Rebetiko Carnival is a community organisation dedicated to widening access to music and supporting people in need. Run by rebetiko lovers in London, we hold regular shows and a biennial festival to fund our community work, and explore the life of rebetiko and related genres in the city!
The idea began in 2014 when the growing community of rebetiko performers in London invited leading musicians over from Greece for a series of shows. The success was palpable, but we quickly realised not everyone could enjoy it. Keen to carry our love for the music forward, we wanted a way to take rebetiko out of the bars, and into the homes of those unable to come to us. That’s how Rebetiko Carnival came to be.
Our mission as a charity is to widen participation in music through interactive performances held in people’s residences. Since 2016, we have held 4 festivals, hosted multiple visiting musicians, and funded visits with numerous institutions, including hospitals, hospices, special needs residences, communal centres, and prisons. We also work with schools by providing workshops on GCSE and A Level world music modules, and opportunities for young children to explore their musicality and gain teamwork and intercultural skills.
Last but not least, we run projects for anyone with a burning desire to get involved with rebetiko themselves! These have included a community choir, jam sessions for students and amateurs, opportunities for new bands, and workshops and seminars ranging from instrumental to history, instrument making, puppet shows and more.
Our vision for the next few years is to further develop our community work with existing and new partners, and expand the festival to include contemporary takes on rebetiko, and collaborative projects with other genres of community music.