Thursday, July 8, 2010

Presenting Eleni Tzoka - One of our Talented Global Greeks from Poland!!!

Eleni Tzoka

One of our readers recently brought this song by talented Greek-Polish performer Eleni Tzoka to our attention. (Thanks Anna CM - Sweden)

We were amazed and touched by her personal story and thought we would tell you about her...

Listen to Eleni sing Sto Perigiali to Kryfo in Polish- it's beautiful...

About Eleni...

Eleni Tzoka (née Milopoulu) was born in Poland to Greek parents who had emigrated to Poland in the 1950s. 

Eleni grew up either playing or singing music from a very early age as her parents transferred their love of music to her and her many brothers and sisters - she was the 9th child- and her talent shone from her very first public performance in her elementary school children's group Niezapominajki ("Forget-me-nots"). 

Several years later she became a vocalist in her secondary school group Ballada. 

In 1975 she joined Prometheus, a newly established music band that played a lot of Greek music and was mainly active in Sopot in northern Poland, and her professional career started in earnest. On July 20 of the same year, she debuted at a concert in Gdańsk and became a great success. 

In 1977 she  recorded an LP album with Prometheus, Po słonecznej stronie życia ("On the sunny side of life'",  and in 1980 Eleni released her first solo album, Ty jak niebo, ja – jak obłok.

She began giving concerts all over Poland as well as abroad, Australia, France, Sweden, Canada and the United States, and partcipating in the National Festival of Polish Song in Opole several times.

Married to Fotis Tzokas, the brother of Kostas Tzokas, the founder of Prometheus, they had a daughter Afrodyta who was tragically murdered in 1994 by her boyfriend, Piotr. Eleni, despite her own grief at the tragedy that had befallen her family, showed the generosity of her soul by openly forgiving the killer of her only child.

It was reported that when she was informed about her daughter's death, she immediately phoned the mother of Afrodyta's boyfriend and told her without anger that they had "lost their children". What an incredible gesture.

Honoured for this unbelievably generous act of mercy in 1999 with the Saint Rita of Cascia prize, an award given to women who have overcome a tragic event in their lives, Eleni has also been been awarded many other prizes, both for her music and for her services to people...

In 2003 she received the Złote Serce (Heart of Gold) prize from the Saint Stanisław Kostka Foundation for the Disabled Children and Youth in Katowice for her "generosity, kindness, understanding, co-operativeness, namely everything that makes the realization of laudable aims for the environment of disabled children and youth possible".

In 2004, she received the Medal of Saint Brother Albert for her commitment to charity and for help to people living with AIDS, as well as to the disabled.

Eleni has also received the prestigious title of the Knight of the Order of Smile.

In 2006 Eleni authored Nothing will defeat love (Nic miłości nie pokona), an illustrated album in which she talks about her life, love, human suffering, the meaning of charity, as well as her artistic experiences  in an interview she gave to Pauline monk, Fr. Robert Łukaszuk.

What can we say, Eleni? 

We were very touched by your story and the amazing strength and generosity of spirit that you and your family showed.

This song is dedicated to you... I Sotiria tis Psyhis (Η Σωτηρία της Ψυχής) by Alkistis Protopsalti. It says it all...

We read about Eleni on Wikipedia, where you will also find her discography.

For those who read Polish, do check out her website, Eleni. It includes a section with all her Greek songs.

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