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Album Review

Bed of Pain [coll] – [Mississippi Records]

lombard   9/18/2012   12-inch, International

This is an incredible collection of rare Greek folk music recorded between the 1930s and 1950s. As the title, Bed of Pain, implies, there are many sad songs that are reflective of the upheaval (war, violence, urban crowding, poverty) within Greece at the beginning of the 20th century. This is a collection of music featuring the bouzouki (a plucked string instrument similar to a mandolin), which was “the instrument of prison and the hash-den” in the early part of the century, yet was more mainstream by the 1950s, eventually becoming the national instrument of Greece. Featuring some prominent singers from rembetika (music of the greek underworld), it’s a sorrowful collection that will transport you back to Greek port side towns, full of themes of prison, intoxication, pain, heartbreak, and witchcraft.

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