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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 30 July 2016
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 30 JULY 2016 19 Byron Triantafyllidis Jenny Theologidis and Wayne Simmons Rebetiko: the Melbourne experience The festival is on the way, bringing together seasoned musicians and the new generation NIKOS FOTAKIS 21 August open. That weekend the greatest musical tradition of Greece will come alive on the stage of Oakleigh’s Caravan Music Club, which will host some of the most persistent representatives of the Melbourne rebetiko scene, in tributes to pioneers such as Markos Vamvakaris, Vassilis Tsitsanis, Kostas Skarvelis, Soteria Bellou and other legendary artists. “The idea was that, since this is going to be the first ever rebetiko festival, we wanted to celebrate the Melbourne musicians playing rebetiko and showcase what we’ve got”, says Kon Karamountzos, who envisioned and set up the event, along with Con Kalamaras. The Festival’s program features some of the staples of the scene, such as the legendary oud player Christos Baltzidis (who “has been playing in Melbourne forever”), or Nikos Vergopoulos (“he was the first singer of the M usic lovers and fans of rebetiko music should keep Saturday 20 and Sunday Apodimi, he sang on their first album; we really wanted him to be a part of this”). Alongside them, the 2016 Melbourne Rebetiko Festival will feature newer bands, such as the multiethnic ‘Zourouna’ (with Byron Triantafyllidis on bouzouki) and ‘Polyxeni’, the duet formed by Jenny Theologidis and Wayne Simmons - not to mention the opening act, a group of bouzouki students, representing the next generation of Melbourne Rebetiko. A THIRST FOR REBETIKO “I’d be so proud if we got a mix of everyone in the audience: from the older Greeks in Melbourne to some of the young kids; we’re aiming for a demographic ranging from zero to death”, says Kon Karamountzos, laughing, excited that his idea for a festival has come to fruition. “My love affair with rebetiko started when I was 17 and 18 years old, and went to see Apodimi Compania playing at the Retreat Hotel, although my father always used to listen to this music”, he remembers. “All this time, I’ve been looking all over Melbourne to find the authentic rebetiko, the old, acoustic sound - what they play in taverns is too commercial”. This quest led Kon Karamountzos to Con Kalamaras and his band. “He was playing in a tavern in Frankston and this is where our friendship began. We hit it off immediately, we are on the same wavelength, sharing a common passion and the same search for authentic rebetiko music done in a raw, acoustic style that really reflects the old age”. The festival was born out of this new friendship. “I’ve always had the idea of a rebetiko festival, where there was not just a band playing in the corner. Everyone loves the intimate setting but I wanted to put up a concert of music, put the band onstage and showcase this music. This is what we’re interested in. I told Con and a few days later he had booked the Caravan Music Club in Oakleigh and we started working on the program. This year it was really important for us to do a home-grown rebetiko festival, so we approached a lot of bands who are playing in Melbourne, as well as some who are a bit retired at the moment. The Melbourne rebetiko community is quite strong and very enthusiastic, it seems to be thirsty for this kind of thing. After the ‘Rebetika at the Retreat’ finished up, a lot of people left that scene in a way, but the passion for the music still remains strong”. A NEW MUSICAL FIXTURE IN A ‘ROCK’N’ROLL’ CITY This first Rebetiko Festival might be dedicated to the Melbourne scene, but the people behind it have bigger aspirations. “The plan is to launch it as a festival and hopefully make contacts and get people interested”, says Kon Karamountzos. “We have the idea to do a bit of a roadshow with some of the performers who are playing and perhaps take them interstate. The other thing we wanted to achieve was to create a pathway between Melbourne and Greece for musicians to be able to be exposed to playing with guys in Greece and Greeks to come to Melbourne. We’d like it to become a permanent fixture on the Melbourne festival scene, but also to make it international. Melbourne is the perfect place for this kind of music; we have such high quality musicians and a very proud musical tradition here”. But what is the trademark sound of Melbourne? “With all due respect to the rest of the country, Melbourne is a rock’n’roll city. It’s got some edge to it”, he says. As for how this feature affect the Melbourne rebetiko scene, he points out to the sound. “It’s tougher and rougher” he says. “That certain Melbourne style really comes out in the music and this is why it has been embraced by so many rock’n’roll musicians, like Paul Kelly and Tim Rogers, who recorded a rebetiko song with English lyrics. This music can still touch people today, even if you‘ve never heard it before in your life, it still holds true”. The 2016 Melbourne Rebetiko Festival will take place at Oakleigh Caravan Music Club, at the OakleighCarnegie RSL on Saturday 20 & Sunday 21 August. For more information and tickets, go to www.caravanmusic.com.au Australians in Film applications open AiF welcomes all film business graduates and undergraduate students Australians in Film, the LAbased entertainment content foundation for Australian entertainment professionals, has announced that applications are open for the 2017 Village Roadshow Entertainment Group & Animal Logic Entertainment Internship. Established in 2014 as part of Australians In Film’s mission to serve as a bridge between the US and Australian screen industries, the highly sought after internship is open to Australian film business undergraduate students and recent graduates who demonstrate significant potential in their areas of expertise. The program involves working in the Los Angeles offices of Village Roadshow Pictures and Animal Logic to gain firsthand experience in developing, acquiring, packaging, and producing feature films for the international market. Village Roadshow Pictures is one of the world’s leading independent producers and financiers of feature films, including box office smash hits. Valued at $20,000, the three-month internship will run from early 2017, with living and travel expenses covered while the recipient gets invaluable work experience in the Hollywood studio system. “AiF’s mission is to connect the Australian industry to the international market,” Kate Marks, President of Australians in Film said. “This year we are encouraging film business undergraduates and recent graduates from regional areas of Australia to apply. This internship is potentially a life-changing, once in a lifetime opportunity for someone to work with two of the industry’s leading production companies.” Applications for the 2017 internship are now open and will close on Wednesday 24 August 2016 at 10 am AEST. For further information visit: www.australiansinfilm.org.
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