The Rebetiko Carnival became an official Charity in April 2016. However, the idea began with a festival in 2014. Although the core organisers of the festival was a small group of musicians, this was the culmination of a thriving community of Rebetiko music in London over the last twenty years, bringing together people from all different backgrounds and interests. The musicians involved have spent a lot of their lives playing for people less fortunate than themselves, going to hospitals, hospices, special needs residences, communal centres for the blind and prisons over the last 10 years using Greek music as a therapy for those who need it. From it’s beautiful melodies that can be both uplifting and consoling to the rhythms that are incredible for any kind of body movement, they have been all over the country bringing this kind of relief to these communities.
They are also dedicated to education…and not only to Greeks! In today’s schools world music as well as Greek classical civilization is a part of young students’ education in English schools, so the group endeavor to take their music to non Greek speaking children and introduce them to the many riches they can explore through Greek music. Here they teach principles that apply to all music about improvisation, composition, ensemble playing, listening and performing.
So, although the Rebetiko Carnival began life as a festival, it has now evolved in such away that the festival is just one part of a larger, all encompassing whole. It is dedicated to:
The promotion of Greek music
The support of musicians and artists
Education work in both Greek and schools of all nationalities.