Κυριακή, 17 Οκτωβρίου 2010

Ρίτα Αμπατζή

Rita Abatzi (1914 – 17 June 1969) with Roza Eskenazy and Marika Papagika was another one of the Great Rebetisses from the first generation of female vocalists. A versatile singer of rebetiko, Smyrneika and other music, she was a popular performer on gramophone records in the 1930s.

Many things about Rita Abatzi are quite mysterious, which is interesting considering the fact that she was one of the most well known and much loved Rebetisses of all time. That there should be so little verifiable information concerning her life is somewhat ironic. However it is generally agreed that she was born in Smyrna, Asia Minor, now İzmir, Turkey and entered the Greek mainland as one of the thousands of refugees during the conflagration that transpired in 1922.

Her father was one of the thousands of individuals who were reported missing and assumed killed at that time. We are certain that she began her recording career in the early thirties and was very active in the pursuit of her profession before the War. But it would seem that the Post war period heard very little from her and her career seems to have practically been nonexistent despite occasional reports to the contrary. Her vocal style was somewhat similar to that of Roza Eskenazy, who was her primary competitor until the advent of WW II. After the war she seems to have disappeared from the recording scene. Very strange indeed for an artist so well known and respected. While her actual whereabouts were common knowledge (she had been married twice , had children and lived just outside of Athens), she for reasons that have not been publicly disclosed, seemed to have stop her recording activity.

Abatzi performed with many of the most famous musicians including Panayiotis Toundas, Vangelis Papazoglou, Kostas Skarvelis, Iakovos Montanaris, Spyros Peristeris, Dimitrios Semsis, I. Ogdontaki up to Markos Vamvakaris and Vassilis Tsitsanis. Her career ended after World War II. She died in Egaleo Athens, Greece in 1969.


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