Various Artists – Canary Records: The Heart of a Mangas: Intersections of Popular Greek Theater & Rebetiko in Chicago & New York, 1923-29

The ever-brilliant Canary Records graces us with more Greek theater music and rebetiko.  From the release’s Bandcamp site:

The word “mangas” for instance is untranslatable into English but has remained central to the notion of rebetika. It is a word that indicates a man who does not aspire to middle-class values and knows something deep about how to operate in the world. It has been compared to a “dude” or a “hipster” in their old, early 20th century senses as someone with their own way of being, based on the hardness of life, created outside of societal norms. Some correlate it (accurately, I think) to the contemporary American usage of “gangsta,” just as it was correlated a generation ago to the 1930s usage of “apache” to describe a similar demimonde type in Paris in the 1930s. Spiv. Ruffneck. Motherfucker. Badass. There must be dozens of other possible context-dependent translations. On these old records, we see it translated into English as “hobo” and “bum,” indicating the anti-capitalist and pro-intoxicant lifestyles but with more dismissal and judgement. As an Anglophone, I will likely never have total access to the word in its fullness. It is interesting to notice that as it arose, in the ’20s, it didn’t come out of nowhere.

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