Amalia Old Greek Songs in the New Land 1923-1950: In Foreign Lands Since My Childhood
- Released: November 26, 2002
- Originally Released: 2002
- Label: Arhoolie Records
Dirty Linen - 06-07/03, p.83"...One of only a handful of important Greek singers in the Americas....offers insight into the immigrant culture of the first half of the last century..."
- 1.Ali Pasha
- 2.Kala Kalaya Bakar
- 3.T' Asteri to Lambro
- 4.I Thalassa
- 5.Apo Mikros Stin Xenitia
- 6.Paramana Cuna Cuna
- 7.Haido Syrto
- 8.Pes Mou Ti Tha Katalavis
- 9.I Vlaha I Emorfi
- 10.Thelo Na S'Alismoniso
- 11.Agrilamas Ke Psarades
- 12.Horis Elpida Na Zo
- 13.Apo Ta Mikra Mou Hronia
- 14.To Mnima Mou Hortariase
- 16.Smyrneikos Balos
- 17.Den Mou Lete Ti Na Kamo
- 18.Mi Me Dernis Mana
- 19.Ego Yia Sena Tragoudo
- 20.Tora Ta Poulia
- 21.Smyrneiko Majore
Recorded between 1923 & 1950. Includes liner notes by David Soffa.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
Personnel: Marko Melkon (oud); Alexis Zoumbas (violin); John Pappas (clarinet).
Liner Note Author: David Soffa.
Recording information: M. G. Parsekian Studios, Hoboken, NJ (1923-1943); New York, NY (1923-1943).
Amalia, whose real name was Mazaltov Matsa, obviously had to sing. A Greek born in Turkey, she immigrated to America while still 14 and within a few years was married. But her husband divorced her (and sent one of her daughters back to Greece) after she began singing professionally. These sides are culled from recordings she made in the 1920s and '40s (she didn't record during the '30s, seemingly finding performing and running illegal bars during Prohibition more profitable). Her music was very much that of the old country, sung in traditional fashion with a very traditional accompaniment -- violin, cimbalom, oud, and dumbek were often featured with her voice. The vintage recordings are definitely somewhat scratchy, but excellent mastering allows the voice and melodies to shine through. And a remarkable, commanding voice she had, too, whether in laments like "Thelo Na S'Alismonsio" or the wistful "Apo Ta Mikra Mou Hronia." It's a fascinating peek into a thriving historical subculture, showing just how vital the Greek culture was, not just in New York, but also in places like Detroit and Chicago, during the early part of the 20th century. An invaluable document. ~ Chris Nickson
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