Laïkó (Greek: λαϊκό τραγούδι, pronounced [laiˈko traˈɣuði], "song of the people"; "popular song", (pl: laïká (tragoudia)), is a Greek music genre composed by Greek lyricks and the traditions of the Greek people. Also called folk song or urban folk music (Gr: αστική λαϊκή μουσική or λαϊκά τραγούδια laïká (tragoudia)), in its plural form is a Greek music genre which has taken many forms over the years. As it was the case with éntekhno, laïkó emerged after the popularization of rebetiko; An influence of laïkó can be most strongly seen in 1960s Greek music. Although the term is used to describe the whole of the Greek popular music, when used in context it refers mostly to the form it took in the period from the 1950s to the 1980s.
Rebetiko and Elafró tragoudi
Until the 1930s the Greek discography was dominated by two musical genres: the Greek folk music (demotiká) and the Elafró tragoudi (literally: "light song"). The latter was represented by ensembles of singers/musicians or solo artists like Attik and Nikos Gounaris. It was the Greek version of the international popular music of the era. In the 1930s the first rebetiko recordings had a massive impact on Greek music. As Markos Vamvakaris stated "we were the first to record laïká (popular) songs". In the years to follow this type of music, the first form of what is now called laïkó tragoudi, became the mainstream Greek music.
Elafró tragoudi Artists
Classic laïkó as it is known today, was the mainstream popular music of Greece during the 1960s and 1970s. Laïkó was dominated by singers such as Stelios Kazantzidis. Among the most significant songwriters and lyricists of this period are George Zambetas and the big names of the Rebetiko era that where still in business, like Vassilis Tsitsanis and Manolis Chiotis. Many artists combined the traditions of éntekhno and laïkó with considerable success, such as the composers Stavros Xarchakos and Mimis Plessas.
Contemporary laïkó (σύγχρονο λαϊκό) (also called Modern laïkó) can be called in Greece the mainstream music genre, with variations in plural form as Contemporary laïká. Along with Modern laïká in Greek is currently Greece's mainstream music genre. Contemporary laïká emerged as a style in the early 1980s. An indispensable part of the contemporary laïká culture is the písta(πίστα; pl.: πίστες) dance floor/venue. Night clubs at which the DJs play only contemporary laïká where colloquially known on the 90s as ellinádhika. The main Greek dances and rhythms of today's Greek music culture laïká are Nisiotika, Syrta, Rebetika, Hasapiko, Zeibekiko, Hasaposerviko, Kalamatianos and Syrtaki. Renowned songwriters or lyricists of contemporary laïká include Alekos Chrysovergis, Nikos Karvelas, Phoebus, Nikos Terzis, Giorgos Theofanous and Evi Droutsa.
Modern laiko is traditional Greek laïkó music mixed in with modern Western influences, from such international mainstream genres as pop music and dance. One of the first artists in Greece to pioneer this was Anna Vissi. She introduced rock elements in the early 1990s and dance pop elements in the early 2000s. The more cheerful version of laïkó, called elafró laïkó (ελαφρολαϊκό – elafrolaïkó 'light laïkó') and it was often used in musicals during the Golden Age of Greek cinema. Τhe big Greek Peiraiotes superstar Tolis Voskopoulos gave the after-modern version of Greek Laïko (Ελληνικό Λαϊκό) listenings. Many artists have combined the traditions of éntekhno and laïkó with considerable success, such as the composers Mimis Plessas and Stavros Xarchakos.
In effect, there is no single name for contemporary laïká in the Greek language, but it is often formally referred to as σύγχρονο λαϊκό [ˈsiŋxrono laiˈko], a term which is however also used for denoting newly composed songs in the tradition of "proper" Laïkó; when ambiguity arises, σύγχρονο ("contemporary") λαϊκό or disparagingly λαϊκο-πόπ ("folk-pop", also in the sense of "westernized") is used for the former, while γνήσιο ("proper, genuine, true") or even καθαρόαιμο ("pureblood") λαϊκό is used for the latter. The choice of contrasting the notions of "westernized" and "genuine" may often be based on ideological and aesthetic grounds. Laiko interacted more westernized sounds in the late of 2000s. The term modern laïká comes from the phrase μοντέρνα λαϊκά (τραγούδια), modern songs of the people.
Despite its immense popularity, the genre of contemporary laïká (especially laïkο-pop) has come under scrutiny for "featuring musical clichés, average singing voices and slogan-like lyrics" and for "being a hybrid, neither laïkó, nor pop". Critics of the genre relate it with Skiladiko, mentioning the low quality and the indispensable common part of the pista (πίστα - pl.: πίστες) "dance floor/venue".
Some well-known artists representing this genre include:
Greek folk music
Nightclubs in Greece
Medieval Greece / Byzantine Empire
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