Roza Eskenazy

1883 ? - 1980

 

Image6.gif (22678 bytes)             rozap2.gif (53681 bytes)              rosa161.gif (13638 bytes)

 

ar2.gif (4290 bytes)

From Constantinople to the USA, Roza Eskenazi was the prototypical Rebetissis for almost every Hellenic female vocalist that followed and that included just about everyone. Take a good close look at what obviously are just a few of the great PR photos she had taken during her very long and extended career.  How could anyone not love a women like this? Able to project and promote herself like a turn of the century " Madonna", she was arguably the most famous early Greek female recording artist ever to grace the stage. Relatively little is known concerning her formative years but who do know she was born to Jewish parents in Constantinople about 1883 and later moved with her family to Thesalonica.  From there she ended up in Athens where she was discovered by the redoubtable PanayotisToundas, who was also a record producer as well as a prolific composer. He placed her in a recording studio around 1930 and the rest is history. There is some contention however concerning the precise chronology of her early career. Much of this is based on the questionable accuracy of the reported year of her birth .  It is usually given as somewhere around 1883 but no one really seems to know for certain and Eskenazy herself claimed it was as late as 1915,  a year which has long been discredited since we know the PR photo above and on the right was taken around that time.  There is a Biography about Rosa Eskenazy written in Greek titled "Afto pou themame"  (What I remember), but it report ably raises more questions then it answers . After a very long and even more distinguished career, that included having worked with everyone from the first generation Rebetis such as Toundas and Semsis, to having performed duets with the contemporary female " Voice of Greece"  Haris Alexiou  for a TV special in the early 70's, Roza Eskenazi died at home in December of 1980 and was interred in the city of Stomio Greece, in  an unmarked grave! A circumstance we regard as unconscionable and a reality that if substantiated, should be a profound embarrassment for the entire Greek entertainment industry she had loved and was so instrumental in helping to create. One can't help but speculate as to how many other of these early Smyrniac artists, have had to suffer a similar indignity .  An indignity that needs to be rectified as soon as possible !