The rebétiko music played by Greek immigrants in the United States and recorded by American companies reflects the traditional culture of the immigrants and may thus serve to illuminate the attitude of the immigrant artist toward his or her ethnic identity and the problems of becoming integrated into new cultural surroundings. Before we can judge the actual music and its cultural significance, we must have precise ideas about which materials may be used to determine the musical culture in the immigrant community. Were recordings in Athens made with the Greek-American public in mind? As a rule, Greek musicians stayed outside the mainstream of American popular music; only in rare cases did they change their traditional means of expression. There are few examples of influence from other popular ethnic music cultures in the United States. One of the main differences between the Greek and the Greek-American rebétika songs seems to be the attitude to drugs; there are so few drug songs in the recorded American output of rebétika that this must reflect a deliberate choice either by the musicians or by the record companies.


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pp. 130-138
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