In the photo (left), Anita, her daughter (on right) and a friend visit the Monument of Independence in Valona, Albania (from AnitaBitri.com). The album cover (below) for Gjithmonë med jush (Always with you) is more in keeping with the profile of a glamorous chanteuse.
Anita Bitri's music is not really to my taste. It reminds me of music I heard a lot in Poland, over-the-top pop productions that would be at home on the Eurovision Song Contest. But you can't deny her talent or the sincerity of her efforts. The video for "Bijës Sime" (My Daughter) begins with the singer on the Staten Island Ferry, then wandering melancholy through lower Manhattan and on the Brooklyn Bridge, presumably thinking about her daughter (who also appears and sings in the video). I'm not sure whether it was released before or after the accident. Either way, it is very poignant.
Bitri lived with her husband, Luan Prapaniku, who died shortly before own death, mother, and daughter in a quiet street that runs between the Arrorchar Market to South Beach, just at the point the boardwalk begins. The accident occurred just two weeks before a City regulation requiring all residences to have carbon monoxide detectors came into effect. The single-family home was demolished and replaced with a duplex (below) in 2007. Bitri's house was also pink.
Anita Bitri's home town, Sarande, is sometimes called the "Albanian Riviera." Just a few miles off its coast is the island of Corfu. Here it is in a photograph by Claudio Viezzoli from 1996, the year she came to New York.
|Sarande, Albania (Photo: Claudio Viezzoli)|
|South Beach, Staten Island (Jan. 2014)|