Rembetika Songs and Their ‘Return’ to Anatolia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article examines the representation of rembetika music in Turkey since the 1990s. As a genre which is closely intertwined with migration, rembetika has multilingual and multicultural origins, encompassing Ottoman-Greek, Ottoman-Turkish, Greek, Arabic, Slavic and Balkan elements, dating back to the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries. Its recent revival within the Turkish music scene has as much to do with a renewed interest in the music of the minorities as with the so-called ‘thaw in relationships’ between Greece and Turkey. However this revival raises certain questions as to the choice and presentation of songs in the recent rembetika recordings issued in Turkey, the liner notes included with the recordings, and the decision to translate or not to translate the songs’ lyrics. The article argues that in the context of rembetika in Turkey, the existence of translations/rewritings of lyrics indicates an ‘othering’ process, while simultaneously ensuring an ‘after-life’ for rembetika songs in a land which reputedly gave birth to them in the first place.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-78
JournalTranslator: Studies in Intercultural Communication
Volume12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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