Ioanna Yeorgakopoulou

1920 -

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With 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 .