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The Rembetika Hipsters

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    Bring Me Preza To Smoke - Ferte Preza Na Prezaro - Φέρτε Πρέζα Να Πρεζάρω
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The Rembetika Hipsters started as a duo in 1996, Nick Diochnos (bouzouki, vocals), and Allen Baekeland (guitar, vocals), longtime musical pals looking for a departure from their rock and country backgrounds.
Nick had taken up the bouzouki under the teaching of master Toronto musician Kostas Apostolakis, who introduced him to the incredible and somewhat forgotten catalogue of pre-WW II Greek rembetika songs. Nick and Allen began performing these songs in Greek eateries, where they met and added Ben Johnson (percussion), Lincoln Frey (clarinet) and Brigitte Dajczer (violin). This lineup wrote and recorded original songs in the rembetika tradition, coloured by jazz, rock and experimental music. The band released two CDs, Architects of Narghile (2001) and Dinner In Polidroso (2004) and toured festivals, clubs and concert halls from the Maritimes to the Yukon, as well as in Greece in 2001 and 2006.
In 2004, the band recruited violinist Jonathan Lewis to replace Dajczer. He quickly became captivated by the many styles of Greek traditional music, and journeyed there in 2010 to study in Kastoria under violinist Aourel Kyrio. Lewis produced their acclaimed album Kafeneion (2011). Also added was Giorgos Iosifelis on bass (the band's second native of Greece).
In 2013 the band began working with Australian Racheal Cogan, formerly of Ross Daly’s Labyrinth ensemble. She contributed recorder and vocals to two traditional demotika songs released in 2017 (Tzivaeri/Sergiani).

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