2018: A Year In Food
In 2018, my gym coach assigned me to keep a food blog so he could track my meals. Through developing healthy eating habits to satisfy all of my nutritional needs and a rigorous exercise programme, I lost the 21 kg between January-August 2018 I'd gained on anti-depressants.
I wanted it to be somewhere more private rather than being shoved down people's throats (literally) through Instagram/WhatsApp. Hence I've posted my culinary creations here.
Being vegetarian and/or vegan always presents a challenge in terms of hitting the protein target so this was particularly the most interesting challenge for me.
I made a conscious decision to stop food blogging in 2019 (due to time restraints), but it's useful to have a year's diet documented as a reference and a source of inspiration!
In this article, Rory Duffy compares and contrasts three ‘musics of the urban underclass’ - Flamenco, Fado and Rembetika - with reference to their origins, musical style, lyrics, functions, social context and the evolution of these various aspects over time.
The urban underclass is a term that refers to a sub-culture of men, representing the lowest social stratum in society, often consisting of the poor and the unemployed. Due to political upheavals, mass migration and the slave trade, among other such factors taking place in Europe during the last two centuries designed to be of economic benefit to a nation, there was an increase in the number of refugees living in shanty settlements on the edges of Mediterranean towns and cities. This increase in population led to competition for employment among refugees, often hindered by language barriers and segregated by differences in custom from the rest of society. In certain societies, there exist institutional mechanisms that form the basis of social tradition, often associated with the official governing body of that country. A social reorganization of tradition occurs when these institutional mechanisms draw on innovations brought about by a creative minority which serve to break from tradition in its broadest sense, in so moving society forwards. The impact of globalization and modernization has consistently challenged our pre-conceived ideas of national identity, and especially in the case of music, it has aided the evolution of these ideas. These three styles, Flamenco, Fado and Rembetika, are all examples of styles that emerged from this “urban underclass” - or, in this sense, the creative minority. The link between social reputation and creative force, originates from music being a common thread through which all minorities can interact and become stronger, and in particular, music has often served as a cathartic release from the gruelling realities of life.
In all three of these styles we can identify a trend whereby as they have become more popular to wider audiences, their cathartic functions become commercialised and many artists abandon their own aesthetic goals to embrace prospects of celebrity stardom and role model status. From the perspective of the musician, matters of class, gender, race, ethnicity and ultimately, their identity, contribute towards the definition of ‘the musician’ in the context of how the musician tries to make a living and determines how that living will be made. Even in the globally mediated world of today, the link between musical structure and social structure is paramount, and to be a musician often requires one to take on a role that prescribes a range of extra-musical values, duties and obligations. Social stereotypes play a major part, and enable these minorities to establish a culture, some sort of identity, which can provide security. The impact of cultural evolution, technology and tourism has enabled these musicians to break free from these stereotypes, and embrace a new idiom. Often, elements of the genre are lost behind a mask which makes a national identity more attractive to an increasingly consumerist international stage, so a style which was once associated with the fringe of society is adopted into the national heritage, thus leading to the evolution of its culture. The link between music and society is therefore integral to questions of national identity and social change.
In order to understand how this social change was brought about, it is necessary to establish the origins of these musical styles, to ascertain how things were in the first place. These three musical styles, Flamenco, Fado and Rembetika, represent a cross-section of different accounts, ranging from the expansion, development and mutual absorption of two individual cultural traditions to the amalgamation of a multitude of existing cultural traditions into a modern style.
In the cases of Flamenco and Fado, the origins are unclear. The story of Flamenco is recorded not by historians, but only retold by its aficionados – practitioners of the art form, but they are based on historical fact; that a large population of gypsies arrived in Spain during the 15th century and that their vagabond reputation which associated them with crime and witchcraft, led to a history of persecution. Likewise, the true origins of Fado have never been agreed upon. For some, Fado is the music that originated from the Latin-American slave trade. For others, Fado is the music of the Portuguese-African slaves, who were liberated in Lisbon during the late 18th century, and settled in the Mouraria and Alfama districts where a vibrant musical culture developed. Joaquim Frederico de Brito one of the major Fado songwriters, maintained that the Fado originated from the early Portuguese maritime traditions, from sailors and seafarers – and that the song form grew out of the Portuguese love of poetry which had been nurtured in its vibrant poetic tradition, tracing back to the late 12th century. In both cases, confusion over their origins arises out of the sheer number of cultures that have blended and the widespread attribution of general terms to describe a wide variety of people. The termFlamenco became synonymous with not only the gypsy population in the 19th century but also any other minority groups living in Spain during that time. A large proportion of Muslims, Jews and Orthodox Christians from the east had inhabited Andalucia since the early part of the millennium, and was subject to all sorts of persecution, the forced assimilation of these peoples to customary ways of life, engagement in fixed work and religious practices. On the other hand, modern Rembetika evolved from a merging of just two styles, the Smyrna style, which originated in Turkey and parts of Greece still under Turkish occupation, since the end of the 19th century,and the Piraeus style, which originated in Greece amongst prisoners of war. Unlike Flamenco and Fado, the origins are more clearly defined, and are linked specifically to historical events involving political change rather than the general oppression of certain groups in society. The outcome of the Turko-Greek war resulted in the Smyrna incident, in which there was an exchange of populations between the countries on the basis of religion.Orthodox Christians moved to Greece while Muslims moved to Turkey. All three musical styles originated from large communities of ethnic minorities living in settlements that grew up around the major towns and cities. This exchange between Greece and Turkey led to a surplus influx of Turkish refugees living in Athens who had to adapt to a new language and new way of life. In the same way, many of the nomadic people in Spain were made to settle down, and moved into nearby cities such as Granada and Seville, where large settlements of gypsy communities developed. A large proportion of other disadvantaged ethnic minorities also absorbed themselves into these communities in order to conceal their identities from the authorities, enabling them to practise their faiths in secret. The Mouraria and Alfama districts in Lisbon also cultivated the growth of Fado. In all three cases, oppression from the authorities linked social minorities together in a history of suffering and trauma, and music was the perfect form of cathartic release.
Since Flamenco, Fado and Rembetika all emphasize the power of music as a form of cathartic release, thus linking music directly to the human soul, all three musical styles are essentially human in character and the human voice is therefore the most effective instrument for emotional delivery. Flamenco was initially sung without instrumental accompaniment, sometimes with handclaps or clapping sticks keeping a basic rhythm, and the guitar was only added in later as Flamenco became more popular. Indeed, cante jondo (deep song), the oldest and most profound form, remained unaccompanied, and it was only with the introduction of thecante chico (light song) that the guitar became a more important supportive element. This is not to say that Flamenco was not accompanied at all, for vocal shouts of encouragement in order to bring about a duende were also an important aspect. See Buleria de la Mocita (Bulería A Palo Seco) by Tomasa "La Macanita" (track 01) Fado and Rembetika, on the other hand, placed more importance on the instrumental accompaniment. Although, like Flamenco, Rembetika was originally sung with ideophonic accompaniment (using the body) prisoners still found the need to build musical instruments such as the bouzouki and the baglama. In later times of the Café Aman, Rembetes looked for musicians to join their ensembles; such as pianists, guitarists, drummers and santouri players. A small proportion of Rembetika is purely instrumental music; the taximi (from theTurkish taksim, or musical solo) consists of free or rhythmic improvisation which can either be a smaller passage within a song, or it can take up an entire song. The instrumental trio of vocalist, Portuguese Guitarra and Viola Espanhola became integral to Fado performance. Although the vocalist was still the primary communicator of raw human emotions, the role of the Guitarra was to accompany a wide range of vocal talent, in both a traditional and innovative manner and the Viola provided rhythmic accompaniment. In Fado Britinho by Maria Silva (track 02) we hear 8 bars of virtuosic introduction from the Guitarra before the vocalist comes in, then the Guitarra becomes subservient to the vocalist. The vocalist has a lot of rhythmic freedom, especially with the frequent pauses and use of rubato,and the Guitarra puts in embellishments that enhance what the vocalist is doing. Another similarity can be identified between Fado and Rembetika in terms of rhythm. Traditionally, Fado and Rembetika have always had a strong sense of rhythm. A favourite example of mine is the driving 7/8 rhythmic feel in Stin Kaliva Tin Diki Mou by Glykeria (track 03) with the emphasis placed on beats 1, 3 and 5 of the bar, the last three beats being grouped in a triplet. Although Flamenco rhythm has always been based onel compás (a rhythmic cycle comprising of 12 beats where the palmashand-clapping emphasises certain beats), the vocalist typically obscures any sense of metre or pulse, as in the example by Tomasa “La Macanita”, through extensive use of rubato. However, the cante chico, with the introduction of the guitar, brought in a percussive element, and a variety of dances emerged, such as the alegria, buleria, cantiña and romera. In termsof the melodic style, all three musical styles centre on a scale/modality, yet melisma is a key ingredient of the singer’s own interpretation, within such a framework. Flamenco singing style is characterised by an absence of any regular rhythm, and high density of melisma and voice modulation. The main parameters are fixed, but the singer has a degree of freedom on how to move between individual notes, and this can involve a lot of improvisation. In Del Molinete (Taranta y Cartagenara) by Carmen Linares (track 04) we can hear that wailing and sobbing was important for the lamentation aspect of the text – the voice shakes and wavers on each note before modulating, each time. This is interspersed with interjections from the guitar. In the same way, Nini by Grigoris Asikis (track 05) is almost freely improvised. Notice how the vocalist returns obsessively to the same note, yet manages to add a lot of variance to that single note purely through the way he articulates it, by imitating the colourful nuances and the subtle ornamentations of the tsifteteli violin.
In terms of harmonic style, Flamenco and Rembetika have been more influenced by oriental harmony than Fado, but for different reasons. In the case of Flamenco, the gypsies cultivated the Andalusian scale, brought over from the East, which was very much like the Phrygian scale but with a sharpened 3rd (mediant). Nana Del Caballo Grande by Camarón De La Isla (track 06) is an example of these Oriental influences in Flamenco, and it even replaces the guitar with a sitar. In the case of Rembetika, Oriental influences resulted from the exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey, which resulted in a lot of Byzantine influences being adapted into Rembetika, such as female singers and the use of finger percussion to emphasis the dance-like rhythms. I Pendamorfi by Theodosia Stinga (track 07) revolves around the first three notes of a similar modality. Fado on the other hand is more tonally driven. The example by Maria Silva alternates solely around tonic/dominant harmony, and it is only when we get to one-third of the way through the recording that it modulates.
The lyrics of Flamenco and Rembetika derive from old poetic texts belonging to their respective cultural heritages. Flamenco is based on old Andalusian folk verses called coplas, which are thought to be written by gypsies, or at least result from the encounter between the gypsies and the Andalusian folk people. This treasury of lyrics has since been expanded with coplas written by contemporary poets, eg, Manuel Machado, García Lorca and Manuel Balmaseda. These are often memorized by performers,and are then altered or rearranged; a singer has an extensive repertoire of songs up his sleeve, which act as a framework for his personal presentation of meaning and form. In the same way, Rembetika lyrics are derived from old Greek folklore, or in many cases borrowed from Byzantine texts, which provide models that can be adapted to suit the performer. In contrast, Fado contains a higher degree of improvisation, thanks to its poetic nature, though these are often loosely based on Romantic myths. So, although the Fado does not closely resemble traditional poetic writings,in the same way as Flamenco or Rembetika does, its subject matter is derivative of the past. All three musical styles can be based on anything,ranging from their personal accounts of love, sorrow and death, to topical issues. In Rembetika, ‘Mothers feature prominently in songs’ which is a common trait in Flamenco, where the mother is a common copla theme;
My mother sorrows,
And I too sorrow.
But I feel my mother’s sorrows
And not my own.
(Siguiriya - Marecita De Mi Arma)
However in contrast to Rembetika, the lyrics in Flamenco can occasionally have religious connotations, such as in this copla addressing the Virgin Mary.
All mothers have sorrows,
But yours is the greatest
Because you have before you your beloved Son,
His feet and hands tied,
As if he were a traitor.
In the wider context, this is linked to the traditional cultural role of the female in the Mediterranean of lamenting the dead, which later manifests itself in the form of the siguiriya, the most emotional genre of Flamenco song. Another common subject between Flamenco and Rembetika, and indeed Fado, is death. Both Rembetika and Fado often have an introspective nature in their lyrics and often mention themselves in songs that portray vivid descriptions of its performers. In Fado;
They ask me about the Fado
I knew the man
He was a drunk and a tramp
Who hung out in the Mouraria.
(Joaquim Frederico de Brito, Biografia Do Fado)
These lyrics are often romanticized in comparison to those of Rembetika,and they have a tendency to combine historical evidence with popular conceptions or stereotypes. In Rembetika, lyrics speak more with an air of self-defiance and pride;
I’m a wide boy wandering the streets,
So stoned I don’t recognize anyone I meet.
(Markos Vamvakaris, Alaniaris, 1935)
Although Flamenco often speaks of its own people, it tends to emphasize the suffering and persecution that the gypsies endured, rather than the characteristics of the gypsies themselves, and is more an external outpouring of grief. This concept of hardship is a theme common to Flamenco, Fado and Rembetika. However the way in which they deal with this differs in their lyrical content. It is interesting to contrast the emotions of Saudade in Fado and Duende in Flamenco. Lyrics in Fado were supposed arouse a general feeling of Saudade, a sort of longing, fond remembrance, nostalgia, homesickness, and above all, the yearning for something that might have been but was not, which is inextricably linked to ideas of destiny and fate beyond human control;
To depart is to stretch our arms, reaching for the unreachable dreams
Whose destiny is to remain
Dying, a man’s suffering ends, but departure is too much to bear,
It’s a grief far worse than death.
(António Santos/Mascarenhas Barreto, To Depart Is to Die a Little)
On the other hand, Flamenco was more passionate; musicians would give a ferocious outpouring of their sorrows in a more direct venom, and work themselves up into an emotional frenzy that was known as Duende;
If I poured all my anguish
Into the streams,
The waters in the sea would
Rise to the heavens.
By contrast, we can see that Saudade is a passive submission to the inevitable, whereas Duende is a more active emotion, brought about by the inevitable, and it concentrates on the effects felt by it. In terms of the grammatical structures, we can see that lyrical content in Fado and Flamenco are organised into strophic, four-line verse structures. However, Rembetika took on a stable, poetic form, in which a line of fifteen syllables is divided into two half-lines – rhyming couplets;
Ah if I die what will they say? Some fellow dies,
a fellow who loved life and enjoyed himself. Aman! Aman!
Ah if I die on the boat, throw me into the sea,
so the black and salt water can eat me! Aman! Aman!
(Sotiria Bellou, If I Die On The Boat, ca. 1915)
The word Aman was frequently used in Rembetika for a variety of reasons: to make up the required number of syllables in a rhyming couplet, for expressive effect, to emphasize the emotional aspects of what is being said in a form of exclamation, and to give the performer time to improvise new lyrics.
A similar word was used in Flamenco – shouts of ‘Aye’ would be used, for similar purposes: as an instinctive personal reaction to suffering, insupport of the performer as a sign of empathy, and also to encourage the performer to improvise new lyrics. Its use was less practical than in Rembetika andinstead was more emotive.
The functions of Flamenco can be deeply transcendental both in terms of the role of the performer and the role of the audience. There are a couple of explanations for the reasons why Flamenco is enjoyed. Firstly, that it induces a state of being within the listener, that removes them from their immediate context and places them on an aesthetic plane that gives them a sense of liberation. Secondly, that it makes the listener subject to a false consciousness – a sympathy with the oppressed, when their interest is really only fuelled by its appeals to tradition and community rather than its darker meaning. Either way, listeners are open to a new, transcendental experience, which cannot be described in words, and it is the role of the singer to reach those parts of the human soul and unlock the meanings to radical problems, needs, and experiences common to all humans. In this sense, the Duende functions as “a singer’s hidden faculty for introducing us to the ineffable so as to draw us close to the ultimate mystery.”(Caballero Bonald 1975:67) The audience completes this two-way cycle by opening themselves up to such experiences. Parallels between the functions of Flamenco and Fado correspond to the nature of Duende andSaudade. Both are reciprocal sentiments, shared in part by the performer and the audience. However, Saudade reflects the most distinctive trait of the Portuguese character – the prevailing fatalism common to all aspects of Portuguese life, rather than the peculiar suffering of an ethnic minority. A quotation from In Portugal, by Aubrey Bell, perfectly highlights the key difference between the functions of Duende and Saudade;
“The famous saudade of the Portuguese is a vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist, for something other than the present, a turning towards the past or towards the future; not an active discontent or poignant sadness, but an indolent dreaming wistfulness.”
Thus, Fado has already acknowledged the marginality of society, and is instead pointing the audience towards thoughts of what society could be,rather than focusing on the harsh reality of what society is, or has been in the past. In contrast to Fado, and Flamenco, the functions of Rembetika are more inward looking in character. Perhaps this derived from the dance that characterized Rembetika from its beginning, a dance that allowed the dancer to dance out his sorrows, an intimately personal experience, that filled the dancer with renewed vigour.
The dance in Flamenco was not introduced until later on, and it assumed a similar function; the kinaesthetic visualisation and outward expression of the innermost feelings of an individual, though by now, the functions of Flamenco had become commercial rather than cathartic. Rembetika grew out of the dance, whereas baile (the dance) grew out of Flamenco, thus Rembetika took on a different direction in its development as a result of its original dance function.
All three musical styles share a similar social context, that is, in an informal setting rather than the formalised, standardized concert hall, which was the centrepiece for the Western classical tradition enjoyed by middle class audiences.
However, these were engendered in different ways. Fado was traditionally a song ‘sung equally by both sexes’ whereas Flamenco and Rembetika were more male orientated at first and only later became open to both male and female. In Flamenco this was partly due to the changing conditions for women in post Franco Spain after his death in 1975. The flamenco context of the bar, where men would drink, socialise and host juergas, gatherings of singers, guitar players and aficionados, is not one that has been open to women. The mere presence of a woman in the male-bonding environment was felt to be inhibiting and would make one question the motives of the woman! The level of participation in the arts for women has been put under social constraints, and the public verses private dichotomy in relation to the Mediterranean complex of ‘honour and shame’ coupled with a rigidly patriarchal religious system, limited their freedom. With the introduction of cafés-cantantes, Flamenco was brought out of the private, intimate sphere into the public sphere.
A number of female figures (cantaoras) have been seen to engender the transformation of Flamenco such as Carmen Linares, La Paquera, and recently Lole Montoya, by breaking free of these conventions, and taking a more centralised role in its development. A similar sort of progress occurred in Rembetika, where the expansion of the tradition beyond the tekés into public arenas, has enabled women to play more of a part. Before, Greece was under a similar dictatorship to Spain, the Metaxas dictatorship, which encouraged male bravado among social circles as the key to earning respect in society. The female style of Rembetika was made famous by Rosa Eskenazi, Rita Abadzi and Marika Papagika, however, their style remained closer to the older Smyrna style of singing. Another parallel between Flamenco and Rembetika in terms of their social contexts is that chemical intoxication, in some form, was an integral part of their proceedings. In the bars and taverns in Spain, liberal amounts of wine and spirits would help musicians to release their inhibitions and the intoxicating effects of alcohol resulted in stronger demonstrations of emotion and reaction. In Greece, Rembetika and the drug culture, and especially the hashish trade, existed side by side. A rembetes was a Turkish term thought to mean ‘from the gutter’ and it was later used to refer to men who would smoke hashish and compose music. The effects of narghilé provided the musician with enough inspiration to improvise the lyrics spontaneously.
In both cases, substances gave inspiration and confidence to musicians, yet in Fado, musicians usually performed sober and clean. Fadistasmaintained that Saudade should be enough to inspire a “good” performance, and that performances without Fado were not authentic.
There are many similarities between the ways in which these musical styles evolved over time, which we can hear, at face value, from their recordings.
Rembetika harmony and melody, due to popular influences and the way in which the hashish culture and the café culture had mutually adapted, were becoming increasingly Westernized. The europeanization of the Smyrna style was accelerated by the spread of radio – modality moved towards a major/minor tonality, and composers gradually abandoned their folklore traditions in favour of creating their own lyrics. In contrast, Flamenco experienced an Andalusianization of lyrics among artists such as Silvio Franconetti and Juan Breva – both of non-gypsy origin, who believed that by embracing Andalusian folklore, Flamenco would become accessible to the new, broadly based audiences of mainstream culture. This led to the vocal style of the cante becoming softer, and more pleasing to the ear, and so the harsher, rougher tones of the cante puro soon went out of fashion.
All three styles share a common trend of progressing beyond the taverns, bars and other meeting places associated with the working class peoples,into more popular locations where they became more mainstream. The café culture helped to expand the popularity of both Flamenco and Rembetika in similar ways.
The café-cantante led to the development of dance in Flamenco and women have been key figures in this transformation, which led to an equal emphasis placed on dance (baile) in relation to the song (cante) and the guitar (toque). As a result, there was more scope for Flamenco as an all-in-one performance, a multi-sensory audio-visual experience rather than a mere vehicle for expression.
Subsequently, the tradition of the café-cantante declined in the early part of the 20th century, due to their social status, and Flamenco moved into the theatre. In a similar way, Fado also moved into the theatre, though not through the café culture as in Flamenco or Rembetika, but through its poetic appeal to writers and intellectuals. Fado became a vehicle by which directors could stage dramatic content, otherwise known as the revista; a play set to Fado music that narrated trivial affairs to do with love and nostalgia, as a form of light entertainment and thus, like Flamenco,
sacrificed its original functions to become more accessible to wider audiences. However, by this stage, dramatic content was not integral to the Fado art form. Fado could exist without the revista, yet dance had already developed and become integrated with the Flamenco tradition – and there vista was simply a fusion of two distinct art-forms. Hence, the theatre had a different impact on the two styles.
While the Fado tradition was enriched by its incorporation into visual media, the Flamenco tradition was combined with other genres such as ballet and opera which diluted its value. The constant absorption of Flamenco into other genres and styles led to its indigenous roots being neglected, and its expressivity being lost. Stage shows by Antonio Gades were characterized by ‘impeccable singing and the almost scientifically geometric precision of his choreography’ which led to Madeleine Claus, a flamenco journalist, concluding that ‘flamenco – the lonely, personal, spontaneous expression of an artist – is lost in the telling…’
In the same way, Rembetika moved out of the tekés into rich nightclubs.The music became heavily commercialised and as a result, ‘The songs lost their edge, lost their pain and depth of feeling.’ Their original functions are radically different.
Commercialization has also contributed to the vast eroticization of Flamenco and Rembetika. Female dancers have been put under commercial pressures to appear more attractive to audiences, by wearing more alluring outfits and through the use of seductive facial expressions and more emphasis on fancy foot-tapping than expressive hand gestures. However, Flamenco has been strengthened through tourism, and the international scene. Partly due to the nationalist regime of Franco, Flamenco has been repackaged and exploited as a part of the national heritage, a camouflage for the troubled past, the Civil War – and used as a propaganda tool to encourage tourism and economic growth. Theatre companies have travelled the continent putting on performances to foreign audiences and so much of the development of Flamenco has taken place abroad. Ironically, this has lead to the revival of some of its more traditional aspects– in particular, the cante puro.
Ethnomusicologists and general fans have since travelled to Spain to rediscover the roots of Flamenco and this has led to some of the older artists reviving their musical traditions. Likewise, newer artists such as Adelina Fernandes became popular Fado exports in Brazil, however, these played an essential part in re-instating the traditional values of Portugal. There was nothing false about what they had to portray; ‘The fadistas had simply repackaged themselves attractively enough to sell to an audience who wanted the quick and readily-available experience, inherent in commercial tourism.’ This shows how much the fadistas had become to accepted in society as the music evolved, much in the same way as therembetes. The gypsies and their culture were initially concealed behind a mask that beautified the art of Flamenco, and much of the anguish from which it originated was lost, so it was essentially a revivalist tradition. Rembetika and Fado, on the other hand, evolved as continual traditions.
Generally speaking, there has not been quite as much to say about Fado as there has been about Flamenco and Rembetika, and perhaps, this reveals something about their successes as individual music genres, and how their traditions developed. It seems that Fado has always been very true to its roots. Although Fado has dabbled in the theatre and other popular forms,such as bossa nova and samba from Brazil, in the same way as Flamenco, the original style has not been affected, or absorbed into other styles. As well as all of these, you could still come back and hear Fado being performed in the Fado houses in the districts of Lisbon as it has always been performed. The Fado tradition has simply diversified into multiple sub-traditions, and has not succumbed to the commercial pressures that made Flamenco so well-known simply because it has been very steadfast in nature. Flamenco, on the other hand, has been essentially a collaborative genre, since it encompasses many different types of artistry – singing (cante), dancing (baile) and playing (toque) within one genre, and many different types of artists have been claiming it exclusively as their own, which resulted in its radically changing nature. Perhaps change is the essence that motivates the development of a style and determines its popular appeal. In conclusion, all three musical styles are similar in that they are all products of a society that has been disadvantaged in some way, and represent the collective cry of the community that provides cathartic release for the individual. In many ways, each musical style has links with the subversive aspects of their society such as intoxicants, crime and poverty, which play a part in the music and ultimately provide a unifying force for their respective national identities in the face of Civil War. However, the way in which they have developed and their current status within the modern world differs in their original cultural contexts.
The changes that took place in Rembetika have been closely linked to the political changes taking place in Greece after the Turkish occupation, and
music was the much-needed form of cathartic release. Nowadays, social class is not so much an issue, and conditions for its citizens have improved radically, so Rembetika is not seen as being as relevant to contemporary contexts as it was before. Thus, out of the three styles, it appears to have stagnated the most, and elements of it have been incorporated into the general popular music culture.
Flamenco, on the other hand, emerged from a general attitude attributed towards the ethnic minority, and has been susceptible to wider influences – most likely from its origins in a melting pot of different cultures and traditions, which reflect across all aspects of its nature. Due to its wide appeal, it appears to have changed the most, so much so that its true identity has been lost among the demands and functions of the modern world. Yet, Fado has been least affected by political changes and as a result, it has had the space to maintain a balance of tradition and innovation, and it has not relied on a cultural revival to continue, although cultural revival is an effective means of publicity.
Consequently, all three styles are music of the people, as opposed to music for the people, in the sense that it is a music determined by uses and functions of the people from which it originated rather than its musical value. The cultural context, peculiar to each musical genre, is the key aspect to the way in which the genre develops over time, and directly affects its prevailing impact on society at large, and without political interference,music has a greater freedom to develop in its own course.
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Gallop, Rodney, The Fado (The Portuguese Song Of Fate), The Musical Quarterly, vol.19, No.2 (April., 1933), p199-213. on JSTOR (last accessed 13/12/2006)
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Petropoulos, Elias. Songs of the Greek Underworld: The Rembetika Tradition. London: Saqi, 2000.
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Rory spent the first few years of his life in an ice cave, carving out his palace of wonder. He's a bit of a love doll, but he who melts the ice shall have their reward.