Bouzouki Blues

[an error occurred while processing this directive] It seems hard to imagine, but, despite all the great food, golden beaches and warm sunshine, even Greeks get the blues. And they have the music to match the mood: rembetika.

A mix of Western and Eastern influences, rembetika first emerged from the bars and cafés of 1920s Piraeus, Athens' ancient port and onetime home to refugees from Turkey and other parts of Asia Minor. The style — with its gravel-voiced singers and the metallic twang of the bouzouki, a kind of Greek lute — became the sound of the urban underclass, with sharp, poignant...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!