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Ελβίρα Κάκκη

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Biography

Ελβίρα Κάκκη {Elvira Kakki} (1900-1987) was a Greek singer of rembetika, of Spanish Jewish origin.

She was born on 11th November 1900 in Kavala; her maiden name was Benmagior. In 1919 she married Emilios Kakkos and settled in Drama, where her husband owned two cinemas. These were also used for concerts by artists such as Μαρίκα Κοτοπούλη and Βασίλης Λογοθετίδης, and other Northern Greek talent. Somehow Kakki met Βασίλης Τσιτσάνης, and began performing and recording. Apart from Tsitsanis’ songs, she recorded material by Σπύρου Περιστέρη, such as “Μάτια μου μεγάλα” and “Το πήρα πια απόφαση”.

Her husband died in 1940. When war broke out, Kakki and her children moved to Thessaloniki and, worried about the Nazi’s intentions towards the Jews, acquired false papers. Having moved several times within the city, the family eventually fled into the countryside where she became a member of the Greek resistance organissation ΕΑΜ (Εθνικό Απελευθερωτικό Μέτωπο — the Greek Liberation Front). Her two older children, Ζακ and Κάρμεν, joined ΕΛΑΣ (Ελληνικός Λαϊκός Απελευθερωτικός Στρατός — Greek People’s Liberation Army), which was the military wing of ΕΑΜ. They went into the mountains as members of combat units. Her two younger sons, Αλβέρτος and Φρεντ, joined the youth wing, ΕΠΟΝ (Ενιαία Πανελλαδική Οργάνωση Νέων — United Panhellenic Organisation of Youth), and took part in several operations, such as helping escaped members of the Allied armed forces get to Turkey via Skiathos and Skyros.

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