Seriousness, Consequence and Prudence


As with any urban subculture, to really understand what the Mangas is about, one has to dive into his music. Rebetika (the plural of rebetiko) were folk songs of the urban Greek underclass that had been played and sung at least the first half of the 20th century. Starting around the late 20s and through the early 40s, a style came out into full power in the port cities of Greece, especially Pireaus, as part of the culture of Mangas, who circulated through the the taverns and small illegal hashish dens. The music favored by the demimonde were elegant and unpretentious songs which spoke directly to the heart of the listeners, often referring directly to lives of crime, getting stoned, heartbreak, getting arrested, and the search of peace and autonomy outside the mainstream society. Continue reading “Seriousness, Consequence and Prudence”

A Study of the Mangas

“A mangas is distinguished by three basic principles: seriousness, consequence and prudence,” Takis Binis, the famed rebetiko musician, has said. The mangas’ street philosophy is based on the calculable relativity of life. He has a good time and takes his pleasure very seriously. He knows when to open his mouth and when to keep it shut. He keeps a low profile – he does not need the limelight. He is “heavy”. He respects others and commands respect in turn. He does not bother and does not like to be bothered. He will not hesitate to speak his mind, nor to take the law into his own hands, when it is the only way. He smokes his hashish in a waterpipe and rolls his tobacco in newspaper. He has a double-edged knife. He dances, alone. He is of the night. Continue reading “A Study of the Mangas”