Thursday, October 15, 2009
Hellenic Hits: Volume 2
Recently received: Hellenic Hits, Volume Two: Classic Greek Love Songs 1920s-1940s, from The Zambaras Family Record Collection (cd included) $20.
If I remember correctly, Eleni and I first met the musician Tom (Diz) Carroll in Tacoma, Washington in the summer of 1993; at that time he had just finished a stint as an elementary school music teacher in the University Place School District and was also an acquaintance of my brother Chris’s wife Kalitsa, who was working as a cook in the school’s cafeteria. He was and still is an avid fan and proponent of traditional music from the Balkans, especially of demotic and rebetika songs from Greece, so when we first met, we had a lot in common to talk about. My brother was the custodian of our family’s collection of vintage 78 rpm records which were stored in the attic of his house; unfortunately, quite a few of these rare discs (recorded in the US circa 1905-1940) never lived long enough to be preserved on celluloid, having been discovered and turned into flying saucers by my nephew in his high-spirited youth. The ones that had survived the blitzkrieg were lovingly recorded on twelve 90-minute tapes by Diz and given to Eleni and me as a present. After returning to Greece, we started a correspondence with Diz and since then, he has tried to visit us every two years—usually around Easter—which is The Time to visit Greece! After having re-mastered all the tapes onto 12 CDs and giving us two copies of each, he suggested we collaborate with him and produce a series of songbooks based on our family’s collection; the first volume, Hellenic Hits: Songs of Exile, came out in 2007. More information on these songbooks and on Diz’s group, The Makedonians, can be found here—ohpa, manges!