Greek Immigrants at the Basement of the USA
“I’ll never forget the day I left my home….” These are the opening lyrics of one of the first recorded blues songs (1916). Cliché though as it may sound, the line above could refer to both jazz and Greek urban music. In this musical performance, early swing and blues pieces will be performed side by side with traditional urban Greek songs, immortalized in recordings by Greeks who immigrated to the USA. This musical tour is accompanied by excerpts from Maria Sarantopoulou-Oikonomidou’s book The Greeks of America as I Saw Them, published in 1916, in which she recounts her experiences from a 1913 trip to the USA. Two performers will enact the parts. One will play the author/narrator. The other performer will portray three characters: a singer and prostitute working in a mining camp, the girlfriend of an American worker, and a woman in an interracial marriage.