Japanese musician Tookaya to perform at Rebetiko Festival in Melbourne


Atsushi Tookaya playing the bouzouki. Photo from YouTube

Atsushi Tookaya, the Japanese national with a passion for Greek rebetiko music, will perform at the Rebetiko Festival in Melbourne on March 23.

Rebetiko, also known as ‘Greek blues’, is an improvisational urban music that beautifully blends Byzantine, Ottoman, Greek, Sephardic, Jazz, and other forms of regional and world music.

Grecian Delight supports Greece

Rebetiko, both in its musical and cultural dimension, is linked to the songs and dances that spread among the Greek urban working populations of Smyrna (today the city of Izmir in Turkey) and Constantinople (today Istanbul) . The rebetiko sound began to take its unique form in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

After the great fire of Smyrna and the catastrophe of Anatolian Hellenism, rebetiko music found its new home in the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki, where Greek refugees had taken new roots.

In its unique way of musical expression, rebetiko pays homage to the history of these great peoples, while reflecting a more contemporary and modern Greece, with new and diverse musical influences.

These are the elements that amazed Japanese musician Tookaya, who, along with many other artists, will perform on March 23 at the Rebetiko Festival. The event is organized and supported by the Greek Center for Contemporary Culture, the Greek Festival of Sydney, the Victorian Multicultural Commission and other groups.

In addition to Tookaya, the audience will have the chance to enjoy the performances of Rebetien, the members of the “Melbourne Rebetiko Ensemble” with Aggie Gioftsidis,
George Doukas and the D string.

The groups “Mandolins of Smyrne”, “Rebetiko Trio”, “Alphington Grammar Band” and the Melbourne Bouzouki Orchestra with Dean Georgalas will also perform at the Festival.

Performances will begin at 3 p.m. local time on Saturday, March 23 at the Melbourne Recital Center in Southbank, Victoria.


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