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The music of Greecemarker is as diverse and celebrated as its history. Traditional Greek music pertains many similarities with Middle Eastern music, especially the music of Cyprus, with their modern popular music scenes remaining well-integrated. Music exists as a significant aspect of Hellenic culture, both within Greece and in the diaspora. Greek music is frequently played at parties and festivals, with children and adults both partaking in traditional Greek dancing.

Greek music history

Greek music history extends far back into Ancient Greece, since music was a major part of ancient Greek theater. Later influences from the Roman Empire, Eastern Europe and the Byzantine Empire changed the form and style of Greek music. In the 19th century, opera composers, like Nikolaos Mantzaros (1795-1872), Spyridon Xyndas (1812-1896) and Spyridon Samaras (1861-1917) and symphonists, like Dimitris Lialios and Dionysios Rodotheatos revitalized Greek art music. However, the diverse history of art music in Greece, which extends from the Cretan Renaissance and reaches modern times, exceeds the aims of the present article, which is, in general, limited to the presentation of the musical forms that have become synonymous to 'Greek music' during the last few decades; that is, the 'Greek song' or the 'song in Greek verse'.

Ancient Greece

In ancient Greece, mixed-gender choruses performed for entertainment, celebration and spiritual reasons. Instruments included the double-reed aulos and the plucked string instrument, the lyre, especially the special kind called a kithara.

Music was an important part of education in ancient Greece, and boys were taught music starting at age six. Greek musical literacy created a flowering of development; Greek music theory included the Greek musical modes, eventually became the basis for Western religious music and classical music.

Greece in the Roman Empire

Due to Rome's reverence for Greek culture, the Romans borrowed the Greek method of 'enchiriadic notation' (marks which indicated the general shape of the tune but not the exact notes or rhythms) to record their music, if they used any notation at all.


The tradition of eastern liturgical chant, encompassing the Greek-speaking world, developed in the Byzantine Empire from the establishment of its capital, Constantinoplemarker, in 330 until its fall in 1453. It is undeniably of composite origin, drawing on the artistic and technical productions of the classical Greek age, on Jewish music, and inspired by the monophonic vocal music that evolved in the early (Greek) Christian cities of Alexandriamarker, Antiochmarker and Ephesusmarker (see also Early Christian music). In his lexicographical discussion of instruments, the Persian geographer Ibn Khurradadhbih (d. 911) cited the lūrā (bowed lyra) as a typical instrument of the Byzantines along with the urghun (organ), shilyani (probably a type of harp or lyre), and the salandj (probably a bagpipe).

Greece during the Ottoman Empire

By the beginning of the 20th century, music-cafés (καφέ-σαντάν) were popular in Constantinoplemarker and Smyrnamarker. There, small groups of musicians from Greek, Jewish, Armenian, and Roma backgrounds would sing and play improvised music. The bands were typically led by a female vocalist, and included a violin and a sandoúri. The improvised songs typically exclaimed amán amán, which led to the name amanédhes or café-aman (καφέ-αμάν). Musicians of this period included Marika Papagika, Agapios Tomboulis, Rosa Eskenazi, Rita Abatzi, Georgia Mitaki (Μητάκη, not Μυτάκη), Marika Frantzeskopoulou, Marika Kanaropoulou. This period also brought in the Rebetiko movement, which featured in İzmir, and had local Smyrnaic, Byzantine, and Ottoman influences.

Folk music

Greek folk traditions are said to derive from the music played by ancient Greeks. There are said to be two musical movements in Greek folk music (παραδοσιακή μουσική): Acritic songs and Klephtic songs. Akritic music comes from the 9th century akrites, or border guards of the Byzantine Empire. Following the end of the Byzantine period, klephtic music arose before the Greek Revolution, developed among the kleftes, warriors who fought against the Ottoman Empire. Klephtic music is monophonic and uses no harmonic accompaniment.

Paleá dhimotiká

Paleá dhimotiká (Παλαιά δημοτικά "old traditional songs", mainly from Peloponnesemarker and Thessaly) are accompanied by clarinets, guitars, tambourines and violins, and include dance music forms like syrtó, kalamatianó, tsámiko and hasaposérviko, as well as vocal music like kléftiko. Many of the earliest recordings were done by Arvanites like Yiorgia Mittaki and Yiorgios Papasidheris. Instrumentalists include clarinet virtuosos like Petroloukas Halkias, Yiorgos Yevyelis and Yiannis Vassilopoulos, as well as oud and fiddle players like Nikos Saragoudas and Yiorgos Koros.

Greek folk music is found all throughout Greece, as well as among communities in countries like the United Statesmarker, Canadamarker and Australia. The island of Cyprusmarker and several regions of Turkeymarker are home to long-standing communities of ethnic Greeks with their own unique styles of music.


Nisiótika is a general term denoting folk songs from the Aegean Islands. Among the most popular types of them is Ikariótiko traghoúdhi "song from Ikaria".


Ikariótikos is a traditional type of dance, and also the name of its accompanying type of singing, originating in the Aegean island of Ikariamarker. At first it was a very slow dance, but today Ikariotikos is a very quick dance. Some specialists say that the traditional Ikariotikos was slow and the quick "version" of it is in fact Ballos. Music and dancing are major forms of entertainment in Ikaria. Throughout the year Ikarians host baptisms, weddings, parties and religious festivals where one can listen and dance to live traditional Ikarian Music.

Modern Nisiótika

Singer Mariza Koch was largely responsible for the revival of interest in Nisiótika in the 70s and 80s. During the 1990s and 2000s, artists such as Nikolas Hatzopoulos, Stella Konitopoulou, and the Mythos Band helped this music gain occasional mainstream popularity.

Cretan Music

Cretemarker is an island which is a part of Greecemarker. The lýra is the dominant folk instrument on the island; it is a three-stringed bowed instrument similar to the Byzantine Lyra. It is often accompanied by the Cretian lute (laoúto), which is similar to both an oud and a mandolin. Nikos Xylouris, Antonis Xylouris (or Psarantonis), Thanassis Skordalos, Kostas Moundakis, and Vasilis Skoulas are among the most renowned players of the lýra.


The "tabachaniotika" ( ; sing.: tabachaniotiko - ) songs are a Cretanmarker urban musical repertory which belongs to the wide family of musics, like the rebetiko and music of the Café-aman, that merge Greekmarker and Eastern music elements. This genre represents an outcome of the Cretan-Minor Asia's Greek cultural syncretism in East Mediterranean Sea. It developed mainly after the immigration of Smyrnamarker's refugees in 1922, as did the more widespread rebetiko.

Various conjectures are advanced to explain the meaning and origin of the term "tabachaniotika". Kostas Papadakis believes that it comes from tabakaniotikes (*ταμπακανιώτικες), which may mean places where hashish ( "tobacco") is smoked while music is performed, as was the case with the tekédes (τεκέδες; pl. of tekés) of Piraeus. But a quarter named Tabahana (Ταμπάχανα) existed in Smyrna—a name which has the Turkish root tabak: tanner; tabakhane: tannery). In Chaniámarker too, there was a quarter with the same name, where refugees from Smyrna lived after the 1922 diaspora. Tabachaniotiko was also the name of a song of the amanés genre, which was popular in Smyrna in the period before 1922, together with some other songs called Minóre, Bournovalió, Galatá, and Tzivaéri. Compare the performance of Greek-Turkish ballos by a Greek ensemble in New York City in 1928, included in the online article on Mediterranean music in America by Karl Signell.

This detail might be critical for the history of Cretan tabachaniotika, since Cretans frequently had contacts with the people and music of Smyrna during the nineteenth century. Cretan musicians believe that the further development of Cretan tabachaniotika took place mainly after 1922, as a consequence of the refugees' resettlement. The genre was popular until the 1950s.

Major features of the tabachaniotika songs are the following:
  • Dromoi (sing.: dromos - δρόμος), modal types designated by Turkish names, like rasti, houzam, hijaz, ousak, niaventi, and sabak.
  • Instrumental introduction before the song (taximi, pl.:, taximia), where the player explores the dromos.
  • Tsiftetéli rhythm, as in the Turkish "belly dance" music example heard in Signell's article.
  • Musical instruments like bouzouki, boulgarí (μπουλγκαρί; the Cretan version of the Turkish baglama, similar to the earliest forms of the bouzouki), and baglamás.

Poetic text
The rebetiko and "tabachaniotika" often share the political verse, that is, fifteen syllable lines divided into two hemistichs - ημιστίχια (8+7), generally realized as couplets. In Crete such couplets are called mandinádes (μαντινάδες), as are extemporary texts sung to the music of dances, mainly the syrtós, and the kondyliés (οι κοντυλιές).

They focus mainly on the themes of existential grief and lost love, also common to the rebetiko. Songs making fun of Turks, narrative songs, and other songs in dialogue form also belong to this repertory.

Unlike rebetiko (which is described below), the "tabachaniotika" did not considered underground music and was only sung, not danced, according to Nikolaos Sarimanolis, the last living performer of this repertory in Chaniá. Only a few musicians played the "tabachaniotika", the most famous being the boulgarí (a mandolin like instrument) player Stelios "Phoustalieris" Foustalierakis (1911-1992) from Réthymnonmarker. Stelios Foustalieris bought his first boulgarí in 1924. In 1979, he said that in Rethymnon, the boulgarí had been widespread during the 1920s; in every tavern one could find a boulgarí, and people played and sang lovesongs. He said the boulgarí was then the main accompanying instrument of the lyra, together with the mandola. The laouto began spreading in Rethymnon not before the 1930s. Foustalieris played for years as accompanist to the lyrist Antonis Kareklás (in feasts and weddings) and performed any kind of repertory (syrtós, pentozália, pidihtá (lit.: "jumping up songs"), kastriná, taxímia, kathistiká (lit.: "sitting-down songs", i.e. music for listening, not for dancing), and even rebetiko). Later, he began playing the boulgarí, as a melodic instrument, with the accompaniment of guitar or mandolin. He also played in a group with musicians (refugees from Asia Minor), who played the outi and sandouri. Foustalieris composed also many songs and recorded them in Rethymnon. In the period 1933–1937 he lived in Piraeus and played together with famous rebetes, like Markos Vamvarakis. He may be considered a musician who merged the musics of Crete, Asia Minor, and Piraeus.

Notwithstanding the dearth of performers, "tabachaniotika" songs were widespread and could also be performed at domestic gatherings. Notable artists of this genre who were originally refugees from Asia Minormarker include the bouzouki player Nikolaos Sarimanolis (Νικολής Σαριμανώλης; born in Nea Ephesosmarker in 1919) as a member of a folk-group founded by Kostas Papadakis in Chaniá in 1945, Antonis Katinaris (also based in Chaniá), and the Rethymnon-based Mihalis Arabatzoglou and Nikos Gialidis.

Cretan music in media

The Cretan music theme Zorba's dance by Mikis Theodorakis (incorporating elements from the hasapiko dance) which appears in the Hollywoodmarker 1964 movie Zorba the Greek remains the most well-known Greek song abroad.

Modern Cretan music

The Cretan musical tradition in its pure form is followed today by several contemporary artists such as the Chainides, Loudovikos ton Anogion, and Yiannis Charoulis. Occasionally, it reaches mainstream popularity through the work of artists such as Etsi De and Manos Pyrovolakis who mix its original form with popular music.

Other folk traditions

Other major regional musical traditions of Greece include:

Popular music

Being largely unaffected by the developments of the European Renaissance due to the Ottoman rule (which lasted nearly four centuries), the first liberated Greeks were anxious to catch up with the rest of Europe. It was through the Ionian Islandsmarker (which were under the Italian rule and influence) that all the major advances of the European music were introduced to mainland Greeks. The songs of the Islands known as Heptanesian kantádhes (καντάδες "serenades"; sing.: καντάδα) are based on the popular Italian popular music of the early 19th century. Kantádhes became the forerunners of the Greek modern song, influencing its development to a considerable degree. For the first part of the next century, several Greek composers continued to borrow elements from the Heptanesian style.

Early popular songs

The most successful songs during the period 1870–1930 were the so-called Athenian serenades (Αθηναϊκές καντάδες), and the songs performed on stage (επιθεωρησιακά τραγούδια "theatrical revue songs") in revues and operettas that were dominating Athens' theatre scene. Despite the fact that the Athenian songs were not autonomous artistic creations (in contrast with the serenades) and despite their original connection with mainly dramatic forms of Art, they eventually became hits as independent songs. Italian opera had a great influence on the musical aesthetics of the Modern Greeks.

After 1930, wavering among American and European musical influences as well as the Greek musical tradition, the Greek composers begin to write music using the tunes of the tango, the samba, and the waltz combined with melodies in the style of Athenian serenades' repertory.


(1910s-1940s) (in these lists the term 'artists' mostly denotes 'performers' unless indicated otherwise)


Rebetiko emerged in the 1920s as the urban folk music of Greek society's outcasts. The earliest rebetiko musicians --refugees, drug-users, criminals, and itinerants-- were scorned by mainstream society. They sang heartrending tales of drug abuse, prison and violence, usually accompanied by the instrument called bouzouki (pl.: bouzoukia) (a sort of lute derived from the Byzantine tambourás and related to the Turkish saz).

In 1923, many ethnic Greeks from Asia Minormarker fled to Greece as a result of the second Greco-Turkish War. They settled in poor neighborhoods in Piraeusmarker, Thessalonikimarker, and Athensmarker. Many of these immigrants were highly educated, such as songwriter Vangelis Papazoglou, and Panagiotis Tountas, composer and leader of Odeon Records' Greek subsidiary, who are traditionally considered as the founders of the Smyrna School of Rebetiko.

A Turkish tradition that came along with the Greek migrants was the tekés (τεκές) "opium den", or hashish dens. Groups of men would sit in a circle and smoke hashish from a hookah, and improvised music of various kinds. With the coming of the Metaxas dictatorship, rebetiko was repressed due to the uncompromising lyrics. Hashish dens and bouzoukia were banned. Many songs from this period were composed in prison, where musicians would devise instruments out of scavenged equipment.

After World War II, rebetiko became a "calmer" and more accessible form of music. Some of the earliest legends of Greek Oriental music, such as the quartet of Markos Vamvakaris, Artémis (pseudonym of Ανέστης or Ανέστος Δελιάς), Stratos Payioumtzis, and Batis came out of this music scene. Vamvakaris became perhaps the first renowned rebetiko musician after the beginning of his solo career.

Other popular rebetiko songwriters and singers of this period (1940s) include: Dimitris Gogos (better known as Bayandéras), Stelios Perpiniadis, Stratos Payioumtzis, Giannis Papaioannou, Giorgos Mouflouzelis, and Apostolos Hatzichristos.

The scene was soon popularized further by stars like Vassilis Tsitsanis. His song Συννεφιασμένη Κυριακή - Synnefiasméni Kyriakí became an anthem for the oppressed Greeks when it was composed in 1943, despite the fact that it was not recorded until 1948. He was followed by female singers like Marika Ninou, Ioanna Yiorgakopoulou, and Sotiria Bellou. In 1953, Manolis Chiotis added a fourth pair of strings to the bouzouki, which allowed it to be tuned tonally (Western tuning) and set the stage for the future 'electrification' of rebetiko. This final era of rebetiko (mid 1940s-1953) also featured the emergence of night clubs (κέντρα διασκεδάσεως) as a means of popularizing music.

By the late 1950s, rebetiko had declined; it only survived in the form of Archontorebetiko (Αρχοντορεμπέτικο "posh rebetiko"), a refined style of rebetiko that was far more accepted by the upper class than the traditional form of the genre. The mainstream popularity of archontorebetiko paved the way for Éntekhno and Laïkó.

Rebetiko in its original form was revived during the Junta of 1967–1974, when the Regime of the Colonels banned it. After the end of the Junta, many revival groups (and solo artists) appeared. The most notable of them include Opisthodhromiki Kompania, Rembetiki Kompania, Agathonas Iakovidis, Ta Pedhia apo tin Patra, Dimitris Kontogiannis, Marió, and Babis Tsertos.


Drawing on rebetiko's westernization by Tsitsanis and Chiotis, Éntekhno arose in the late 1950s. Éntekhno (lit. meaning "art song") is orchestral music with elements from Greek folk rhythm and melody; its lyrical themes are often political or based on the work of famous Greek poets. As opposed to other forms of Greek urban folk music, éntekhno concerts would often take place outside a hall or a night club in the open air. Mikis Theodorakis and Manos Hadjidakis were the most popular early composers of éntekhno song cycles. Other significant Greek songwriters included Stavros Kouyoumtzis, Manos Loïzos, and Dimos Moutsis. Significant lyricists of this genre are Manos Eleftheriou, and poet Tasos Livaditis. By the 1960s, innovative albums helped éntekhno become close to mainstream, and also led to its appropriation by the film industry for use in soundtracks. A form of éntekhno which is even closer to Western Classical music was introduced during the late 1970s and 1980s by Thanos Mikroutsikos. (See the section 'Other popular trends' below for further information on Néo kýma and Contemporary éntekhno.)


Composers: Performers:


Laïkó (λαϊκό τραγούδι "song of the people, folk song" or αστική λαϊκή μουσική "urban folk music"), also known today as classic laïkó (κλασικό/παλιό λαϊκό), was the mainstream popular music of Greece during the 50s and 60s. As it was the case with éntekhno, laïkó emerged after the popularization of rebetiko; but the musical style and lyrical themes of classic laïkó songs were far more orientalized and can be compared with Turkey's fantezi songs. The influence of oriental music on laïkó can be most strongly seen in 1960s indoyíftika (ινδογύφτικα) "indianmarker gypsy (songs)" (or ινδοπρεπή "indian-like"), which can be described as filmi with Greek lyrics. Manolis Angelopoulos was the most popular indoyíftika performer, while pure laïkó (colloquially known as Mournful laïkó - Βαρύ (lit. "heavy") λαϊκό) was dominated by superstars such as Stelios Kazantzidis and Stratos Dionysiou. The more cheerful version of laïkó, called elafró laïkó (ελαφρολαϊκό - elafrolaïkó "light laïkó"), was often used in musicals during the Golden Age of Greek cinema.

Among the most significant songwriters and lyricists of this category are considered Akis Panou, George Zambetas, Apostolos Kaldáras, Giorgos Mitsakis, Babis Bakális, Giannis Papaioannou, and Eftichia Papagianopoulos. Many artists have combined the traditions of éntekhno and laïkó with considerable success, such as the composers Mimis Plessas, Stavros Xarchakos, and Giorgos Mouzakis, and the lyricist Lefteris Papadopoulos.

During the same era, there was also another kind of soft music (ελαφρά μουσική, also simply called ελαφρό - elafró "soft (song)", literally "light") which became fashionable; it was represented by ensembles of singers/musicians such as the Katsamba Brothers duo, the Trio Kitara, the Trio Belcanto, and the Trio Athene. The genre's sound was an imitation of the then contemporary Cuban and Mexican folk music but also had elements from the early Athenian popular songs.

Laïkó in its original form eventually declined in popularity in the mid 1970s. Today, its tradition survives in the form of Éntekhno laïkó (Έντεχνο λαϊκό).



Classic laïkó

Éntekhno laïkó
1970s-2000s (also known as Contemporary laïkó - Σύγχρονο λαϊκό τραγούδι)

Modern laïká

Modern laïká or Laïká (not to be confused with the Laïkó genre) is currently Greece's mainstream music.

Laïká songs usually take the form of a sentimental ballad, in which case rock, and folk instrumentation is used, but they may also be closer to Western dance pop music (the latter type of laïká songs is referred to as laïkο-pop - λαϊκο-πόπ).

The term modern laïká comes from the phrase μοντέρνα λαϊκά (τραγούδια) "modern songs of the people". Laïká emerged as a style in the early 1980s. An indispensable part of the laïká culture is the písta - πίστα (pl.: πίστες) "dance floor/venue" (formerly known as λαϊκό πάλκο "folk palcoscenico/stage"), a specific type of night club akin to the type of folk music club that exists in most Balkan countries. The main dances accompanying laïká are tsifteteli (on the table) τσιφτετέλι (πάνω σε τραπέζι) (typically for women), zeibekiko ζεϊμπέκικο (typically for men), and hasapiko χασάπικο (typically for groups of two or three people holding each other's shoulders).

Due to the considerable influence popular Greek music has from Turkeymarker and the Middle East, there have been exchanges of musical themes, and several duets of Greek singers with singers from these areas during the 2000s; Greek singers like Sarbel have translated songs from Arabic to Greek that have become extremely popular. Also, with the latest Greek-Turkish relations warming, there have been written songs by composers from either of the two countries that are sung as a duet in both languages. A good example of a song crossing the three cultures is the song Anavis Foties by Despina Vandi which has been adapted into Arabic by Fadel Shaker (Dehket Al-Donya), and also has been adapted as a Turkish-Greek duet (entitled Aşka Yürek Gerek) performed by Mustafa Sandal, a popular singer from Turkey, and Greek singer Natalia Doussopoulos.

Renowned songwriters of modern laïká include Nikos Karvelas, Phoebus, Nikos Terzis, and the Pegasos duo (Antonis and Dimitris Paravomvolakis). Renowned lyricists include Giorgos Theofanous, Evi Droutsa, and Natalia Germanou.




In effect, there is no single name for modern laïká in the Greek language, but it is often formally referred to as σύγχρονο λαϊκό, a term which is however also used for denoting newly composed songs in the tradition of "proper" Laïkó; when ambiguity arises σύγχρονο ("contemporary") λαϊκό or disparagingly λαϊκο-ποπ ("folk-pop", also in the sense of "westernized") is used for the former, while γνήσιο ("proper, genuine, true") or even καθαρόαιμο ("pureblood") λαϊκό is used for the latter. The choice of contrasting the notions of "westernized" and "genuine" may often be based on ideological and aesthetic grounds.

Note: In this article, there has been employed a less charged terminology where the word Laïkó (short for παλιό λαϊκό) is reserved for the traditional genre of Greek urban folk music, while the word Laïká (short for μοντέρνα λαϊκά) is used as a technical term to denote the style of urban folk music originating in the 1980s.


Despite its immense popularity, the genre of modern laïká (especially laïkο-pop) has come under scrutiny for "featuring musical clichés, average singing voices and slogan-like lyrics" and for "being a hybrid, neither laïkó, nor pop".


Tsiftetéli is a type of music that was brought over by refugees from Asia Minormarker in the 1920s. It can be described as the Greek version of belly dance music. The Arabic and Turkish influence on this type of music is very clear, and adds to the cultural similarities Greeks have with the Middle East. Tsiftetéli is a very popular style of Modern Greek music, and notable modern laïká artists, such as Katy Garbi, Anna Vissi, Despina Vandi, Eleni Karousaki, and Giorgos Mazonakis, have frequently included it in their music.


Skyládiko (or Skyládika) is the byname of the Greek variation of Arabesque and Balkan pop folk music.



"Trash" singers
The general popularity of skyládiko in Greece is considered to be associated with the recent rise in popularity of several so-called "trash" or "decadent" (παρακμιακοί) singers such as Efi Thodi, Vera Labrou, and Stella Bezantakou, and with the 2007 music chart success of several tabloid talk show participants' singles (see Nikos Katelis for further information).

Balkan pop, skyládika, and laïká
Skyládiko is akin to the Serbianmarker Turbo-folk and Bulgarianmarker Chalga, since all of them feature the same sort of balkan folk melodies (including Romani and Arabesque influences) combined with dance music, and share a distinctive kitch aesthetic. The same thing cannot be said with equal certainty for modern laïká, since the stylistic origins of the latter are slightly more varied than the ones of skyládiko; laïká originates in classic laïkó ballad, pop ballad, dance pop, arabesque love songs, and tsiftetéli.

Other popular trends

Folk singer-songwriters (τραγουδοποιοί) first appeared in the 1960s after Dionysis Savvopoulos' 1966 breakthrough album Fortighó. Many of these musicians started out playing Néo kýma, "New wave" (not to be confused with New Wave rock), a mixture of éntekhno and chansons from Francemarker. Savvopoulos mixed American musicians like Bob Dylan and Frank Zappa with Macedonian folk music and politically incisive lyrics. In his wake came more folk-influenced performers like Arleta, Mariza Koch, and Kostas Hatzis. This short-lived music scene flourished in a specific type of boîte de nuit called bouát (μπουάτ).

A notable musical trend in the 1970s (during the Junta of 1967–1974 and a few years after its end) was the rise in popularity of the topical songs (πολιτικό τραγούδι "political song"). Classic éntekhno composers associated with this movement include Mikis Theodorakis, Thanos Mikroutsikos, Giannis Markopoulos, and Manos Loïzos.

Nikos Xydakis, one of Savvopoulos' pupils, was among the people who revolutionized laïkó by using orientalized instrumentation. His most successful album was 1987's Kondá sti Dhóxa miá Stigmí, recorded with Eleftheria Arvanitaki.

Thanasis Polykandriotis, laïkó composer and classically trained bouzouki player, became renowned for his mixture of rebetiko and orchestral music (as in his 1996 composition "Concert for Bouzouki and Orchestra No. 1").

A popular trend since the late 1980s has been the fusion of éntekhno (urban folk ballads with artistic lyrics) with pop / soft rock music (έντεχνο ποπ-ροκ). Moreover, certain composers, such as Dimitris Papadimitriou have been inspired by elements of the classic éntekhno tradition and written songs cycles for singers of contemporary éntekhno music, such as Fotini Darra. The most renowned contemporary éntekhno (σύγχρονο έντεχνο) lyricist is Lina Nikolakopoulou.

There are however other composers of instrumental and incidental music (including filmscores and music for the stage), whose work cannot be easily classified, such as Giannis Markopoulos, Stamatis Spanoudakis, Giannis Spanos, Giorgos Hatzinasios, Giorgos Tsangaris, Nikos Kypourgos, Eleni Karaindrou, and Evanthia Remboutsika. Vangelis and Yanni were among the few Greek instrumental composers who became internationally renowned; their work nevertheless had little influence on the tradition of Greek instrumental music.

Regarding "purely western" pop music, though it has always had a considerable amount of listeners supporting it throughout the history of the post 1960s Greek music, it has only very recently (late 2000s) reached the popularity of laïkó/laïká, and there is a tendency among many urban folk artists to turn to more pop-oriented sounds.


The following classification is conventional and categories may occasionally overlap with each other.
Néo Kýma

Contemporary éntekhno
1980s-2000s (partial overlap with contemporary laïkó and éntekhno pop)

Éntekhno pop / rock

Classic pop
1960s-1970s (songs from this period of Greek pop were mainly pop ballads)

Contemporary pop

Teen pop

Pop rock / Soft rock

Mainstream hip hop / Pop rap
1990s-2000s crews

Independent music scenes

Since the late 1970s various independent scenes of "marginal" musical genres have appeared in Greece (mainly in Athensmarker, Piraeusmarker, and Thessalonikimarker). Most of them were short-lived and never gained mainstream popularity but the most prominent artists/bands of these scenes are critically acclaimed today and are considered among the pioneers of independent Greek music (each one in their own genre).


See also


  1. "Η μουσική ζωή στη Σμύρνη στα τέλη του 19ου αιώνα έως το 1922 και η συμβολή της στο ρεμπέτικο"
  2. Gail Holst-Warhaft "Electrifying the Nisiotika"
  3. Panayiotis Kounadis 1993: 23
  4. Eirini Theodosopoulou, “The Greek traditional music as a means of knowledge and Aestheticism”
  5. "Foustalieris"
  6. Lambros Liavas 1988
  7. Cretan Tradition
  8. Giorgos Papadakis "Για την Ελληνική μουσική"
  9. "Κυρίαρχη αισθητική και μουσικό γούστο" - article on 'Kathimerini'
  10. Greek Music
  12. "Oι εφτά ψυχές του λαϊκού τραγουδιού" - article on 'Kathimerini'
  13. Article by Tasos P. Karantis on
  14. Article on 'Eleftherotypia'
  15. Takis Kalogeropoulos: "Neo Kyma" in Lexiko tis Ellinikis mousikis, Athens 1998–99. ISBN 9607555392 . ( online version)
  16. "Political Song"
  17. In contemporary use though, the terms έντεχνο ποπ, and έντεχνο ροκ may be ambiguously used to denote, respectively, Grecophone indie pop and alternative rock songs, not necessarily having the typical characteristics of éntekhno.
  18. "Στροφή στο ελληνικό τραγούδι" - article on 'Ta Nea'


  • .
  • Ulrich, Homer, and Paul Pisk (1963). A History of Music and Musical Style. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanoich. LCCN 63013512 .
  • Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, pp. 126-142. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0 .
  • Notaras, Giorgos. Το ελληνικό τραγούδι των τελευταίων 30 χρόνων, 1991. ISBN 9602361484 .
  • Dubin, Marc and Pissalides, George (liner notes). Songs of the Near East, 2001.

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