Album artwork for Death Is Bitter by Markos Vamvakaris

12 of the heaviest early tracks by the master of rebetika music. Markos Vamvakaris sings from the hash dens of the Greek ports of the 1930s - mournful, poetic, bitter music of love and long nights. Rebetika is the sound of Greece and Asia Minor clashing amid civil war, mass population exchange, and the anarchy of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Poetic, mournful, and bitter, rebetika music was born in the hash dens (tekes) of Mediterranean ports, its verses whispered in Greek prisons before spilling out to the greater populationin the 1930s, propelled in no small part by a series of remarkable recordings by Markos Vamvakaris.

Markos, as he’s known to this day, sang heady, drugged out songs of love, pain and yearning at brothels, bars and hash dens in the port of Piraeus. He arrived as a youth in 1917, working as a skinner in a tannery. By the time he picked up the bouzouki around 1924, he was fully taken by the life of the manges, the lowest rungs of the Greek social ladder. They lived by their own code and in total opposition to the rest of the population, and rebetika was their music.

On these twelve early tracks, recorded in Athens between 1932 and 1936, Markos was already a master of the bouzouki. His forceful, clean playing compliments his hoarse voice and his stunning rhythmic sensibility, the result of his years as a champion zebekiko dancer. Tracks build and spiral outward, his open-note drones and melodic lines drawing calls of ecstasy and encouragement from his fellow musicians. These recordings, incredibly rare and expertly remastered,mark the height of rebetika, the brief period between the music’s emergence on the recording scene in the early 1930s and government censorship of all lyrics starting in 1936. During the Axis occupation there was no rebetika recording, and though Markos had some hits in the years after the war, he never again attained this level. These are the dizzying, entrancing, and heaviest works of one of the great artists of the 20th century. Pressed on 160gm vinyl, includes full size 8 page booklet with historical notes, rare photos, and lyric translations.

Side A: 1. We Were Smoking One Evening 2. Hash-Smoking Mortissa 3. Bitch, You Made Me Waste Away 4. The Spinner 5. Arap Zebekiko 6. The Butcher Side B: 7. Serfo Taxim 8. Your Arabian Eyes 9. My Woman’s Jealous 10. In The Dark Last Night 11.Markos From Syros 12. Death Is Bitter

Markos Vamvakaris

Death Is Bitter

Mississippi
Album artwork for Album artwork for Death Is Bitter by Markos Vamvakaris by Death Is Bitter - Markos Vamvakaris
Album artwork for Death Is Bitter by Markos Vamvakaris
LP

£22.99

Black
Released 04/11/2022Catalogue Number

MRI133LP

Markos Vamvakaris

Death Is Bitter

Mississippi
Album artwork for Album artwork for Death Is Bitter by Markos Vamvakaris by Death Is Bitter - Markos Vamvakaris
Album artwork for Death Is Bitter by Markos Vamvakaris
LP

£22.99

Black
Released 04/11/2022Catalogue Number

MRI133LP

12 of the heaviest early tracks by the master of rebetika music. Markos Vamvakaris sings from the hash dens of the Greek ports of the 1930s - mournful, poetic, bitter music of love and long nights. Rebetika is the sound of Greece and Asia Minor clashing amid civil war, mass population exchange, and the anarchy of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Poetic, mournful, and bitter, rebetika music was born in the hash dens (tekes) of Mediterranean ports, its verses whispered in Greek prisons before spilling out to the greater populationin the 1930s, propelled in no small part by a series of remarkable recordings by Markos Vamvakaris.

Markos, as he’s known to this day, sang heady, drugged out songs of love, pain and yearning at brothels, bars and hash dens in the port of Piraeus. He arrived as a youth in 1917, working as a skinner in a tannery. By the time he picked up the bouzouki around 1924, he was fully taken by the life of the manges, the lowest rungs of the Greek social ladder. They lived by their own code and in total opposition to the rest of the population, and rebetika was their music.

On these twelve early tracks, recorded in Athens between 1932 and 1936, Markos was already a master of the bouzouki. His forceful, clean playing compliments his hoarse voice and his stunning rhythmic sensibility, the result of his years as a champion zebekiko dancer. Tracks build and spiral outward, his open-note drones and melodic lines drawing calls of ecstasy and encouragement from his fellow musicians. These recordings, incredibly rare and expertly remastered,mark the height of rebetika, the brief period between the music’s emergence on the recording scene in the early 1930s and government censorship of all lyrics starting in 1936. During the Axis occupation there was no rebetika recording, and though Markos had some hits in the years after the war, he never again attained this level. These are the dizzying, entrancing, and heaviest works of one of the great artists of the 20th century. Pressed on 160gm vinyl, includes full size 8 page booklet with historical notes, rare photos, and lyric translations.

Side A: 1. We Were Smoking One Evening 2. Hash-Smoking Mortissa 3. Bitch, You Made Me Waste Away 4. The Spinner 5. Arap Zebekiko 6. The Butcher Side B: 7. Serfo Taxim 8. Your Arabian Eyes 9. My Woman’s Jealous 10. In The Dark Last Night 11.Markos From Syros 12. Death Is Bitter