In Memoriam: Greek Singer Poly Panou (1940-2013)
By: Markos Papadatos, Contributing Editor
On September 27, Greece mourns one of its best-loved female voices: Poly Panou. She was the queen of traditional folk Greek music, best-known for her "rembetika" and timeless recordings. She was born Politimi Koliopanou and she grew up in Patras, Achaia. She was discovered by the legedary Greek singer Grigoris Bithikotsis.
Panou leaves behind an illustrious body of work that has become an integral part of Greek culture. Her remarkable career has spanned over four decades. She is also known as being the first songstress to record Melina Mercouri's signature song "Ta Paideia Tou Pirea," from the Oscar-nominated film "Never on Sunday."
Her vocals were compelling and she always sang with perfect pitch and control. At every live performance, Panou always gave it her all and sang with maximum soul. In many ways, she was the Greek equivalent of America's Patsy Cline.
Veteran actress Zoe Laskari paid a moving tribute to Panou via her Facebook page, by stating "My dear Poly, I will never forget the beautiful years we hung out together, the joys and sorrows that we shared. You left us your important voice and your unforgettable songs."
Panou died in Athens after a lengthy battle with cancer at the age of 73.
Singers like Poly Panou come once in a lifetime. She was truly in a league of her own and it is quite difficult to picture Greek culture without her powerful vocals. Her music will live on vinyl forever.
May her memory forever be eternal.