Album Review

Women of Rembetica [coll] – [Rounder Records]

Thurston Hunger   1/13/2006   CD, International

Snapshots of intoxication from Greece and the first half of
the 1900’s. Intoxication by song, dance or drug; pumped into
women and flowing out of their souls though their pipes.
Flowing slow and sweet like ouzo. Underground Greece had
tunnels to Asiatic cultures it appears, definite Turkish
and Iranian influences give these tracks a sway, a powerful
pining. Just listen to Marika “Politissa” belt out her
“Secret Pain.” “Cool Gal” if recorded with a slightly higher
(or lower) fidelity today would be a huge psy-folk hit. Many
of the tracks have weeping violin moving in the shadows of
the vocalist, edging in and out of tune, and multiplying the
passion of those songs. Not all the wild women of Greece
were gathered up by the gods, some of them fled in gypsy
packs, behind brothels and smoothly as smoke through the
backrooms of the opium dens. These mighty meraklous achieve
immortality without any deus ex machina nor Zeus in bullish
form, but via their songs. This disc is their oracle, viva
the women of rembetika!!

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