a sound that could communicate more empathy and Angst then any other
Rebetissis before or since, Ioanna Yeorgakopoulou may well have been
the finest Classical " I Derbesissa", who's voice ever
graced a microphone . She was the very first of the second generation
of Rebetissis and helped usher in the " Golden Era" of
Rebetika . She would later be followed by the likes of Sotiria Bellou
and Marika Ninou . It 's always difficult to try and explain why
we might prefer one artist over another, especially at this rarefied
level. Personal preferences are not necessarily easy to rationalize or
even describe in great detail . Such assessments are always very
subjective and more often then not , tell you a great deal more about
the individual drawing the conclusion then the subject in question .
However having admitted to that , I am probably just one of a number
of Rebetiko fans , that would still have to cast his vote for Ioanna
Yeorgakopoulou as the Penultimate Rebetissis of her generation and
possibly just maybe of all time . Quite an assertion considering the
competition. However for me as well as a few others ,
Yeorgakopoulou always seemed to have that certain something ( call it
the proverbial " IT " in her voice ) , that was very
special indeed . If someone were to try and force me in
justifying this assessment with anything even remotely resembling
reason or objectivity , I would have to direct the listeners attention
to Yeorgakopoulou's extraordinary ability in turning a phrase .
That capacity coupled with a voice that just somehow seems to cut
right through to where we live , has always been something of a killer
combination for this one very jaded roving Rebetiko reporter . Her
unforced delivery and effortless fluid style , have always been
very reminicent of the late great American Jazz singer Bille Holiday .
Ioanna Yeorgakopoulou began her recording career during the late
1930's and after an " artistic hiatus" ( compliments of the
Nazi occupation ), resumed her career activity after W.W.II . Although
she recorded extensively , her material has for some unknown (and very
irritating) reason , been very difficult to come by in the USA .
Hopefully that will change soon . Ioanna Yeorgakopoulou was born
in 1920 and as of this writing is still very much with us and resides
with her family somewhere in Greece .