Various Artists

Women of Rembetica

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In the early part of the 20th century -- long before Hole, Sleater-Kinney, and a gaggle of riot grrrl bands brought empowered feminist rock to the masses -- a bevy of Greek women were asserting their individuality and spurning convention by a way of a musical style called rembetika. Known as rembetisses, these women sang about smoking hashish, getting drunk, performing in cabarets, raising hell, expressing desire, and -- you get the idea. Essentially a form of underground Greek music that was rooted in the port cities of Asia Minor, rembetika blossomed in the 1930s. On Women of Rembetika, the listener is treated to 23 original recordings performed by 14 of the most prominent rembetisses. From the mournful sounds of Marika Politissa's "A Secret Pain -- Manés" to Rita Abadzi's upbeat tune "The Bouzouki," Women of Rembetika will be sure to intrigue and please.

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