Rebetika and Catharsis: Cultural Practice as Crisis Management


  • Yona Stamatis University of Illinois Springfield



rebetika, catharsis, music therapy, economic crisis, crisis,


In the context of the economic crisis in Greece, cultural practice serves as an important local level coping mechanism. Participants in the popular Rebetiki Istoria rebetadiko in Athens have adapted their nightly musicking into a crisis management culture. As the working-class audiences enjoy relevant rebetiko songs of the early twentieth century, they work through their anxieties about the current economic situation. The theoretical framework for this discussion is catharsis that describes emotional release achieved through music or art. Proposing a cultural approach to catharsis research, the article offers a clear tripartite theoretical model for the examination of catharsis in diverse musicking contexts.

Author Biography

Yona Stamatis, University of Illinois Springfield

Yona Stamatis, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology in the Department of Art, Music, and Theater at the University of Illinois Springfield. Dr. Stamatis specializes in rebetika music of Greece in the context of the current economic crisis and in the context of national identity conflict. Her secondary research area is music education as a means for transformative learning and the development of new methodologies for student-centered music and social justice education. Dr. Stamatis performs violin and bouzouki with the Athens-based Rebetiki Istoria band and plays violin in the Illinois Symphony Orhcestra.




How to Cite

Stamatis, Y. (2016). Rebetika and Catharsis: Cultural Practice as Crisis Management. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 15(3).