
Of course, over the course of doing this research, one is able to devise theories to explain this contradiction. As a marginalized people and members of a subculture, practitioners of rembetika were often vulnerable to authorities. This would certainly explain the fact that they spent a great deal of time in prison, since they would be persecuted for this and for their rebellious attitudes as well. In addition, the excessive use of hashish, although not at the time illegal, may have been a factor that would contribute to this. At any rate, the lingo of prison figures prominently in many of the rembetika lyrics, and the lyrics are so closely associated with the actual lives of the rebates that the merging of myth and man seems inevitable.
Petropoulos also points out that lack of availability of rembetika records makes a thorough ethnomusicological analysis of rembetika as a musical form very difficult. He asserts that in order for there to be an initial compilation and transcription of songs, more resources would have to be made available. Petropoulos also states that as of 2000,there were no moves in this direction, although he points out that he has deposited all of his rembetika archives in the Gennady’s Library in Athens.
Recent journal publications on the social and cultural aspects of rembetika, though not as plentiful as those available on more mainstream musical cultures, are generally well-researched and carefully documented. The work of Sand, Ste ingress, and Tunis were all very insightful. There is every indication that this is a growing field of study that merits further research.
The music of a society is said to be a reflection of that society, and this is true of sub-cultures of a society as well as it is of the mainstream of which they are a part. As this paper intends to demonstrate, rembetika reflects the subculture of the people who shaped and developed it. Although it has become part of the modern culture not just of Greece, but also of the diaspora – and, as Tunis has suggested, the wider multicultural world – traditional rembetika is not truly reflection of today’s society. It reflects back on an early time. Thus, in a sociological cultural framework, though rembetika still exists, the rembetika we know today is a reflection of a marginalized group or subculture that no longer truly exists.
Rembetika, as defined earlier, is the Greek urban song that emerged during the 20th century. It is closely identified with a Greek subculture that developed after the incident known as the Asia Minor Catastrophe – an event that changed the course of Greek history and affected the lives of the millions of refugees and immigrants who were forced to leave their homeland.
Section 2 of this paper, ‘The History of Rembetika’, discusses rembetika music by placing it in a historical framework This is accomplished by discussing the political and social atmosphere in which the musical form developed, as well as the events which shaped and directed its future. Also addressed are current theories of the derivation of the word ‘rembetika’. The section concludes with discussion of the language used to analyse rembetika.
Section 3 analyses the components of rembetika music form itself: the lyrics, the music, and the dances. Although the three together comprise what is known as ‘rembetika’, by taking them apart for individual analysis, one is better able to understand the essence of the music form. The lyrics of all the songs, from the love songs to those that praise the freedom of escape through hashish, express a pervasive sense of loss. These are the ‘authentic’ songs of rembetika – these are not the lyrics that were written after rembetika’s status had been elevated to respectable and eventually popular, levels.
In terms of music, the melodies of rembetika conform to the modal types of Greek folk music as well as Turkish folk music, with strong ties to Byzantine church music. In addition, as Petropoulos points out, they have been influenced by a number of other sources which were brought to Greece by the gypsies. Therefore, the music also shows traces of influence from Albania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, southern Russia, the Caucasus, Syria, Egypt, and India (Petropoulos, 2000: 75).
In Section 4, rembetika is analysed within a sociocultural framework. First is a discussion of the social acceptance of rembetika as it has waxed and waned over the years. Following this is a look at rembetika within an ethnomusicological framework in which it is compared to the music of similar subcultures, such as flamenco and fade.
The ways in which rembetika music reflects Greek society are not simpleton determine, given the complex nature of its history. How, then, does one attempt to analyse rembetika music in order to understand it in a cultural sociological framework?
Ste ingress offers a framework for doing this. He bases his theories on years of research on ethnic music styles associated with subcultures, including rembetika, as well as tango and flamenco styles. Using the data amassed from these studies, he offers a set of criteria by which each of these musical styles can be assessed. He also points out that traditional modes of study do not work for these non-traditional cultural forms, asserting that ‘ethnocentric, nationalist or essentialist approaches to ethnic music-styles afford little insight into the social and cultural significance of postmodern popular art'(Ste ingress, 1998: 151).
2.. History of Rembetika
This section discusses the history of rembetika music, placing it in ahistorical framework by discussing the political and social atmosphere in which the art form developed, as well as the events which shaped and directed its future. It also addresses current theories of the derivation of the word ‘rembetika’, and presents a discussion of the language used to analyse rembetika.
2.1.1 The Asia Minor ‘Catastrophe’
Discussing the tragedy of the Greek-Turkey conflict, Holst-Warhaftwrites: ‘so symbolic of tragedy is the defeat of the Greek forces in Asia Minor and the fire that destroyed Christian Smyrna in 1922, that it is simply referred to as ‘The Catastrophe’ (Holst-War haft, 1972:114). Indeed, ‘The Catastrophe’ was an event that forever altered the character of the newly independent country. In order to truly understand rembetika, one must understand the events that affected its development. The Catastrophe is one of them.
According to the treaty of Sevres, Greece was accorded the right to occupy Smyrna. Despite the obvious difficulties this presented, the Greek army forged ahead and tried to do this in 1919 with the support of its allies. The apparent goal was to gain a foothold in Asia Minor; however, there was more involved than obtaining land to the Greeks. It was also ‘a symbol, for most Greeks, of the cherished dream of recovering some part of their former Byzantine glory’ (Holst-Warshaft,1972: 114).
Though initially things went well, the Greeks decided to march inland in an attempt to take Ankara. During this period, the French backed out, and eventually the Greeks were left to fend for themselves. The Greek army was forced to flee, joined by the Greek population of Smyrna – Greeks who were unaccustomed to living in Greece. Thousands were killed in The Catastrophe, and the city of Smyrna was burned to the ground by the Turks (Barrett. Holst-War shaft, 1972). The outcome of the Turku-Greek war resulted in an international conference in which it was decided that a compulsory exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey should be put into place. This exchange was based solely on religion. Actual nationality was not considered at all. Hence, people who were Orthodox were considered Greek, and people who were Muslim were considered Turkish (Holst, 1983: 25).
‘The effects of the Asia Minor Catastrophe were devastating and far-reaching. The refugees who had fled from Asia Minor were now penniless; in addition, they had left without a chance to take any belongings, so they were in a desperate state. Although they came from far more cultured, affluent land, when they relocated in Greece they were forced to live in poverty as inferior individuals. The huge and sudden increase in population led to the growth of huge shantytowns on the outskirts of Piraeus and Athens. It also created for the first time, as Holst-War shaft writes ‘a sizable proletarian audience for songs that dealt with themes of poverty, nostalgia, hashish smoking, and low life. The expulsion of Asia Minor Christians also became enshrined in Greek popular culture as a metaphor for loss and grief'(Holst-War haft, 1998: 115).
The refugees were literally living on the edge of Greek society. According to Holst, ‘it was not surprising that many of them joined there bêtes or mange’s in their loosely organised sub-culture, or were attracted to the hashish-smoking takes, to which they were accustomed in Turkey’ (Holst, 1983: 27).
This passage from Barrett explains the plight of the refugees with poignancy:
Imagine yourself as a refugee. In Asia Minor you may have had business, a nice home, money, friends, family. But in the slums of Athens all you had was whatever you could carry with you out of Turkey, and your shattered dreams. You went from being in the middle class toeing underground in a foreign country that did not particularly want you. Rembetika was the music of these outcasts. The lyrics reflected their surroundings, poverty, pain, drug addiction, police oppression, prison, unrequited love, betrayal and hashish. It was the Greek urban blues. (Barrett, 2005: nap.)
As stated above, the refugees hailed from a far more cosmopolitan environment. This, naturally, included the musicians, who brought with them a sophisticated level of skill. According to Holst-War haft, the influx of refugees had an impact on the music, and there was a revival of the oriental, or what would come to be called ‘Smyrna-style’ music.
According to Emery, ‘the effect of these forced migrations was to shatter the previously existing social and economic structures of Greece. Classes and hierarchies that had existed in the diaspora communities were turned topsy-turvy in the bedlam of flight and the ensuing struggle for survival’ (2000: 19). Furthermore, the refuges were plagued by unemployment, since the sudden population explosion made employment opportunities scarce. Finally, the issue of racism created yet another set of pressures for the newly transfixed refugees(Emery, 2000: 19).
‘So the violent break-up of traditional social structures was accompanied by another violence, in the ways in which social spaces and living conditions were organized for the newly arrived migrants’, writes Emery (2000: 19). Formerly productive members of a more sophisticated society, the refugees were now living in squalid conditions, suddenly impoverished and traumatised. Considering these conditions, the only options open to them for survival were prostitution and crime. If they sought their escape through hashish, it seems harsh to condemn. The fact they also sought escape through their music is something later generations can be thankful for.
2.1.2 The Language of ‘Rembetika’
Holst addresses the issue of spelling in her Preface to the third edition of Road to Rembetika, noting that she is frequently asked why her transliteration of the Greek word ρεμπÎτικα is ‘rembetika’, instead of the frequently-used ‘rebetika’ that tends to be favoured by foreign scholars and researchers. Explaining that phonetically, the English ‘b’is at best a close approximation of the Greek ‘μπ’, she asserts that there is a strong case for transliterating both ‘rembetika’ and’zembekiko’ with an ‘m’. That is the spelling that is used in this paper, except when quoting the material of others who use different variations. In those cases, the spelling of the original document prevails.
In his introduction to Petropoulos’ book, Emery offers a number of possible derivations for the word term ‘rembetika’, which is alternately spelled ‘rembetiko’, ‘rebetiko’ and ‘rebetika’. ‘Like all subculture music’s, rebetika poses difficulties of classification ‘writes Emery, noting that ‘individual rebetologists each have their own explanations’ (2000: 16). It is his estimation that the most likely derivation is from the old Turkish word rebut, which means ‘of the gutter’. Other possibilities offered by Emery include the term rebetasker, which is what the Turks used to refer to irregular troops, or people who defied authority. The Serbian word reebok, or ‘rebel’, is another possible source, as is the Hebrew rab, which is the root word for ‘rabbi’ (2000: 16). Holst concurs that there is no certainty about the beginnings of the word. She explains that it is not known where it comes from, or when it was first used. ‘What is no longer in doubt’, she asserts, ‘is that the type of song usually termed rembetiko derives from or has its origins in an oral tradition where improvisation played an important part in both the music and the lyrics of the songs'(Holst, 1983: 2).
Other words that are part of the language of rembetika include rebates(plural rebates; also rebates with the plural rebates). This word refers to the original practitioners of rembetika – the men who actually lived the life and formed part of the sub-culture in which rembetika developed. The word mangas (plural mange’s) is close in definition; it also refers to members of the sub-culture, but they may or may not have been directly involved with rembetika. In addition, mange’s were generally part of the underworld (Holst, 1983: 13–14).
2.1.3. The Figure of the Rebates
Petropoulos asserts that ‘you cannot talk about the rebetiko song without first talking about the rebates’ (2000: 42). Though often associated with the underworld, this classification is not fair, and it is often untrue. Petropoulos makes clear the distinction that members of the underworld are usually considered as acting outside the law, while rebates, for the most part, existed with it. Here is his colourful description of the rebates: ‘the rebates was careful to safeguard his personal freedom. The rebates detested bourgeois ways, consequently he did not marry. The rebates was a fighter. The rebates smoked hashish. The rebates knew how to use a knife. The rebates spoke in slang’ (2000:43).
Petropoulos goes into great detail about the rebates. As for physical appearance, the rebates was usually slender with ‘no sign of a belly’. His hair was often greased with brilliantine, and he would probably sport a single curl that would fall over his eyes. He would usually have a moustache, which would also be waxed. Use of body paint was common, as were tattoos. There was usually a specific tattoo on the back of one of his hands. He would walk ‘with a lop-sided, rolling gait, his left shoulder raised, and moving only his right hand. The look would be heavy and vaguely threatening, the voice hoarse from much smoking of hashish’ (Petropoulos, 2000: 49).
As for clothing, the rebates seem to have been very particular. Perhaps this was a way in which these displaced individuals, torn from their homes without possessions, were able to re-invent their identities in this strange new land. It may also have been a secret form of communication within the closed group. For example, they would wear black republican hat with a wide black band on days of mourning – and also on days when enemies were to be killed.
The rest of their outfit included a black jacket with ivory buttons that were never buttoned up, as well as a peculiar type of trousers. According to Petropoulos, ‘the trouser-bottoms were so narrow that the rebates used to say that they needed a shoe horn to get them on, and had to soap their heels to get them off’, although he does not offer an explanation for this (2000:51). The trouser legs were also turned up at the cuff. This was done to reveal a patch of red velvet that was sewn on the inside, ‘precisely in the style of the kapadaides of Istanbul’ (Petropoulos, 2000: 51). This, again, suggests a sense of sartorial solidarity.
Petropoulos also states that the rebates had a fondness for a certain type of yellow shirt and would also wear a red tie known as achasapikes, which resembled a bow tie. However, at the start of the twentieth century, they stopped wearing ties, considering them too bourgeois. They continued to wear a sort of cummerbund, however. This was called a sonar Although it seems that this item of clothing would also have been rejected as bourgeois, Petropoulos explains that, on the contrary, it was usually arranged with great care, since it was both a way of transmitting messages as well as a convenient hiding place for weapons. For example, one end of the sonar would hang down, and ‘to tread on the trailing end of a tough’s sonar was equivalent to laying down a challenge’ (Petropoulos, 2000: 51). The sonar was also, according to Petropoulos, the last remaining vestige of oriental influence on the rebates’ clothing.
According to Petropoulos, the rebates would carry a range of weapons, although they ‘preferred the silence of double-edged knives and stilettos’ (2000: 53). They also had standard ways of both humiliating their enemies and killing them. To humiliate an enemy, they would chase him down and slash his buttocks. If the intention was to kill, they would use a double-bladed knife to stab the victim in the stomach. According to legend, the rebates would then pull the knife out and lick the dripping blood. Alternate legends indicate that the rebates would either bend over the dead man’s body and do one of two things: either bite of an ear, or suck out an eye (Petropoulos, 2000: 53).
Their other weapon of choice was the cudgel: ‘the rebates would dangle their cudgels ostentatiously from the left arm. Transferring the cudgel to the right hand indicated the threat of a beating to come'(Petropoulos, 2000: 54). As might be expected, most of the fighting and killing took place in the evening hours. The format of the fight itself is described by Petropoulos as ‘Homeric’. The fight would inevitably begin with ‘an outpouring of oaths’, and it was considered unacceptable to kill someone without warning. In addition, ‘the adversaries would wrap their jackets round their left arms, providing them with a kind of shield, somewhat like a medieval sword fight. . . No third party had the right to separate two feuding mange’s who ha drawn their knives'(Petropoulos, 2000: 54).
Rebetes who were in prison had a very clear hierarchy. The leader was known as a tsiríbashi: ‘the tsiríbashi who wanted to assert his authority would hold his knife high and force his fellow prisoners to pass beneath it’. As a show of bravado, the mangas would use their knives to eat, shunning all forms of cutlery. In addition – not unlike today – anyone in prison who did not obey the tacit code might end up getting knifed himself.
Although Petropoulos asserts that the rebates were basically law-abiding people, he spends a great deal of time talking about their prison hierarchies. He does this without explaining why these law-abiding people would spend so much time behind bars. Perhaps their existence as a marginalized people made them often vulnerable to authorities, and consequently, they spent a great deal of time imprison because of this persecution. Although this may be true, the excessive use of hashish, although not at the time illegal, may have been a factor that would contribute to this. At any rate, the lingo of prison figures prominently in many of the rembetika lyrics, and the lyrics are so closely associated with the actual lives of the rebates that the merging of myth and man seems inevitable.
3. The Essence of Rembetika
This section analyses the components of rembetika: the lyrics, the music, and the dances. Although the three together comprise what is known as ‘rembetika’, by taking them apart for individual analysis, one is better able to understand the essence of the music form.
3.1.1 The Lyrics
According to Petropoulos, ‘some researchers labour to discover ideas in rembetiko song’, and he is highly dismissive of this: ‘the rebetes organized their life in their own particular way, and that is all there is to be said on the matter’ (Petropoulos, 2000: 68). He does present his own theories on the lyrics of rembetika music, however, and because he is so intimately familiar with the modes and style of rembetika, his insights may be considered rare and valuable.
For starters, he breaks rembetika music lyrics down into a series of twenty categories, which are listed below:
1. Love songs
2. Songs of parting and separation
3. Melancholic and plaintive songs; songs of remonstrance
4. Songs of the underworld
5. Hashish-smokers’ songs
6. Prison songs
7. Songs about poverty
8. Songs about work and working-class life
9. Songs about TB and ill health
10. Songs about Charon and Hades
11. Songs about mothers
12. Songs about exile and foreign parts
13. Songs about dreams; orientalist songs; exotic songs
14. Tavern songs
15. Songs which sing of small sorrows
16. Satirical songs; songs which give advice about life; songs which threaten violence and retribution
17. Songs which are depictions drawn from life
18. Songs which sing the praises of various cities and their inhabitants
19. Songs of army life and war
20. Songs composed for specific individuals (Petropoulos, 2000: 69).
Petropoulos also points out that many songs can easily fit under more than one of these categories, and sometimes several at a time.
Of the categories above, Petropoulos states that approximately half of the recorded rembetika songs he knows of fall under two major categories. The first of these is love, including parting or separation. The other theme has to do with elements of the rebetic subculture, including the underworld, hashish, prison, tavern, and fights. ‘The rebates never ventured to attack the established institutions of society’, he asserts; ‘the police remained the only real target for their aggression’ (Petropoulos, 2000: 70).
As for the style, he explains that the songs were written ‘in a simple style, with a fair smattering of argot’ (Petropoulos, 2000: 68). It is Petropoulos’ contention that since in Greece ‘official’ folklore studies are considered the domain of academic professionals ‘who lookdown on both rebetika and slang’, it is highly unlikely that a thorough understanding of rebetika lyrics will not be available in an academic format. He also asserts that since many of the important rembetika practitioners have long since died, their memories and experiences are no longer available to be recorded (Petropoulos, 2000: 70).
Because the rebates of this time lived in poverty and squalor, there are a large number of songs that deal with issues of poor health. Most of these, according to Petropoulos, focus on tuberculosis, which was responsible for taking many lives during this time. The high death rate among this subculture also led to quite a few songs about the afterlife, with ‘images of Charon carrying off the dead and taking them down into the underworld, into Hades’ (Petropoulos, 2000: 71).
There are also a considerable number of songs in praise of maternal figures, as well as an absence of songs about fathers. According to Petropoulos, the figure of the mother was very important to their betas, and if there was a hierarchy of women figures, the maternal figure would always be on top: ‘where the mother appears simultaneously with the singer’s beloved, precedence always goes to the mother'(Petropoulos, 2000: 71).
Here again, Petropoulos is dismissive of professional analysis of the lyrics: ‘I shall avoid psychoanalytic clichés and say simply that we don’t know the explanation for the rebates’ one-sided fixation on his mother’ (2000: 71).
Underlying all the songs, from the love songs to those that praise the freedom of escape through hashish, is a pervasive sense of loss of this disenfranchised group. These are the ‘authentic’ songs of rembetika – these are not the lyrics that were written after rembetika’s status had been elevated to respectable, and eventually popular, levels. According to Holst,
As the lyrics of the rembetika songs and the descriptions of the rembetika musicians depict them, the mange’s were far from being the idealistic, daring young braves a number of modern Greek writers would have us believe. They were, however, an extremely interesting sub-culture, whose beliefs and habits remain in a rare state of preservation thanks to the words of the rembetika songs’ (1983: 45).
Down in Lemonadhika,
there was a fuss going on.
Thomas was caught, together with Elias.
don’t go making a fuss,
because you’ll come off worst,
with a load of bother.
Down in Lemonadhika,
there was a fuss going on.
They caught two pickpockets,
and they acted innocent.
They stuck them in handcuffs
and took them off to prison,
and if they don’t find the loot
they’ll get beaten up.
Mr. Policeman, don’t beat us,
because you know
that this is our work,
so don’t come looking for a kick-back.
We steal purses,
we knock off wallets,
so the prison gates get to see us
Death doesn’t scare us,
only hunger does,
that’s why we steal wallets
and lead the good life. [By V. Papazoglou]
(in Petropoulos, 2000: 141)
This song was selected because its lyrics strongly suggest the attitude of the rebates of this time. According to Holst, much of the anger and defiance exhibited by the mange’s was directed towards the police. She explains that they do not actually protest the way they are treated, although it seems they often had the right to. Petropoulos concurs here, asserting that when the lyrics of the rebates seem to be in the form of protest, the focus is ‘vague and non-directed’ (Petropoulos,2000: 70). ‘It was not so much that they protest their ill-treatment’, asserts Holst, stating that ‘in fact they obviously feel some pride in having “eaten wood” (been beaten up) and served their time in jail; it is rather a refusal to change their way of life or to be submissive before the police, or to lose their sense of humour’ (1983: 45).
The sense of futility and helplessness in the second verse, in the advice to Thomas: ‘don’t go making a fuss/because you’ll come off worst/with a load of bother’. This is clearly the attitude of a segment of society that knows better than to challenge authority. They are aware of their low status in the social hierarchy and know better than to assert themselves in any way, for the consequences will be ‘a load of bother’.
The lyrics of the fourth and fifth verses clearly indicate familiarity with what appears to be a corrupt police force. They know the routine: first their compatriots will be restrained with handcuffs, and then they will be further restrained – locked away in prison. Furthermore, they know that if the police do not get their ‘percentage ‘of the stolen goods, that the perpetrators will receive, in addition to everything else, a beating.
The progression of thought from verses five through seven is also interesting to note. In verse five, the alleged pickpockets demonstrate perceptive knowledge of criminal life: they know a beating is to follow, and they try to prevent it. In verse six, they admit that they are used to this routine: ‘the prison gates get to see us/pretty regularly’. By the final verse, they seem resigned and tough: ‘Death doesn’t scare us/only hunger does/that’s why we steal wallets/and lead the good life’. The last line is feisty and full of bravado, the kind of bravado that seems to have been the rebates’ defining trait.
The Little Hanoumakia
At Panayas on the beach, there was a little teké,
And I went there every morning to drive away my blues.
Two pretty little hanoumakia, stoned the poor things,
I found them there one morning, sitting on the sand.
‘Come close my dervish and sit near me
And I’ll pour out the blues from my heart.
Take your baklama and entertain us for a while,
And light up a joint and smoke with us’.
‘First light up my narghilé, so I can smoke and turn on,
And later, hanoumakia, I’ll take my baklama’.
If you want to get high on the narghilé with fine Turkish hashish,
It’s Uncle Yanni’s teké, down in Pasalimani.
These lyrics contain words that, as Petropoulos stated above, need tube explained if one is to grasp the gist of the song. Holst explains that the word hanuman, as well as its diminutive form hanoumaki (pluralhanoumakia) is a word with different meanings in Turkish and in Greek.Considering the mixed backgrounds of the rebates, this means that itwas probably used – and interpreted – in different ways by differentsingers and listeners.
In Turkish, the word basically means ‘female’ or’lady’. However, in Greek, the ‘lady’ in question takes on verydefinite characteristics. The Greek usage usual
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