Pasatempo Rebetika is a group dedicated to playing old-style rebetika music. Rebetika (often referred to as "Greek blues") is the down-and-out music of the Greek ports and taverns that expresses the sorrows and joys of life (in that order!). Featuring husband and wife team Christos Govetas and Ruth Hunter, the music focuses on the vocal stories told in each song. The two voices convey the love and pain, the hardship and passion that life contains. The voices are set in a lush tapestry of sound featuring the soul instrument of Greece, the bouzouki, with its smaller cousin, the baghlama, guitar, accordion and acoustic bass. The tunes tell stories of love, heartbreak, jail and death, and run the gamut of emotion from laughter to tears. We hope you enjoy them!
Christos Govetas is well known in the US and Greece as a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist and has several releases to his credit, including traditional music with folk groups Pangeo and Ziyia, and a Grammy-nominated recording with jazz-man Bill Frisell (The Intercontinentals). Christos got his start when he was bussing tables in a Boston Greek restaurant. He was called up on stage to sing and soon formed his own group Taximi which played Rebetika. Christos teaches Greek music at workshops around the country and was the recipient of the prestigious Northwest Folk Arts Fellowship Award honoring his cultural contribution to the Greek-American community.
Ruth Hunter is also deeply involved in the Greek community in her adopted home-town of Seattle. She directs a folk chorus at Saint Demetrios Greek Church and teaches singing and performs at music festivals throughout the country and in Greece. She sings and plays accordion, kanoun, guitar and tambura.
Dave Bartley plays mandolin, guitar, cittern, tambura and numerous other plucked instruments. He has also written scores of tunes, some of which are working their way into repertoires around the country. Dave is a force in the contradance world, playing with KGB, BAG o’Tricks, Close Call and Tricky Brits. Dave has studied and played music of the Balkans and has played with local dance-troupe Radost, global songstress Gina Sala, Balkan dance-band Aegean View and is an alumnus of Pangéo.
Hank Bradley has been playing old-time American string music since 1961, and Balkan music (Croatian, Serbian, Romanian and Greek) since 1970.
Proficient at a variety of instruments, he is also the author of Counterfeiting, Stealing and Cultural Plundering (1989) and A Brief Introduction to Balkan Music (1991)(Mill Gulch Music). He has composed many beloved tunes.
Currently, Hank plays traditional and original music with his wife, Cathie Whitesides. He is also in demand as a Greek musician. Hank and Cathie also are part of the group called Cafe Dunav, with which Sandra Layman sometimes appears.
BILL LANPHIER (Bass)
First a pianist and then a drummer, Bill "WBGO" Lanphier switched to bass at the age of 19. Currently, Bill is easily one of the most in-demand Balkan bassists in the USA, performing regularly with more than a half-dozen groups specializing in Bulgarian, Rom, Macedonian, Turkish, Romanian, Greek, Albanian and Armenian music. He has appeared on stage with several renowned Balkan artists including Vassil Bebelekov, Nikolay Georgiev, Christos Govetas, Nikolai Kolev, Ivan Milev, Georgi Georgiev, Georgi Petrov, Rumen Shopov, Gergana Toncheva, Mitko Tonchev, Trifon Trifonov, Ivan Varimezova, Tzvetanka Varimezova, Nedyalko Nedyalkov and Yasko Argirov.
Also deeply involved with Western music, Bill's bass playing can be heard on hundreds of radio and TV commercials. Bill has recorded with the Rippingtons, Richard Carpenter, Harry Chapin and Stephen Stills. Bill has performed live with Madonna (the 1985 Virgin Tour and Live Aid), Tom Scott, Kenny G, David Foster, Michael Bolton, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Art Garfunkle, Linda Ronstadt and Rickie Lee Jones.
Also a magazine writer, Bill's work has been published in Bass Player and Hal Leonard music publications. His playing and compositions are featured on the highly-acclaimed and top-selling instructional video, "The Slap Bass Program."
Steve Ramsey (baglama) has been playing folk music from the Balkans for over 30 years. He has been a student of Greek Rebetiko music for the past 20 years. I addition to playing baglama, bouzouki and tzouras with Christos Govetas and Pasatempo, he currently plays the tambura, bugarija and guitar and performs with Balkan Cabaret.This group features the classic and timeless repertoire from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Bulgaria.
Steve began his training in Balkan music in the 1970’s as a founding member of Seattle’s Radost Folk Ensemble and served on the Board and as Music Director for the company’s 1981 tour of Eastern Europe. He moved to California in 1984 and began performing regularly with 3 different groups- the Village Folk Dance Orkestra, Mozarab and the Evergreen Middle Eastern Ensemble for the next 17 years.
Steve returned to the Northwest in 2000 to take the job as General Manager of KBCS 91.3FM the Community Radio station serving the Greater Puget Sound region. He continues in that role today.
For more information or to contact, please go to www.kyklosmusic.com