Rembetika Hipsters

Rembetika Hipsters

BandWorldAcoustic

The Rembetika Hipsters are a nationally-acclaimed Greek music group from Calgary. Their repertoire includes authentic Greek rembetika (the roots of modern Greek music), laika, dimotika and original songs in Greek, Balkan and Middle-Eastern styles.

Biography

Rembetika: The music of the dispossessed and downtrodden Byzantine Greek refugees expelled from Asia Minor following the First World War and the
establishment of the Turkish republic.
Manges: One who plays the music and lives the life of a Rembetika musician, usually characterized as a natty dresser. A dude, a Hipster.

The were formed in 1996 when Nick Diochnos (bouzouki and vocals) and Allen Baekeland (guitar and vocals) decided to showcase their love of Greek music, and specifically the genre of Rembetika with it’s songs of poverty, dislocation, heartache and hashish.
Fate and a plate of olives eventually led the newly formed Hipsters to percussionist Ben Johnson, a non-Greek with a refined taste for Mediterranean cuisine who loves to hang around the best and noisiest of Greek eateries. Lincoln Frey, a long time fixture in the jazz and world beat communities of western Canada, subsequently turned up on the doorstep in response to a personal ad, bringing the colourful sounds of clarinet, saxophone, baglama and melodeon. Finally, violinist Brigitte Dajczer was conscripted from the world music and visual arts scene. Brigitte
has since relocated to Montreal, but continues to record and tour with the Hipsters. In Montreal, she is a powerful presence on the world music scene, playing with performers such as oud master Hassan Al-Hadi and the Balkan ensemble Les Gitans De Sarajevo.
The Rembetika Hipsters’ debut, "Architects of Narghile", was recorded in Calgary and High River, AB in 2001, with Ron Casat producing (The Cold Club, Amos Garrett and the Eh Team, Ian Tyson, Diamond Joe White) and Danny Patton engineering
(Jann Arden, Rage Against the Machine). Danny also tours with the band playing bass. Following the release of 2004's "Dinner in Polidroso", the band toured from Quebec to the Yukon, appearing at prestigious events and venues like Toronto’s
Harbourfront, the Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival, the Dawson City Music Festival and Festival Musique Du Monde in Victoriaville, QC. The CD received tremendous airplay on campus and community radio across Canada. The Hipsters were featured in performance and conversation on CBC’s "This Morning" and "Global Village", and were recorded in concert by CBC in a collaboration with renowned Romanian violinist and conductor Edmond Agopian.

Recently, the Rembetika Hipsters toured in Greece for the second time, where audiences are thrilled that a Canadian ensemble would treat their country's music with such skill and passion.

Since their beginning, the Hipsters have sought an audience well beyond the Greek community. They have incorporated rhythms from other Balkan traditions and cultures, such as Bulgarian ruchenitsa and Turkish tsifteteli. They have taken their
sound into folk clubs and rock oriented night clubs, from farmer’s markets to classical music concert halls. And they can be found playing every Wednesday evening at Pegasus, Calgary’s favourite Greek restaurant.

Discography

Albums:
Architects of Narghile (2001) (socrates pizza)
Dunner in Polidroso (2004) (socrates pizza)

Compilation tracks:
"In the City's Bathhouses" on The Diaspora of Rembetiko (Network Germany 2005)
"Five Years in the Slammer" on Hold Your Ground Vol. 3 (activist.ca)

Set List

A large repertoire (140 songs+) of classic Greek rembetika, laika, entechno and dimotika (folk songs),
and original compositions.