Markos Vamvakaris (1905-72) was one of the leading composers in the genre of rebetika, urban low-life music which flourished in the early decades of the 20th century, particularly after the Greek-Turkish war of 1919-22. Born on the Aegean island of Syros, Vamvakaris worked in the Piraeus area in the 1930s and 40s, singing and playing the bouzouki (the Greek long-necked lute) in clubs; later his music became more fashionable and he played in smarter clubs in Athens. His Piraeus Quartet was the prototype for later rebetiko ensembles. He faded from sight thereafter, partly for political reasons, but with the revival of rebetika in the 1970s his compositions came to be regarded as classics of the genre and he was dubbed the father of rebetika

He is commemorated in a house on his native island. The Vamvakaris Museum was inaugurated in 1986, in the square named after him at Ano Syros, near the island’s capital, Hermoupolis. It consists of a hall and a single room; the exhibits, provided by his family, include various personal items, photographs and recordings.


Leave a Reply

seventy two + = seventy eight