Some of the best music in Greece is produced on the street! If you happen to listen to bouzouki while you are shopping in the Athens center, you might be close to one of the best street bands you would encounter in Greece. Usually they play on Praksitelous and Ermou streets, every day. The nameless band of 11 street musicians (the number changes as new band members are coming and going), entertains passers-by with rebetiko and other traditional Greek tunes, in what many people call a free daily live concert.
Watch the band in action:
Musicians in Greece have been hardly hit by the crisis, but there is more to playing in the streets for the members of this band than simply making ends meet. Love for music.
Konstantinos Lekkas, one of the guitar players, told the Greek Reporter that he plays on the streets, because that’s what he enjoys doing. “It was a life decision. It has nothing to do with the economic crisis,” he says.
“We are playing for the people and the only boss that we recognise is our audience”, he adds.
44-year-old Lekkas, originally from Corinthia, studied Music and Economics. However, performing on the streets is what he wants to do.
The band has one accordion player, three guitarists and five bouzouki players.
He acknowledges that he was driven into playing on the streets because of the crisis, and since many music halls have closed down.
“There is difficulty in finding a job, but we are content here in the open. We have our own club,” he says.
He says that he loves Greek music because of the similarities with Turkish music, even though Greek is more European.
“We have no bosses. That’s what I like. Nobody is telling us what to play and when to play. Our bosses are our live listeners”, he says.