Alla Bayanova

Alla Bayanova

Alla Nikolayevna Bayanova (Алла Николаевна Баянова, born 18 May 1914) is a Russian singer sometimes compared with Édith Piaf for her simple yet dramatic style of performance.

Bayanova was born in Kishinev in the family of an opera singer, who moved to Paris in 1918 after Romania took over Bessarabia. She debuted on the stage as an assistant to her father at the age of 9.

By 1927, she was already performing solo. A major step forward in her career was when she assisted Alexander Vertinsky in his famous show at the Hermitage Restaurant, Montmartre. Two years later, her family moved to Belgrade, while Bayanova went on touring Germany, Greece, Palestine, and Egypt.

In 1931, she got acquainted with Pyotr Leshchenko, a foremost Russian singer of the time, who helped her to join the Pavilion Russe in Bucharest. She married a local aristocrat, George Ypsilanti, and made several recordings of tangos (e.g., Columbia, His Master's Voice). After her divorce from Ypsilanti, she signed a contract with the Polish recording company "Syrena-Electro".

In March 1941 Bayanova was arrested by the Romanian authorities and interned into a concentration camp for having performed in the Russian language. Although released in May 1942, she was kept under surveillance until the end of World War II.

In the 1960s and 1970s, while still living in Romania, Bayanova issued eight LPs. Nicolae Ceauşescu's government, however, pressed her into migrating to the USSR in 1988. Thereupon she settled in Moscow, making occasional appearances on the Russian television.

Bayanova was named People's Artist of Russian Federation and celebrated the 80th anniversary of her stage performance in 2003. Most recently, she collaborated with Marc Almond on several duets.

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