Marika Ninou

Marika Ninou
Marika Ninou
Background information
Birth name Evangelia Atamian
Born 1918
Origin Smyrna, Ottoman Empire
Died February 23, 1957(1957-02-23)
Greece
Genres Rebetiko
Occupations Singer
Years active mid-1940s–1957
Associated acts Vassilis Tsitsanis

Marika Ninou (Greek: Μαρίκα Νίνου) (1918 – 23 February 1957), was an Armenian-Greek rebetiko singer, born Evangelia Atamian (Greek: Ευαγγελία Αταμιάν).

Biography

When she was seven years old, Ninou started going to the Armenian school "Zavarian". There she learned the mandolin and joined the school orchestra. Meanwhile, because of her voice qualities, she chanted at the Armenian Church of St. Hagop in Kokkinia.

In 1939 she married her first husband, and in 1940 gave birth to their son Ovanes. In 1947 Soviet ships came to Greece to take the Armenians who would want to leave and go to Armenia. Half the Armenic population of Thessaloniki and Athens left. Among them was Ninou's husband who left his wife and son behind.

She met the acrobat Nikos Nikolaides "Nino" in 1944 and married him. They began to perform together as "The Duo Nino". When her son joined the act they became "the Two-and-a-half Nino".

In a performance of the Ninos, the artist Petros Kyriakos heard her singing and recommended her to Manolis Chiotis. Chiotis recorded two songs with her in 1948. In October, 1948, Stelakis Perpiniadis (Greek: Στελλάκης Περπινιάδης) brought her under his wing as a singer at the Florida club.

By 1949, Ninou had begun working with Vassilis Tsitsanis at Fat Jimmy's, a place that would come to play a decisive role in both their lives, with the Tsitsanis-Ninou pairing coming to possess a very special place in the history of the music of Greece.

In October, 1951, Ninou performed with Tsitsanis in Istanbul, but after this trip, they decided to go their separate ways.

Before heading off to the USA in 1954, she underwent a cancer operation in Athens. Nonetheless, her cancer spread rapidly in the USA and she returned to Greece where she worked under great pain for a short while before succumbing to her illness at 39 years of age.

Legacy

Ninou possessed a high-pitched voice of substantial body and volume and impeccable tonality, and sang with emotional intensity. She recorded a total of 174 songs, of which 119 as lead singer.

The movie Rembetiko by Costas Ferris is based on her life.


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