London concert in aid of wildfire victims in Greece and Turkey

This summer’s heatwaves across Europe created difficulties for many countries, but in Greece and Turkey it led to some of the worst wildfires in living memory.

Countless people lost their homes, and dozens were killed or injured, whilst wildlife and swathes of forest were destroyed as the fires ravaged everything in their path.

News reports left people in shock and feeling powerless to help prevent the devastation as it unfolded before our very eyes.

The flames may have been extinguished, but the aftermath has left people homeless, robbed them of their possessions, and ruined many livelihoods.

This weekend, artists of Greek and Turkish heritage in London are coming together to show solidarity with those affected, and to contribute towards supporting and rebuilding the communities most severely affected.

A Rebetiko music concert is being organised at the Cypriot Centre in Wood Green, North London this Sunday by music charity the Rebetiko Carnival. The organisation says: “We have decided to do what we do best in a bid to raise some much needed money….to sing and play music!”

For the past decade, those at the heart of charity have used music therapy to help those in need of comfort and support, with musicians performing Rebetiko for people in hospitals, hospices, special needs residences, communal centres, and prisons.

Rooted in the Greek communities of the Ottoman Empire who lived in Istanbul (then Constantinople) and Izmir (formerly Smyrna), Rebetiko is a rich synthesis of music from all over Greece and Asia Minor, Ottoman modal art music, Byzantine chant, and cafe music.

Similar to Türkü (Turkish Blues), Rebetiko songs convey “the pain and suffering of the people at the time, through war, poverty, and incarceration, as well as other deeply felt sentiments and aspects of everyday life.”

Expect Sunday’s concert to be a very moving affair. The full line-up has not been revealed, but Çiğdem Aslan and Katerina Clambaneva are among those performing.

All proceeds from the concert will be divided equally and go to two “carefully chosen organisations”, Rebetiko Carnival said.

  • Turkey: Ahbap, founded by Turkish rock singer Haluk Levent, renowned for his philanthropic activities
  • Greece: Hellenic Red Cross

Rebetiko Carnival hope Londoners will “join us in support of this truly worthy cause.” Tickets are priced £15 and on sale from Eventbrite.

The organisers have said that Covid safe measures and protocols are in place at the venue to help mitigate the risk of spreading coronavirus.

These attending should wear face coverings at all times whilst inside the venue (masks can be removed to consume food or drink). Organisers also require the names and contact phone numbers of all attendees as part of the track and trace requirement.

Concert Details

Title: Concert in aid of the fire victims in Greece and Turkey

Date: Sunday 10 October

Time:  Doors open at 7.00 pm and music starts at 7.30 pm

Venue: Cypriot Community Centre, Earlham Grove, London, N22 5HJ

Admission:  Adults £15 (+ £1.91 booking fee); Children £4.50 ( + £1.40 b.f.), available via Eventbrite – click here


Main image, top, of the forest fire in Hisaronu neighbourhood of Marmaris, Turkey, on August 2, 2021. Photo © Alizada Studios / iStock