Róza Eskenázi

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Arguably the most famous of all Greek singers, Róza Eskenázi was born in Istanbul at the turn of the 20th century. A Sephardic Jew whose music drew great inspiration from the era's Turkish vocalists,…
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Arguably the most famous of all Greek singers, Róza Eskenázi was born in Istanbul at the turn of the 20th century. A Sephardic Jew whose music drew great inspiration from the era's Turkish vocalists, she moved with her family to Thrace as a child, and in 1922 relocated to Athens, where she began singing in cafés for tips. Discovered by the renowned composer and recording executive Panayotis Tundas, Eskenázi began expanding her repertoire at his encouragement to include popular songs from the Greek mainland; over time her reputation began to grow, and by the 1930s she was among the nation's most popular performers, particularly among the Greek diaspora. Her fame rested on successful performances of rembetika songs including "Young Butcher," "Little Mary" and "Among the Beauties of Athens," and by the 1940s she was even recording regularly in the United States. Eskenázi died in 1981.