»If ever you wanted a record to justify that ‘Greek blues’ tag, Mystakidis’ CD is the one. Just his solo acoustic guitar and voice, plus a few touches of guest vocal, it’s a thing of understated power and wonder. From its opening version of the familiar standard Kai Giati De Mas To Les with its stately fingerpicking (“f*** me, Skip James meets Ali Farka Touré”, one friend exclaimed), it could be a masterclass and inspiration for many, its cross-pollination of new-and old-world bending the ears somewhat in the way that Davey Graham’s early records did more than five decades ago. The classily simple bilingual Greek/English blue package outlines the historical background and spells out the tunings used too. It’s a a bit of a treasure and deserves to become a reference point for open-minded acoustic guitar fans worldwide« – fROOTS
“Tsibiti” guitar style (rembetiko fingerpicking) and the Greek Blues
Prompted by the special “tsibiti” technique (rembetiko fingerstyle) and the singular guitar playing of Katsaros, Doussas and Kostis, Dimitris Mystakidis reinterprets in his own personal manner rembetika that have been released and performed only in America.
The Greek Blues
Rembetiko fingerstyle, a.k.a. the “tsibiti” technique, was developed in the United States in the beginning of the 20th century, mainly by Kostas Dousas and Yiorgos Katsaros, but also in Greece by Kostas Bezos (A. Kostis). The brilliance and adaptability of these folk musicians led their artistry to unexplored paths: Influenced by the fingerpicking technique of Afroamerican bluesmen, they embraced the distinct open tunings they found in America, creating an original guitar playing technique. The melodies from the homeland, along with their own compositions, acquired a new sound in the neighborhoods of the New World.
History repeats itself
The pain of separation, the long and arduous journey to America, the struggle for survival and acclimatization, marginalization, illegalities, nostalgia and the dream of return, are passing as movie pictures through the songs of the album. The music, sober but skillfully ‘woven’, depicts sorrows, recalls memories and triggers emotions.
Nearly a century later, Greece is experiencing a deep economic crisis and is witnessing a new migration wave. Mostly young and well-educated Greeks are forced to leave their homeland and seek their fortune abroad. At the same time refugees and immigrants from the Middle East are blocked in Greece on their way to northern Europe.
Dimitris Mystakidis dedicates his new album “AMERIKA” to those who left their homeland in search of a better life, but didn’t make it. And he notes:
Same play, different protagonists
a helpless country sending its children away
the immense struggle for existence and acclimatization
the power of dream
the fear and racism of the settled
Released by Fishbowl (April 2017). For more info, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.