On October 1st 2009, The National Herald commenced a biweekly column on Greek music. Interweaving historical, cultural, and anecdotal information, it is penned by vocalist Grigoris Maninakis, an insider of New York City's Greek musical scene. A popular performer both in Greece and Greek America, the author also works to preserve Greek music in the United States (gmaninakis.com/Site/Welcome.html).
Two columns are of direct interest to Greek America.
Entitled "Cafe Aman America: A Musical Tribute to the first Greek Immigrants in America" (December 12, 2009), the first addresses the circumstances leading to the production and reception of the CD "Cafe Aman America," a fascinating tribute to early U.S. Greek immigrant music (listen, music-bazaar.com/main.php?page=artist&id=3480 and see, youtube.com/watch?v=q7bVyPn8NZM).
The second column, entitled, "Musical History: N.Y.'s Music 'Boxes'–the Memorable Greek American Boites" (November 26, 2009), takes us to the golden boite era in Greek NYC in the 1980s and early 1990s, now a phenomenon of the past.
Any recollection of NYC's Greek musical scene must of course include Annabouboula, a pioneering Greek American band. With the unparalleled Anna Paidoussi as a vocalist (image above), the group combined Greek popular music with funk and psychedelic elements, producing an electrifying syncretic beat.
I find the band's performance on Nightmusic riveting:
The trio was also featured on a BBC documentary,
Also, for a solo performance by Anna Paidoussi (2004) see,
What happened to this group? How was its cultural border-crossing received by various audiences? What could we learn from the life stories of its members? What does its history tell us about Greek America?
One only hopes that ethnomusicologists and ethnographers will show interest in this fascinating band as well as the overall Greek musical scene in NYC. This is rich material begging the attention of researchers.