The Queen of Greek Blues, Roza Eskenazi, will be showcased in a tribute presented by the Australian Hellenic Council of New South Wales and Out of The Blue Music. The story of Roza – her life, her music and her legacy – will be highlighted in a day of performance, song and dance. Mary Giannisis, secretary of the Australia Hellenic Council of New South Wales told Neos Kosmos one of the motivations to put on such an extravaganza was to educate the younger generation about the amazing life of Roza Eskenazi.
“The idea started with the recent release of the documentary My Sweet Canary about the life or Roza Eskenazi and we thought it would be a great idea to talk and celebrate her life so the younger generation know who she is.” As part of the event, Dr Panayioti Diamandi will be presenting a talk on the extraordinary life of Roza Eskenazi. Georgette Giatis, from the band Out of The Blue, will be singing Roza’s songs accompanied by Peter Kalandranis, guitarist, bouzouki player and lute also from the band Out of the Blue. Special guests include Daniel Weltlinger on violin and an eight-piece band bringing the songs to life. There will also be a folk dancing group performing on the day. Giannisis says the importance of celebrating her life comes from the fact Eskenazi was “such a big name yet we still don’t know who she is, about her life”.
“Her songs continue to be sung today, and played today by legends like Haris Alexiou,” explains Giannisis. “She was uneducated from a poor Jewish family and she was multilingual she sang in various languages – Greek, Turkish, Arabic, Armenian, Spanish, Ladino (which is mixture of Judao-Spanish). She even ran a successful restaurant,” says Giannisis. With a Jewish background herself, Eskenazi was instrumental in securing the safety of her family and others in Thessaloniki during the Nazi occupation of Greece, when Jewish Hellenes were being transported to Auschwitz. “The fact that she achieved so much, coming from that background, is an inspiration to all woman. For her time, it’s such a wonderful achievement and that’s the message we want to get out there. She really was a truly amazing woman.”
The story of Roza – her life, her music and her legacy will take place at the Factory Theatre, 105 Victoria Rd Marrickville, NSW on Wednesday 7 December. Tickets are $40.00 and $30.00 for pensioners. For more information, contact Mary Giannisis on 0413 301 949.