Justin Bieber announced that he will release a new Greek album with rembetika music, surprising his fans…and the world.
The singer, who is now on tour in Germany, visited Greece during his day off to show support for the crisis-hit country, and also to discover new music.
Bieber, who reviled that his great grandfather was Greek, visited a music studio in Athens and listened to a Greek band that he developed a long-distance friendship with. The pop star and the band began interacting via social media and then exchanged emails, eventually developing an online friendship.
Greek Reporter‘s local staff in Greece, who were present during Bieber’s visit to Studio 64 in Athens, asked the singer if he liked the rembetika songs. To everyone’s surprise, Bieber responded: “I love it!”
“Actually, I have some Greek blood – my great grandfather comes from Asia minor and he was Greek. I really admire the history and sounds of rembetika, and my next album will be dedicated to these Greek sounds with a modern twist,” he added.
The singer, who was in a great mood after Greek authorities allowed him to enter Greece with his pet monkey (something the Germans didn’t allow), also revealed the name of his new album and his family’s history, exclusively to Greek Reporter.
“My great grandfather’s last name was Karabiberis. When he crossed the Atlantic, he shortened it to Bieber; my new single’s title will be Karabieberim, to honor my ancestors and also the well known rembetiko song ‘Karapiperim,’ which I really like.”
The singer stayed in Greece for less than 24 hours, trying his luck on the Bouzouki before returning to Germany for his promo tour.
Earlier in the year, the singer also inked his body with a Greek tattoo, which is something he revealed he did to remind him of his connection with Greece and Greek Orthodox culture.
The album is set to record this summer and will be released late fall 2013.
For those who want to know more about what the new Bieber album will include, rebetika is a term used today to designate originally disparate kinds of urban Greek folk music that have come to be grouped together since the so-called rebetika revival, which started in the 1960s and developed further from the early 1970s onward.
You can also listen to the original version of “Karapiperim,” the Greek rembetiko song that Bieber will include in his new album:
(This article’s photo was contributed to Greek Reporter by Studio 64 in Athens, Greece)