The first steps in America
New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Toronto and Montreal, the strategic cities of Nana's first steps in America.
Do you remember the day when you heard Nana’s voice for the first time? When it was? Where were you? If you are a long time fan, you may remember the era when she wasn’t yet very known. Let us recall here her first steps in America as some interesting details which undoubtedly went unnoticed.
From May to September, Nana and Harry perform in the major theatres of Canada and the United States. They begin at Place des Arts where they run during two weeks and end at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles where they give 24 performances. Montreal is the city where Nana has the most impact because her songs are well known and she ensures the French part of the show. Journalists meet her and write articles that allow Quebecers to know her better.
For her visit in Canada, the album "The Girl from Greece sings" is re-edited with another cover. In United States, she completes "Nana sings", an album produced by Bobby Scott which will be released in July. In order to show a range of her European career, London Records decides to release her two German albums and the one in Italian. All these albums will stay only a couple of years on the Canadian market and it will take a long time before we find them in the second hand shops. They mainly come from radio stations, libraries that got free samples or from big collectors who bought all the new records. There are also some early fans who bought them and who by attachment preserved them preciously, till the day their heirs got rid of them.
In Latin America, several records are pressed during these early years. In Brazil and Venezuela, there is the album "The Girl from Greece sings", in Argentina, the one with Harry Belafonte and in Chile, the albums "Songs of my Land" and "Le cœur trop tendre". Some of her French songs are also released on various artists compilations or on singles in Mexico, in Colombia, in Peru and in Argentina. All these records are in fact just a sample of what is sent to these various franchises. Moreover, her first Spanish songs are not marketed. Besides, Nana didn’t have time to go there yet.
Here, in Quebec, 10 consecutive titles are played steadily by the radio stations. After "Quatre soleils", "Les parapluies de Cherbourg", "Quand s’allument les étoiles", "L’enfant au tambour", "Remets mon coeur à l’endroit", "Ce n’était rien c’était mon cœur", "La dernière rose de l’été", "Un Canadien errant", "Ses baisers me grisaient" and "Guantanamera". With the arrival of new 33 rpm, her section keeps on extending in the record shops. There is initially "Remets mon coeur à l’endroit", a compilation of her latest and first unreleased songs here. Then, "Chants de mon pays" (Songs of my Land) which is a continuation of her first Greek album and "Un Canadien errant", the title of one of our Folk Songs. For these two, a special edition will be released on the Mercury label. There is no doubt, Quebecers have adopted her and a solo tour is announced for the beginning of 1967. Samuel Gesser, Belafonte’s Montreal impresario will take her under his wings.
The first Nana's producers in America focused their efforts on the USA market. But much to their great surprise, she firstly became known in Quebec. For Nana, the fact of recording on another continent and to know there the tour life turns out to be an enriching experiment. The big Adventure in America is far from the end. It's only the end of the first episode.