A self-taught bouzouki player from the island of Syros, Markos Vamvakaris recorded in the rounder-like Rembetica style for a variety of big labels (Columbia, Parlophon, Odeon) in the 1930s and early 1940s. He often sang as well, and employed accompanists on guitar, the toumbeleki hand drum, and the baglamas (a stringed instrument which is a member of the bouzouki family). His lyrics are often bold, with direct references to hashish smoking and streetwalkers, although he didn't confine himself to those subjects, even releasing a patriotic number when Greece was on the verge of being taken over by Italian forces. He was adept at playing the melodic and sad tunes associated with the Greek repertoire, but could also be boisterous on occasion as well.
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