CULTURE

Extensive DVD release documents the history of 78s

The publication -about a year and a half ago- of a book documenting old 78 rpm gramophone records released here from the birth of the music industry up to 1961, when the format was finally abandoned, made a terrific impression. At the time of the titleís release, a story run by Kathimerini described the task of tracking and listing approximately 24,000 songs and 12,000 old 78s -with a track on either side- for one publication as a ‘decadeslong Herculean effort.’ The project, ‘Ek peraton discographia grammophonou’ (The Complete Gramophone Discography) has low been taken a step further with an additional -and revised- release in DVD format. This latest effort includes corrections that were deemed necessary as well as new information that has emerged since the previous edition. A project assembled by Dionysis D. Maniatis that was published in DVD format by www.rebetiko.gr, a comprehensive website devoted to rebetika – the early-20th-century music style that moved from the country’s subculture to the mainstream in a two-decade progression- comes as a welcome addition. A user-friendly DVD, it offers more convenient access to its rich and varied content. Its preceding edition on paper may have provided seemingly limitless information on the country’s gramophone history, including the record labels behind each release and dates of releases, but, no doubt, the DVD, which comes complete with a search engine, certainly simplifies the task of finding specific facts. In their fact-finding quests, users can make combined queries and hit the target with one go. For example, it would take just seconds to find out which Vassilis Tsitsanis compositions were sung by Markos Vamvakaris in 1940. Moreover, the DVD edition is also open to the addition of details by its users, including comments, photographs and even songs in the compressed MP3 format for further enrichment. These additions can also be posted on the online database of www.rebetiko.gr. The DVD edition of ‘The Complete Gramophone Discography’ comes with a detailed manual as well as a short instructional video, while technical support is also offered by emailing its technicians at [email protected] Now 75, Maniatis has maintained his passion for collecting old gramophone and vinyl records throughout his life. Besides the music in his immense private collection, Maniatis also needed to sift his way through numerous other collections and archives belonging to other collectors as well as foundations. His gigantic task includes over 110 record labels that released Greek music in gramophone format between 1896 and 1961, both in Greece and abroad. The record labels are alphabetically listed with the details of releases, including the number of copies printed. ‘The Complete Gramophone Discography’ on DVD promises to facilitate deeper research into Greek music of the 20th century, and Greek society, too, should we consider the social dimension in the history of music.