Everyone is Looking at the Sun: Her Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order, 1926​-​28

by Olga Mella

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Sometimes we can learn who it was that performed on on the old discs, and sometimes the performers remain blank spaces to be filled in with luck at some later date.

The latter seems to be the case of one Olga Mella (or Mela) who recorded only four sides. The first two were apparently made in Chicago around July 1926 at a same session with an obscure group of musicians. She was accompanied on violin by one James Tsousis and on lauto by one Gust Dalmas. The other singer who recorded at that session, a George Dokos, utilized the same accompanists. The songs she performed there were part of the repertoire of the Greek musical theater, one of which "Ta Syka," is a tango, a style immensely popular in Greece during the 1920s and a direct influence on the emerging rebetika style.

In the next year or so, another obscure Greek woman named Liza Kouroukli, who had recorded a single disc for the small Chicago-based Greek Record Company relocated to New York and recorded four sides for Columbia, including, in January 1928, "To Cigaretto," a song that Mella had recorded at her first session.

Mella seems to have followed suit and went to New York to try her hand recording again, this time performing two folk songs in November of December of 1928 with santouri and clarinet accompaniment by performers listed as G. Phillis and J. Sfondilias, although we don't know which played which instruments.

And then, she disappears from view.
An earnest singer with a strong, thin voice, her two discs are uncommon and rarely thought of. Here they are for anyone interested.

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released March 17, 2020

Transfer, restoration, and notes by Ian Nagoski, March 2020.

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