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Denizkızı  Eftalya (Atanasia Yeorgiadu)

Denizkızı Eftalya (Atanasia Yeorgiadu)

First Greek woman singer to make a recording for the Municipal Conservatory
"At night people listened to my voice without knowing who I was."

Date of Birth: 1891

Place of Birth: Büyükdere, Istanbul

Date of Death: 15/03/1939 1939

Place of Death: Istanbul

Burial Site:



Denizkızı  Eftalya (Atanasia Yeorgiadu) Denizkızı  Eftalya (Atanasia Yeorgiadu)

Field of Activity

"Ever since I was five I have been nicknamed 'Mermaid'. The funny thing is that I am still not really used to my real name 'Eftalya'. The name 'Mermaid' means much more to me. How did I come by that name?
I was still very little and my father was a very keen saz player. When guests came he played his saz and I sang. We lived in Büyükdere on the Bosphorus. On moonlight nights we always went out in a boat on the sea. And my father let me sing on the boat all night long. Quite soon my voice became well-known all along the Bosphorus. On these moonlit nights twenty to thirty boats would follow us because they wanted to hear me singing. But nobody knew who I was. And so they looked for a name for this night-time singer with the lovely voice and started to call out 'Mermaid', 'Mermaid'. This 'Mermaid' was the five-year-old Eftalya and from then on I became 'Mermaid'."
(Denizkızı Eftalya - Atanasia Yeorgiadu)
Recording Career
  • 1923-1926 Record made with Pathe in France
  • 1927 Recording made with Columbia Plak in Istanbul. In the early 1920s the Istanbul Municipal Conservatory collected about 100 new songs from Anatolia and co-operated with the firm Columbia Plak to produce gramophone recordings. Work on the recording started in Istanbul in 1927. Eftalya Yeorgiadi was the soloist for 56 of these songs.
    The name Eftalya, however, was not mentioned on some of the records, merely "soprano". At least eleven of the records only have the word "Hanım". From 1930 onwards the recordings bore the name "Deniz Kızı Eftalya Sadi Hanım" and her name was no longer kept secret.
  • 1934From 1934 Eftalya Sadi Hanim began to work for the recording firm "Sahibinin Sesi" - His Master's Voice. In Catalogue No. 7 Eftalya is introduced with these words:
    "In the world of music there are few people who do not know the Mermaid, Mrs. Eftalya Sadi. The Mermaid, who thrilled and continues to thrill her audiences with her strong and beautiful voice, is still much applauded. We expect her great success to continue."
A Moonlight Tour in Honour of the Mermaid Eftalya

On the 4th August 1936, for her 45th birthday, the municipal shipping company organised a tour by moonlight in her honour. Four boats were festively decorated and a floating stage was built for Eftalya Hanım. The boats started from Bebek and sailed to the landing stages at Kanlıca, Yeniköy, Beykoz and Büyükdere. Those who had not managed to get a place on board welcomed the boats with coloured lanterns from the shore. The programme included the Zeybekiko dances, which Eftalya loved so much.

Samples of Eftalya's Singing


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Contributions to Society

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Family and Friends

  • Mother:(No information available)
  • Father:Yorgaki Efendi (police captain)
  • Husband:Sadi Işılay (composer, violinist)
  • Friends: Yorgo Bacanos (ud-player, composer), Aleko Bacanos (ud-player, composer, composed for Eftalya the song "Gel ey denizin nazlı kızı"/ 'Oh come, you pampered daughter of the sea').

Commemorative Projects

Song in honour of Denizkızı Eftalya

Variations of the song "Gel ey denizin nazlı kızı" (Oh come, you pampered daughter of the sea)

Gel ey denizin nazlı kızı nûş-i şarab et
Çık sahile gel sinede bir âlem-i âb et
Mestane bakışlarla beni mest-ü harab et
Çık sahile gel sinede bir âlem-i âb et
(Aleko Bacanos)


Uzak bakışlı Kadınlar; Beni Yıldızlara Götürün, 3rd. Part. written and produced: Füsun Feyizli; Director: Taha Feyizli, TRT Ankara Televizyonu, 2000.

Further Reading


Quoted Sources
  • Deniz Kızı Eftalya, Kadıköylü, CD, müzik kasetinin kitapçığı, Kalan Müzik, 1988.
  • İstanbul Temaşa Hayatında Kadınlar, Kadın Eserleri Kütüphanesi ve Bilgi Merkezi Vakfı, 2008 Ajandası.
  • Sula Bozis, İstanbullu Rumlar, İstanbul 2011.
Source of Visual Images
  • Kadın Eserleri Kütüphanesi ve Bilgi Merkezi.

Translation into English: Lyndall von Dewitz, Oberasbach, Germany
©2012 Meral Akkent
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