From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Anita Bitri (January 8, 1968 – October 19, 2004) was a pop singer and violinist from Albania. She was found dead in her Staten Island home along with her 8-year-old daughter SiboraNini and 66-year-old mother Hazbije. The three died due to an accidental carbon monoxide poisoning after boiler ventilators in the basement were stuffed with plastic bags to keep out concrete from construction work. Her husband, Luan Prapaniku, had recently died from cancer.
Bitri started singing at the age of sixteen, and she became popular in Albania with her song “First Love”. She emigrated to the United States in 1996. At the time of her death, she was in the process of recording two albums, one in Albanian and one in English.
Anita Bitri – Bio (8 January 1968 – 19 October 2004).
Anita Bitri was born in Saranda on January 8, 1968, to a family of artists and intellectuals. Since childhood, Anita had a great love for music, captivating the hearts of everyone around her. Music and dance had always been a tradition in her mother’s family: Her grandfather, Rauf Ngracani, was a sought-after wedding singer in Berat; her cousin Majlinda was a professional singer in the musical group Erseka; Mira, the daughter of her uncle Tafil, was a dancer in the Tirana ballet. Needless to say, the weddings of the Ngracani clan usually turned into contests of song and dance.
In Kindergarten Anita sang Albanian folk songs with her classmates and recited them endlessly at home. She made her first stage appearance at the age of six as the Worker Bee in the “Festival of Young Children and Pioneers”, performing the songs “My Doll” and “Agim and the Broom”. Anita’s talent captivated the members of the jury, who evaluated her as the best dancer at the festival, awarding her with a medal of honor.
When Anita auditioned for the NaimFrasheri Academy of Music in Vlore, she drew the attention of violin professor Robert Papavrami, who had never encountered such a prodigy. Her natural gift for music convinced him that with minimal training, Anita could become a great violinist. After only one year of study, Anita proved him right when they performed a violin duet that received a standing ovation. Over the next three years at NaimFrasheri, her childhood passion for singing gave way to violin.
During her high school years, however, Anita realized that her divine destiny was to become a singer. At this point in her life she began to acknowledge the existence of God openly, which was a forbidden practice in Albania at the time. Convinced that her talent was a gift from God, she began seeing her life from his perspective. She revisited her childhood passion for singing, and dreamed of one day becoming a famous singer like her idol, VaçeZela. Although her peers and professors recognized her extraordinary vocal talent, describing her voice as “both sweet and rare”, Anita continued to play violin in her school orchestra for the people of Vlore. Her debut as a singer came as a fateful opportunity created by God. Right before a concert where she was to play violin, one of the singers fell ill and could not perform. Anita’s fellow band members urged her to substitute for the singer, and she agreed. Her performance was phenomenal, and was met with unending applause from the audience. Thus began the successful career of the singer Anita Bitri.
Anita built her reputation with her performances on the annual Albanian Radio Television Festivals. Over the years, she became the signature performer at each festival, increasing her popularity with her voice, stage presence, dramatic looks and courage to combine traditional and modern elements within her music. Her first national performance was a song called “Hartimidhe Debora” (Composition and Snow), followed by “Mos u nxito, mos u gabo” (Don’t hurry, Don’t Make a Mistake) written by AlqiBoshnjaku at the 1988 Spring Concert where she won first prize. She then began working with the prominent composer FlemurShehu on subsequent festivals of Albanian Radio Television. Other critically acclaimed performances include the songs “Lulet e majitiçelnëJanar” (May Flowers Bloom in January), “S’kaformulënëDashuri” (Love Has No Formula) and “Abracadabra”.
In addition to her singing career, Anita continued to pursue her studies in voice and violin at the DhaskalTodriPedogogical School in Elbasan, where she graduated as a voice teacher in 1982. According to SulDedej, the school director, “she is not only a talented singer, but also an excellent student.” Anita taught music for a few months, but she inevitably returned to her true calling: singing. She was invited to joined the Estrada Theater Troupe in Vlore, and performed a successful National concert entitled “Anita” followed by an encore performance, which toured throughout the cities of Albania. After a successful show in Tropoja, she was invited to come to the United States in March of 1996.
Anita’s artistic activity was nonstop during her time in the United States. Her most notable achievements were her concerts for charity for the war victims in Kosova and the poor children of Albania. For this concert she received the praise and respect of Albanian President RexhepMeidani, accompanied by his wife. Anita was also an active member of MotratQiriazi, an Organization of Albanian Women in America. She saw her performances for the Albanian community as a continuation of her musical journey. In this way, her talent and voice were wholly dedicated to Albanian concerns.
During this time, the birth of her daughter Sibora played an important role in her artistic life. She surrounded her little angel with indescribable love and care. Anita taught her all about Albanian culture and language, paying special attention to her progress in school; she made a great teacher and a perfect mother. When her mother Hazbije joined them in America, she brought strength and encouragement for her daughter’s artistic development.
However, on the night of October 18th, 2004, a terrible tragedy occurred in the Bitri household. Due to an accidental carbon monoxide leak from the boiler, they passed away in their sleep. In the aftermath of the tragedy, musicians, artists and admirers of Anita from all over the world were heartbroken, and showed an overwhelming response of emotion and grief. With the passing of Anita, the Albanian public lost a wonderful voice; Albania, a zealous patriot; the diaspora, an activist and musical personality; family and friends, a wonderful companion. Although she left us at such a young age, her spirit lives on in her songs, and the performances that she gave on this earth.
Here are some other highlights of Anita’s prolific career:
- 1999 marked the completion of her first album entitled “Malli”, which was promoted by the Albanian Mission in New York.
- April 5, 1999 marked Anita’s Broadway debut as singer and violinist in a concert by the organization “Madre”, well known in America.
- On August 12, 1999, Anita participated in a performance organized by the Albanian Mission to the United Nations before all the ambassadors of the world.
- In December of 1999, Anita won a competition developed by the American company CPV to sing two songs on their television program.
- During the Summer of 2000, Anita performed with the well known actor/producer KoçoDevole in several American states.
- On November 26, 2000, Anita participated in a concert for the 9th anniversary of the newspaper “Illyria”.
- On November 12, 2000, Anita participated in a concert in New York with InvaMula, PiroÇako and SilvanaBraçen.
- In 2001, Anita was invited to represent Albania in a combined American-Albanian-Turkish concert. At this concert she was introduced to Tina Shaffer, the composer for performers such as Celine Dion, Donna Summer and Bette Midler. Tina described Anita’s voice as “an angelic voice from heaven.”
- 2002 was spent developing a new sound by fusing modern Albanian music with American pop and R&B.
- On January 24, 2003, Anita presented Albanian music alongside Kosovar and Macedonian singers in a concert for the Albanian community.
- 2003-2004 was a very important year for Anita’s artistic growth. During this period she revealed the worth of Albanian art and music within the borders of America.
- The year 2004 marked the beginning of her work as a songwriter, which resulted in the album “Çdogjëështë e mundur” (Anything is Possible). This album embodies Anita’s lifetime of creative achievement at its finest.
On October 19th 2004, the same day as the beautification of Mother Teresa, New York City police found the bodies of the singer Anita Bitri with her mother Hazbije, and daughter Sibora. Based on the best forensic evidence, the accidental deaths were a result of faulty construction work. According to the team of experts that investigated the scene, the exhaust flues for the carbon monoxide had been blocked by construction workers who were building a balcony on the side of the house. This caused the interior of the house to fill with carbon monoxide at a saturation of 762,000 parts per cubic centimeter. This was over one hundred thousand times the lethal carbon monoxide level. After the tragedy the New York City government passed legislation requiring carbon monoxide detectors to be installed in every house. This law was named after Anita in honor of the great artist.
The Final Conclusion of the Bitri Case
In the middle of June 2005, the American justice system came to the final conclusion that there were no criminal intentions, and that the deaths were purely accidental. Amidst these circumstances, the state decided not to intervene or pursue anyone criminally. The district attorney issued a declaration that “The case is closed. There is no reason to charge anyone. For us everything is clear; it was simply a tragedy.”
NEW YORK — Albanian pop singer Anita Bitri, 36, who came to the United States in search of stardom, was found dead of apparent carbon monoxide poisoning Tuesday along with her mother, Hazbije Bitri, 60, and daughter, Sibora 8.
Chief Fire Marshal Louis Garcia said carbon monoxide filled the home after a plastic bag was stuffed in a boiler flue during construction of a brick deck behind the home and then was not removed. The deck was built over the flue, and the bag was used to keep concrete from falling in.NEW YORK — Albanian pop singer Anita Bitri, 36, who came to the United States in search of stardom, was found dead of apparent carbon monoxide poisoning Tuesday along with her mother,HazbijeBitri, 60, and daughter, Sibora8
A spokeswoman for the city Department of Buildings said the deck apparently was built by family friends, not a licensed contractor.
October 21, 2004, Thursday
– Mayor Michael R Bloomberg urges New York landlords and homeowners to install carbon monoxide detectors, day after Albanian singer Anita Bitri and her 8-year-old daughter and mother were found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning in their Staten Island home.
Anita Bitri(36): Popular Albanian singer who came to the United States in 1996 to escape unrest in her home country and became an in-demand performer at parties, and festivals in New York’s Albanian-American community, whose distinct musical style was to combine traditional Albanian music with contemporary American pop, and who was currently recording two CDs and music videos, was found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning on October 19, along with her mother and her 8-year old daughter in their Staten Island, NY apartment.
Thursday, Oct 21
BY ANTHONY M. DESTEFANOSTAFF WRITEROctober 20, 2004 One of the latest projects popular Albanian singer Anita Bitri had was a video retrospective “Memories of My Life”, which she was completing with the Brooklyn Media Lab artist collective.But with her apparently accidental death yesterday, her fans in NewYork City were left with only painful reminiscence.From the Bronx to Staten Island and beyond, Albanian-Americans werestunned by Bitri’s death, as well as that of her daughter, Sibora, 8, and her mother, Hazabije, 60.For musician RaifHyseni, the loss of the 36-year-old artist from theBalkans, whose stage name was Anita Bitri, was more personal becausehe and his band of Albanian musicians played with her atethnic eventsin the city.”We feel very, very sad and can’t believe it,” said Hyseni, who lastplayed with Bitri at a June.”She was a wonderful talent and devoted mom; it is hard for me to cometo terms with [the fact] she is gone,” said Hyseni’s wife, singer MeritaHalili.Bitri, a graduate of the arts academy in Tirana, Albania,was known for her ability to mix traditional Albanian folk music andlight, contemporary pop sounds.”We are all in shock,” said ShqipeMalushi of the Albanian AmericanWomen’s Organization, “the community is totally in shock.””This is just like a one-two-three-four punch,” gasped music producerJames Avatar of the Brooklyn Media Lab after learning ofBitri’s death. “Oh my God”. “She was absolutely amazing,” Avatar said after collecting his thoughts, “an amazing performer, she was a virtuoso in the violin.”Though Bitri was well known in Albania, like many émigré artists she struggled.”To pay the rent, she would do these gigs at Albanianethnic eventsandafter that would come to rehearsal and her voice would crack”, remembered Avatar. She also was working on a two-CD effort that would create one disc in Albanian and another in English, Avatar said.Earlier this year, Avatar told Malushi’s group that five music videoshad been made of Bitri, including “Memories of My Life.”Funding problems and the death of her husband slowed the project, Avatar said.”She wanted to make it in America, beyond her borders,” Malushi said. 2004, Newsday, Inc.
New York City
An Albanian pop singer who came to the United States in search of stardom was found dead of apparent carbon monoxide poisoning Tuesday along with her mother and 8-year-old daughter.
The vents on a boiler in Anita Bitri’s basement had been stuffed with plastic bags, intended to keep concrete out during recent construction on the home, said Ilyse Fink, a spokeswoman for the Department of Buildings.
Bitri was a singer-songwriter who was well-known in her native country. She was working on recording two CDs — one in Albanian and one in English — at a Brooklyn studio.
The family died less than two weeks before a new city law goes into effect requiring most homes to have carbon monoxide detectors installed within 15 feet of sleeping areas.
NEW YORK — Friends and fellow musicians gathered Saturday to mourn an Albanian pop singer who died with her mother and 7-year-old daughter in an accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.
“She was one of the best singers in Albania,” Bitri’s friend NeritanKocareli said during the funeral service. “She had a sweet voice and a way with the people. She was very loved. Started singing at 16 and immediately became popular in Albania for her song “First Love.” She came to the United States in 1996 to escape unrest in her home country and was busy recording two CDs — one in Albanian and one in English — when she died. Bitri had been set to perform in Boston on Nov. 28, Albania’s Independence Day, and planned to visit Albania in December. Some of the singers and musicians at Saturday’s service were too grief-stricken to perform planned tributes. Many in the crowd broke down in tears as they listened to traditional Albanian music on the guitar and accordion. “Can you imagine what we are suffering today?” said friend QemalZylo, who organized the memorial. “We’ve lost three generations”.
By JAY ROMANO
Published: October 24, 2004
ON Nov. 1, Local Law of 2004 takes effect in New York City. If everyone does what the law requires, there will be at least 2.8 million carbon monoxide detectors installed in homes and apartments. Dr. Michael M. Marin, medical director of emergency services at Lenox Hill Hospital, said the law would almost certainly save lives.
Indeed, three people in Staten Island died of carbon monoxide poisoning in their home on Oct. 19. ”Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, colorless gas that is a byproduct of the burning of almost every form of fuel,” he said. ”When it enters the body, it decreases the body’s ability to transport oxygen. It poisons you. It can kill you.” Ilyse Fink, a spokeswoman for the New York City Department of Buildings, said that Local Law 7 requires owners to install carbon monoxide detectors in residential buildings that use fossil fuels — coal, kerosene, oil, wood, gas and other petroleum products — in a furnace, boiler, water heater or fireplace. ”The law requires the installation of a detector within 15 feet of the primary entrance to any room used for sleeping purposes,” Ms. Fink said. A home or apartment with bedroom entrances more than 30 feet apart — as well as those with bedrooms on different floors — will require more than one carbon monoxide detector.
New York City Carbon Monoxide Law Takes Effect November 1 NYC carbon monoxide law, and offers steps anyone can take to protectthemselves and their families from the hidden dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. As recent events have shown, that danger is all too real: – Carbon monoxide poisoning is the probable cause in the tragic deaths of Albanian pop singer Anita Bitri, her 7-year-old daughter and her mother on Staten Island Oct. 19.- Last year, 13 people in New York City died from CO poisoning and many more were hospitalized. Odorless, tasteless and invisible, carbonmonoxide is created any time a fuel such as gasoline, oil, wood or propane is burned. It is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States. Installing a CO alarm is the only safe way to detect carbon monoxide in the home. CO alarms measure the build up of carbon monoxide in a large area over a period of time. The more accurate the alarm’s sensing technology, the greater a family’s chance of appropriately responding to the problem. Since types of CO sensing technology have not been detailed in the code requirements, Kidde hopes property owners will take this opportunity to visit accuracymatters.com and learn why it is best to protect themselves and their residents with electrochemical CO alarm technology…
It’s the Law…in New York
NEW YORK, New York City’s new carbon monoxide detector law takes effect today.
The law says building owners must provide and install at least one approved carbon monoxide alarm in each home or apartment. The detectors must be put in within 15 feet of the main entrance to each bedroom. Landlords can charge 25 dollars for each new alarm or for alarms that are lost or damaged by their tenants. The law goes into effect after Albanian pop singer Anita Bitri, her mother and 7-year-old daughter were found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning in their Staten Island apartment after basement boiler vents were stuffed with plastic bags to keep concrete out during construction work.
CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs more often in the winter months. This occurs when people use their gas stove to heat the home. Carbon monoxide is produced by any device that burns fuel. Approximately 500 Americans die annually from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, and approximately 5,000 are treated for exposure at area hospitals. To reduce the chance of accidental exposure a carbon monoxide detector should be installed in the home.
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG WARNS NEW YORKERS
OF THE DANGERS OF CARBON MONOXIDE
New Law Requiring Carbon Monoxide Detectors Goes Into Effect November 1
Mayor Bloomberg today urged New Yorkers to be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide, and to heed a new law that goes into effect November 1 requiring carbon monoxide detectors to be installed in all multiple and private dwellings as well as in institutional and educational facilities throughout the City.
Today’s warning comes on the heels of the tragic carbon monoxide poisoning deaths of two women and a seven year-old girl on Staten Island yesterday. The victims were overcome by carbon monoxide poisoning when the flue pipe to the home’s boiler was obstructed allowing the gas to permeate the home. The home was not equipped with a carbon monoxide detector. The incident is currently under investigation by the Police, Fire and Buildings Departments. The Mayor was joined by City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta, Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Shaun Donovan, New York City Housing Authority Chairman Tino Hernandez, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden, and Department of Buildings Deputy Commissioner Robert LiMandri at the announcement.
“This law is critical to ensuring that all New Yorkers protect themselves and their loved ones against carbon monoxide,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Carbon monoxide detectors are your best line of defense against this odorless, colorless silent killer. I urge all homeowners, building owners and landlords to comply with this law quickly as the weather is getting colder and these dangers increase during the winter season.”
“The Fire Department has been a strong and vocal supporter of this law. An early warning of the presence of carbon monoxide is your best defense against this poisonous gas,” said Commissioner Scoppetta. “The presence of both a smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector in addition to regular, professional maintenance on furnaces and boilers can go a long way to helping save lives and avoid tragedy this winter season.”
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas produced by the combustion of wood or fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum products, other fuel gases and wood. CO is deadly. Approximately 500 people die each year in the United States as a result of CO poisoning. Signs of CO poisoning may include headache, loss of alertness, flu like symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, confusion and overall weakness. If you feel that you are suffering from the effects of CO poisoning or that your home may have a CO leak immediately open all of the windows and remove yourself from your home and call 911.
By SHAILA K. DEWAN
A well-known Albanian singer, her 7-year-old daughter and her elderly mother were dead by carbon monoxide poisoning in their home on Staten Island.
October 20, 2004 New York and Region News
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a highly toxic and potentially fatal gas that is odorless, colorless and almost undetectable by humans until serious symptoms occur and even then is often mis-diagnosed. At low levels, CO can cause flu like symptoms or cause respiratory discomfort. The CO bonds with blood cells in the lungs displacing the oxygen that cells need in order to function. As concentrations build up from poor ventilation, CO poisoning can become fatal.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is the product of the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas, gasoline, wood and coal. The most common sources of CO in homes come from fossil fuel burning boilers, furnaces, water heaters, fireplaces, gas appliances and parking garages. It is very dangerous because it is colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-irritating, and otherwise hard to detect. Today’s modern detectors have the ability to warn residents of the presence of dangerous levels of CO. Because Carbon Monoxide can be so hazardous it is important to gather all the information you can and to heed any warning given by detectors.
What Is It?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that interferes with the delivery of oxygen in the blood to the rest of the body. It is produced by the incomplete combustion of fuels.
What Are the Major Sources of CO?
Carbon monoxide is produced as a result of incomplete burning of carbon-containing fuels including coal, wood, charcoal, natural gas, and fuel oil. It can be emitted by combustion sources such as unvented kerosene and gas space heaters, furnaces, woodstoves, gas stoves, fireplaces and water heaters, automobile exhaust from attached garages, and tobacco smoke. Problems can arise as a result of improper installation, maintenance, or inadequate ventilation.
What Are the Health Effects?
Carbon monoxide interferes with the distribution of oxygen in the blood to the rest of the body. Depending on the amount inhaled, this gas can impede coordination, worsen cardiovascular conditions, and produce fatigue, headache, weakness, confusion, disorientation, nausea, and dizziness. Very high levels can cause death.
The symptoms are sometimes confused with the flu or food poisoning. Fetuses, infants, elderly, and people with heart and respiratory illnesses are particularly at high risk for the adverse health effects of carbon monoxide.
An estimated 300 people die each year as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning and thousands of others end up in hospital emergency rooms.
Each year in America, unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning claims more than 500 lives and sends another 15,000 people to hospital emergency rooms for treatment.1
The United States Fire Administration (USFA) and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) would like you to know that there are simple steps you can take to protect yourself from deadly carbon monoxide fumes.
Understanding the Risk
What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless and toxic gas. Because it is impossible to see, taste or smell the toxic fumes, CO can kill you before you are aware it is in your home. At lower levels of exposure, CO causes mild effects that are often mistaken for the flu. These symptoms include headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and fatigue. The effects of CO exposure can vary greatly from person to person depending on age, overall health and the concentration and length of exposure.
By Nov. 1 to have at least one carbon monoxide detector within 15 feet of a bedroom or sleeping area. Under the law, landlords are permitted to pass along a one-time $25 fee to tenants.
Owners will be responsible for installing approved devices, while occupants will be responsible for maintaining them. Various city agencies will enforce the law, Mr. Bloomberg said. City officials will determine the number and location of detectors needed in hotels and schools.
The city will distribute 60,000 free detectors through the Fire Department to residents who cannot afford the items, which cost about $20. Those detectors were donated by First Alert, which said it would continue the program every year for the next three years. Mr. Bloomberg urged anyone who can afford one to buy a carbon monoxide detector immediately; smoke detectors do not detect carbon monoxide.
”Common sense says you’re protecting your own life,” Mr. Bloomberg said.
On Tuesday, Anita Bitri, 36, a singer from Albania; her 7-year-old daughter, Sibora; and her mother, HazbijeBitri; 60, were killed by the noxious gas as they slept in their Staten Island home. Officials said that vents for the basement furnace had been covered with plastic bags to keep freshly poured concrete for a patio from flowing in.
Albanian Singer Dies with Mom, Daughter in CO Tragedy
TIRANA, Albania — Albania on Wednesday mourned the death of an Albanian singer who was found dead in her New York home along with her daughter and mother.
Albanian newspapers carried the news of the death on their front pages, with headlines such as the “Tragedy in New York” in the Korrieri paper.
The papers reprinted interviews made with Bitri in July, when she visited her home country for the first time in nine years
“She had an extraordinary musical culture,” GazetaShqiptare quoted FlamurShehu, an Albanian composer who wrote the songs Bitri sang early in her career.
Bitri, a native of Vlora, 140 kilometers (84 miles) southwest of capital Tirana, had initially studied violin, but abandoned those studies to become a pop singer when she was 16. She immediately became popular for her voice and performance of “First Love,” a song that won the first prize at the national festival in 1990.
Bitri went to the United States in 1996. She was known for singing marathon sets at ethnic events.
Bitri had been set to perform in Boston on Nov. 28, Albania’s independence day, and come to her homeland in December.
© 2004 by WNBC.com.
Albanian singer dies with mother
By MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN
NEW YORK (AP) — An Albanian pop singer who moved to the United States in search of stardom was found dead of apparent carbon monoxide poisoning Tuesday along with her mother and 7-year-old daughter.
The vents on a boiler in the woman’s basement had been stuffed with plastic bags apparently intended to keep concrete out during recent construction on the home, said Ilyse Fink, a spokeswoman for the New York Department of Buildings.
“It’s a very tragic accident.” Fink said.
The names of the child and two women, ages 60 and 36, were not immediately released. But friends of the 36-year-old woman identified her as Anita Bitri, a singer-songwriter who was well-known in her native country.
Her own death came while she was busy recording two CDs – one in Albanian and one in English. “She was an amazing pop sensation in Albania,” said her record producer, James Avatar. The singer, who arrived in the United States about 10 years ago, “wanted the American Dream,” Avatar said. “She loved Aretha Franklin and the American divas. Bitri was known for singing marathon sets at ethnic events.
National Incident Notificatyion Network
NEW YORK — A 7-year-old girl, her mother and her grandmother were found dead of apparent carbon monoxide poisoning on Tuesday in their Staten Island home, authorities said.
The names of the child, her 36-year-old mother and her 60-year-old grandmother were not immediately released. However, friends and neighbors identified the mother as Anita Bitri, a singer from Albania.
The three victims were the only residents of a pink, two-story frame house on a quiet street in the borough’s South Beach section.
Investigators believe the source of the colorless, odorless gas may have been a basement boiler, said fire Chief Thomas Haring.
Carbon monoxide is created any time gasoline, oil, wood or propane is burned. It is a leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States.
AAWO Press Release
WE ARE SHOCKED, WE ARE SAD, WE CAN’T BELIEVE IT!
Anita Bitri was a faithful AAWO member since our inception…She was among the first artists who contributed her time and talent to all our events. She always offered her participation in our concerts and events to support mothers and children in Kosova and Albania during the war. She did not withhold her enthusiasm when we worked to help with refugees, in their hope for a better life. She always wanted to be there to inspire people.
We remember her always smiling and dancing. She knew how to bring the spirit of joy among the crowds where she sang. It was on mother’s day that she contributed her time and talent and sang for AAWO’s event, which we organize annually. People were beyond themselves in joy, listening to her sing, dance, and remember their homeland.
Her sudden death shocked us beyond belief this morning when we received this sad news.
We could not believe that Anita, her daughter and her mother died early this morning. We don’t know how did this tragedy happen?
Anita came in this country from the city of Vlora, in Albania at the time when Albania was going through a very difficult time. She came to the U.S. for a better life and in a very short time she stole the hearts of our community.
“She represented beautifully Vlora to me” said our President Dr. Anna Kohen, “We have to keep her memory alive.” She continued.
“I never knew her close, but the news shocked me early this morning, especially that a little girl’s live ended.” Said ValbonaThaqi, AAWO bookkeeper.
Our Outreach Coordinator DardaneshaAndoni walked in crying. “I can’t believe this, I can’t believe this.”
“She sang in my wedding and made it magic for me and my husband, the whole wedding was like a miracle because of her spirit, and I cannot believe this news.” Said DoloreBushati, AAWO Deputy Director.
Anita’s life was a reflection of thousands of lives of women who came from Albania trying to escape disastrous economic, social and political situations. Artists in Albania usually were repressed and they seeked freedom of expression. In New York they felt free, they had an opportunity and they followed their dream.
Her public always loved Anita. She sang in many important events organized by Albanian American Women’s Organization as well as National Albanian American council and other organizations…
After nine years she went back to Albania to promote her new CD produced “Memories of My Life” produced by Brooklyn Media Lab.
She also produced a video documentary about her life as she had felt that it was not going to be long.
When she returned from Albania she shared her happiness with us telling us that Albanian audiences did not forget her and that they were so curious to find out how did America change her.
“America is a very civilized country,” Anita had answered, “with an enormous creative space and people, and what ever you may wish you can find it there. But the most important thing, you can find yourself there.”
She couldn’t believe how the city of Tirana, the capital of Albania had transformed; it was not the city she had left beyond. It was a city filled with high scrapers and new dreams. After her successful promotion of her CD in Tirana she came back to New York, to build a new bridge of between cultures.
She tried so hard to make it across the borders…one of our concerts we organized for her was titled: “Music Beyond Borders,” which took place in Cami Hall in 2001…She strived to bring Albanian music to the American audiences and promote our culture with pride.
She was a wonderful mother, she loved her daughter Sibora (like snow), and it is so sad that today she died with her daughter and her mother, and when she died all the newspapers and television networks are calling to hear her story.
Today she made the headlines and for us it is a very sad day because as she brought people together in life she is also bringing them in death and AAWO mourns for losing a good friend and dear member.
OCTOBER 20TH, 2004
Investigators say a blocked vent may have been responsible for three
carbon monoxide deaths in a Staten Island home Tuesday.
Police say they found the bodies of 36-year-old Anita Bitri,
a popular Albanian singer, and her 60-year-old mother and 7-year-old
daughter in a single-family house on Ocean Avenue in Arrochar in the
morning. The Fire Department says the three relatives died in their
The city’s Department of Buildings says the home’s ventilation system
was covered by plastic while workers were building a porch.
The carbon monoxide levels in the home were over 100 times that what
is considered safe.
Neighbors were shaken up by the news.
“I’m shocked. I just saw them yesterday. I am shocked to hear this,”
said LeunoraRuci, who lived next to the family.
“I sent my husband to get carbon monoxide detectors today, because
it’s too close to home now,” said another neighbor, Toni Ciardiello.
“It’s scary, you know? I was horrified. It could have been my house.
You don’t have those detectors and you never think until it’s right
The FDNY says the odorless gas came from the furnace in the cellar.
“That’s why you need a detector. You need a piece of equipment that is
going to give you an early warning so that you can protect your
families,” said FDNY Staten Island Borough Commander Thomas Haring.
Starting next month, a new city law will require almost all homes,
apartments and hotels to have carbon monoxide detectors.
Carbon Monoxide Being Blamed For Three Deaths On Staten Island. By Marcus Solis (Arrochar-WABC, November 19, 2004) — Three people inside the home on Ocean Avenue never knew what was happening. At noon, investigators were still on the scene although they have a pretty clear idea of what happened. When, firefighters entered the house around 8:30 a.m. this morning, they found was carbon monoxide levels off the charts due to a faulty furnace. There is now heart-wrenching grief over a family tragedy. Three lives were claimed by a silent, odorless, tasteless killer. Tuesday morning, firefighters discovered a mother, daughter and grand daughter all overcome by carbon monoxide. When emergency units entered the home on Ocean Avenue they discovered CO levels over a thousand parts per million when 0-9 is considered safe. Chief Thomas Haring, FDNY: “With those numbers, within a few breaths you could be unconscious.” One of the victims was 38-year-old Anita Bitri who was a well-known singer in her native Albania. Also killed was her 60-year-old mother and her seven-year-old daughter. Fire officials want to stress that this was entirely preventable with a carbon monoxide detector.
By SHAILA K. DEWAN
Published: October 20, 2004
well-known Albanian singer, her 7-year-old daughter and her mother were found dead in their home on Staten Island yesterday morning, victims of carbon monoxide poisoning, the authorities said.
The house, where mother and child slept in the dormered attic bedroom, had a very high level of carbon monoxide, a Fire Department spokesman said – four or five times the amount that would prompt firefighters to order an evacuation.
The new law will require detectors for carbon monoxide – a deadly, odorless gas – in virtually all residences beginning Nov. 1, with exceptions for the few that do not use fossil-fuel-burning heaters. Before yesterday, there had been four accidental carbon monoxide deaths in the city this year.A spokeswoman for the Department of Buildings said that the exact cause of the carbon monoxide buildup was still under investigation, but that it appeared to be related to a new patio that friends said had been poured in recent months. The vents for the basement furnace had been covered with plastic bags to keep the wet concrete out, said the spokeswoman, Ilyse Fink.
Neighbors and friends gathered outside the family’s pink stucco house on Ocean Avenue in the cold drizzle yesterday, many of them trying to comprehend the magnitude of the loss, some already planning how to raise money to send the bodies of the singer, Anita Bitri, 36, her daughter, Sibora, and her mother, HazbijeBitri, 60, to Albania to be buried.
Many in the crowd were Albanian musicians who often accompanied Ms. Bitri (she was best known by her maiden name). Their children had played with her daughter, a second grader at a nearby public school.
They said that Ms. Bitri came to the United States eight years ago for a gig at a New York club, and had decided to stay. “In Tirana, I knew her only as an idol,” said VaitHajdaraj, who eventually became part of her band, and who also decided to stay in the States after the gig. He said Albanian-Americans welcomed her here. “When we first came, the big place where we were performing was packed,” he said.
At home, she had been well known, performing every December at the national music festival. “She won a prize so many times,” said Edmond Xhani, a guitarist. “First place, second place…”
She went to Albania several months ago in preparation for the release of her new CD, which she had planned to promote there. “No one should think that in America opportunities are easily available,” she told an Albanian interviewer, according www.parajsa.com, a Web site. They are “even more difficult when living alone like myself. The only thing that’s kept me going here has been my profession.”
“Albania miss her,” Mr. Hajdaraj said. “You would see her every night on TV, like here you see Madonna, Britney Spears, you know.”
Here, Ms. Bitri’s life was far more modest. She had regular work as singer, helped her daughter with her schoolwork, and worked on her CD’s and three promotional videos to be shown in Albania. “Her life was very simple,” Mr. Hajdaraj said. “It’s not like she’s going out in public and bragging herself, ‘I’m this and I’m that.’ ”
Her mother was “like grandmas are,” said Maksim Vathi, another musician. “Very loving, helping, caring.”
Matthew Iacovelli, 26, a neighbor, also stood outside. “The little girl, she didn’t even get a chance to do anything,” he said. “She didn’t even get a chance to live her life.”
Like her mother, Sibora had musical talents and had been learning to play the piano. Her name means “like snow,” Mr. Vathi said. “And she was like snow, very beautiful. She had a clear face,” he said.
If Ms. Bitri’s life was an almost suburban routine, on stage she was a dynamic presence who was very much in demand at parties and festivals. She favored white dresses and heels, and knew pop numbers as well as traditional Albanian dances like the shota and the napolon.
She was staking her dreams on her new CD, for which she wrote the words and music, her friends said. She was considering the title, “Nothing is Impossible.”
One of the tracks on the CD was a duet with Sibora. “The song was saying, “When I grow up, I would like to sing like you,” Mr. Vathi said.
By AARON SMITH
Staff Reporter of the Sun
October 20, 2004
Three generations of an Albanian family, including a recently widowed singer well known among the Albanian community, died of carbon monoxide poisoning at their Staten Island home, according to police and family members.
Anita Bitri, 36, a singer who had recently released a new album, her mother, Hazbije, 66, and her daughter, Sibora, 8, were discovered dead at their Ocean Avenue home yesterday at 8:24 a.m., police said.
“She was a really famous singer in Albania, and she was a famous singer in our country,” said Edmond Xhani, 48, a guitarist who performed with Bitri. Mr. Xhani said Bitri had been performing for 20 years and produced a new album this summer named “Nothing is Impossible.” Other musicians said Bitri has performed in Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, and Boston, as well as in the city and in Europe. She recently traveled to Albania to produce her album with Kosovar producer FlorentBoshnjaku and Brooklyn Media Lab.
An FDNY spokesman said the downstairs boiler was to blame for the fatally high levels of carbon monoxide in the home. The medical examiner’s office has not yet released an official cause of death.
A spokeswoman for the city Department of Buildings, Jennifer Givner, said a plastic bag was found stuffed in the exhaust pipe of the home’s boiler, blocking the toxic exhaust from issuing out of the building. Ms. Givner said concrete was being poured at a construction site adjacent to the house and the plastic may have been used to prevent concrete from pouring into the exhaust pipe.
BOROUGH PRESIDENT MARKOWITZ CAUTIONS BROOKLYNITES ABOUT DANGERS OF CARBON MONOXIDE
Death of Anita Bitri-Prapaniku serves as a tragic reminder of the importance for all
Brooklynites to protect their homes from “silent killer” carbon monoxide
On October 19, the celebrated Albanian pop singer Anita Bitri, along with her mother and daughter, died in their sleep of carbon monoxide poisoning. Although she and her family lived in Staten Island, Ms. Bitri was in the process of recording her music in Brooklyn. The celebrated musical artist was well known in her home country and beloved by many Albanians living in their adopted home of Brooklyn.
“Brooklyn grieves the deaths of Anita Bitri, her mother and her daughter,” said Borough President Markowitz. “Ms. Bitri came to our borough with the same desires so many of us have: to fulfill her dreams. That her journey’s end could have been avoided is the real tragedy. As the weather gets colder, and the heat comes on in our homes, it is imperative that all Brooklynites protect themselves and their families from this ‘silent killer.’”
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless and non-irritating poisonous gas produced by burning fossil fuels. Without detectors or simple alarms, the only warning signs for carbon monoxide poisoning are headaches, dizziness, tiredness, and nausea. Local Law of 2004 requires the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in all multiple and private dwellings as well as in institutional and educational facilities throughout the city. The law goes into effect on November 1, 2004.
A memorial service for Ms. Bitri and her family is scheduled for this Saturday, October 23, at First Evangelical Free Church at 6523 Sixth Avenue and 65th Street in Brooklyn.
NEW YORK CITY-NEW CARBON MONOXIDE LAW
NEW CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR REQUIREMENT
On May 5, 2004, Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed legislation that requires the installation of carbon monoxide detecting devices within proximity of sleeping rooms in apartments and private homes. All buildings where fossil-fuel burning furnaces or boilers are located, with fossil fuel defined as coal, kerosene, oil, wood, fuel gases and other petroleum products, will be subject to the new law.
Owners will be entitled to a reimbursement of twenty-five dollars per device from tenants. The law will take effect 180 days from enactment, on November 1, 2004. The Rent Stabilization Association will be meeting with regulatory agencies with regard to implementation of the law.
All carbon monoxide detectors must be of a type designated by the Buildings Commissioner.
Recently, the New York City Council passed legislation that requires the installation of carbon monoxide detecting devices within proximity of sleeping rooms in apartments and private homes. All buildings where fossil-fuel burning furnaces or boilers are located, with fossil fuel defined as coal, kerosene, oil, wood, fuel gases and other petroleum products, are subject to the new law.
Owners will be entitled to a reimbursement of twenty-five dollars per device from tenants. The Rent Stabilization Association is meeting with regulatory agencies with regard to implementation of the law.
All carbon monoxide detectors must be of a type designated by the Buildings Commissioner. Currently, three technologies dominate the market for the detectors. The law won’t take effect until November 1, 2004. —
The City of New York in conjunction with the State and Local building authorities has drafted a new carbon monoxide alarm law. The law will require each apartment to have a functional carbon monoxide alarm by the end of October, 2004.
Please contact us directly to discuss your apartment complex and your carbon monoxide alarm requirements.
In most cases alarms are ‘special’ ordered to minimize cost.
To date, we have supplied CO alarms to several NYC apartment complexes, provided relevant information to RSA, and supplied samples to several building departments.
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A Silent Killer Took S.I. Family of 3 While They Slept – Staten Island, New York
Wed Oct 20, 2004
Shoddy work blamed for filling home
with deadly carbon monoxide
BY NANCY DILLON, AUSTIN FENNER and DAVE GOLDINER
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
Albanian pop singer Anita Bitri and 8-year-old daughter SiboraPrapaniku were killed along with Bitri’s mother by carbon monoxide poisoning at their Staten Island home.
Inspectors examine concrete deck construction job, where a plastic sheet was blamed for covering a vent, allowing carbon monoxide to build up in Ocean Ave., Staten Island, home.
A vent left covered by sloppy construction workers unleashed the deadly carbon monoxide cloud that stole the breath of a popular Albanian singer, her 8-year-old daughter and mother in their Staten Island home yesterday, authorities said.
There also was no carbon monoxide detector to wake up Anita Bitri, 36, her 66-year-old mother, Azbije, and daughter, Sibora, who were tragically killed in their sleep by the invisible, odorless gas.
“We lost a good friend, a great artist and a good Albanian,” GaniBlakaj, 47, of the Bronx, said of Bitri, a dark-haired beauty who was known as the Celine Dion of her Balkan homeland.
Firefighters said workers installing a concrete deck blocked exhaust vents for the boiler with plastic sheeting, sending poison gas spewing through the home on Ocean Ave. in South Beach.
Investigators were hunting last night for the contractor who did the shoddy work, said Chief Fire Marshal Louis Garcia.
The deadly gas spiked to a frightening 70 times acceptable levels in the second-floor room where the victims were found.
“At those numbers, a few breaths and you could be unconscious,” said Chief Thomas Haring, the FDNY’s borough commander for Staten Island. “Carbon monoxide is silent, but it is deadly.”
Word of the tragedy quickly spread through the tight-knit Albanian community, where dozens of musicians played with Bitri since she arrived in the U.S. eight years ago.
You can’t smell or see it, but carbon monoxide kills an estimated 2,000 Americans every year.
In the past year alone, the silent killer felled a devoted 9/11 fund-raiser and his 9-year-old daughter in their Bronx home, two tenants in their Murray Hill apartment and three members of a Bronx family.
Last Nov. 21, the fumes claimed three generations of the Williams inside their Popham Ave., Bronx, apartment a week before Thanksgiving Day.
With the electricity cut off for nonpayment, the family used a portable gas heater for warmth, but it spread the carbon monoxide gas and knocked out the entire family.
Patrick Williams, 26; his 2-month-old daughter, Patricia Williams, and his mother-in-law, Erna Dennis, 54, all died.
Two months later, the city mourned the loss of a devoted civic activist who died when the gas nearly wiped out his entire family in his Woodlawn, Bronx, home.
Martin Duffy, 36, and his daughter, Hannah Duffy, 9, died and his wife and son barely survived after a faulty boiler spewed fumes into their home on the evening of Jan. 14.
Duffy worked for the the Silver Shield Foundation, a charity for the children of fallen firefighters and cops that was especially active after the terror attacks claimed so many of New York’s Finest and Bravest.
A month later, the deadly menace struck in tony Murray Hill.
Retired airline executive Harvey Needleman, 67, and Joaquin Polanco, 40, were relaxing inside their sixth-floor apartment at 555 Third Ave. when the gas started to spread on Feb. 16.
Neighbors started feeling nauseated, but by the time rescuers arrived, it was too late to save Needleman and Polanco.
Memorial planned for Albanian singer
By Luiz Perez
October 20, 2004
Bitri who along with her mother and daughter died Tuesday in their
Staten Island home from carbon monoxide poisoning, had often performed at
charity events when she wasn’t singing her Western fusion songs at Albanian .
But this time, the benefit will be for her.
“We will try to sing some of her songs,” said VaitHajdaraj, a guitar player and one
of her former bandmates. “It’s not especially for playing music. It’s for
remembering Anita, for paying our respects.”
In April 2003, Bitri, was in Astoria, helping raise $10,000 for orphans of
Krusha e Madhe, a tiny Kosova village whose men were killed in the ethnic
In May, she sang at a Mother’s Day event at a catering hall in Brooklyn.
In addition to her former band members, performers at the event will include the
Albanian accordionist RaifHyseni, the singer MeritaHalili and the singers
Frederick and Aida Ndoci.
Malushi recalled that shortly after arriving in New York for the first time eight
years ago, Bitri attended her first fundraiser, a national flag day
A spokeswoman for the city Department of Buildings said it appears that the deck
was built by family friends, not a licensed contractor.
Carbon monoxide readings in the house were anywhere from 70 to 100 times the
safe level, Haring said, adding that at “those numbers, a few breaths and you’d be
Bitri, who performed as Anita Bitri, was popular in her native Albania,
according to one her bandmates, Maksim Vathi.
“She was very famous in Albania,” Vathi said. “She was very popular here too.
She wrote her owns songs.
She had a new CD coming out in a couple of months and she was in the process
of making a couple of music videos.”
Vathi said Bitri’s style was to mix her native tongue with English and
combine traditional Albanian music with American pop.
ShqipeMalushi, the executive director of the Albanian American Music
Organization, said Bitri-Prapaniku came to the United States about 10 years ago.
According to a press release issued two years ago by the Albanian American
Women’s Organization announcing a fund-raising concert, Bitri debuted
as a violinist when she was 6 years old and went on to become “the winner of
many national awards in Albania.”
She also influenced Albanian popular culture, the release said. But she “lived under
the dark cloud of isolationism and communism, which separated her from the
At her death, she was working on a new CD and a documentary called “Memories
of my life,” Malushi said, adding that she was planning a trip to Albania in an effort to drum up interest in both projects.
Another bandmate, VaitHajdarj, said “She was her usual self, very happy,” he said of that performance. “We had somany plans.”
She also played fund-raisers on behalf of Albanian causes.
“It’s a big loss to us because she was always the first one to help us in our
events,” said Malushi. “She brought our community together in life as she did in
death….That was her gift.”
Cantantealbanesemuore a New York con la figlia
A New York è morta, per quelloche pare siastatountragicoincidente, Anita Bitri, cantantealbanesepiuttosto nota nelsuoPaese. Bitri è statatrovataesanime, al pari di suafiglia e di suamadre, nella casa in cui le treabitavano, a New York.
Pare certoche le donnesianomorte a causa di avvelenamento da monossido di carbonio: iltubo del boiler dell’appartamento, che era in ristrutturazione, è statotrovatochiuso da alcunisacchetti di plastica, apparentementepiazzati in tale posizione per non far entrarematerialiesterniprovenientidailavori. Ilproduttoredellacantante, James Avatar, ha riferitocheBitristavaregistrando due album, uno in albaneseeduno in inglese. La cantanteaveva 36 anni e risiedeva a New York da undecennio.
(22 ott 2004)
ANITA BITRI’S MEMORIAL SPEECH BY SHQIPE MALUSHI poetja, shkrimtarja, humanistjadheishdrejtoresha e AAWO nё NY.
October 22, 2004
Eulogjy by: ShqipeMalushi
A dream I had for you
My Beloved homeland
To sing for you through life
Until the day I die
As you once beckoned my heart
To swim through the rivers of hope,
Never missing a chance,
From the grief of truth,
Today I am there with you in spirit
Hand in Hand with my mother and child,
My God, your song continues to quiver
My soul, as the violin strings
Play my last dance of love.
Today we bid farewell to a woman, a mother, a daughter, and an artist Anita Bitri, her daughter Sibora, and her mother Hazbije, together all gently passing through the doors of life to eternity. If we all stop for a moment, all of us who knew Anita Bitri and try to recall how we remember her, I am sure most of us will hear her violin strings captivating our hearts and her songs moving our souls.
Her life was music that made each and every one believe that tomorrow will always come. Music was her gift to us, to make us believe that we too were part of that creation. Music that came from her heart and moved our worlds bringing us back to the green pastures of our homeland was the core of her happiness.
She came in this country, like many of us immigrants come with barely anything in her luggage but a dream: to be seen, to be heard, to be loved and to share her gifts with others while keeping the torch of light from the homeland burning. She wanted her life to be Art, and she made art from her life.
It was never about the obstacles or suffering for Anita. It was the music she played on the stage that mattered to her. It was about love of people that surrounded her, it was about searching for new venues to express herself, it was about freedom, it was about dreaming, and singing…
Her life was filled with sadness like lives of many artists; her gift was to bring joy, to lift the spirit of other people and make their moments magic. Her eyes were filled with light; her laughter rang long after she would be gone. Anita was funny, loved colors, food, talking for long hours about her dreams and love…She loved life. She loved her daughter Sibora, she loved her mother Hazbije and wanted to give them a beautiful life. She tried. She was young she thought she had many years ahead of her. As a member of Albanian American Women’s Organization she always offered to sing for us so we could successfully keep our mission ahead. She was very often a part of our events, helping us bring people together, reminding us who we were in the past and who we were in the present. Lifting our daily worries and giving us hope that our burdens would not last long. It was on our last Mother’s Day event that all of them, Anita, her daughter Sibora and her mom Hazbije came to celebrate this evening together. She lit up everyone’s heart as we danced till early morning hours, she didn’t stop, and she never stopped. Anita was a fighter in life, she had a dream and her dream was Music, Love, her daughter, her mother, her homeland. Anita suffered like thousands of women suffer when they come to a new country. She never forgot her home or her difficult days, Anita became their voice and hope for many women who seeked to find exit from survival to living. Our members cannot believe that Anita has left, they call us crying, they remember moments with her, they whisper her songs…Flora Selfo who called yesterday said: “She made my son’s wedding magic, how can I forget her… She united us in life and she is uniting us in death.” Indeed, I remember her trying always to overcome the obstacles and difficulties in her life, and walking proudly as an ambassador of our culture and art. When Anita recently returned from Albania she was so happy that her people did not forget her, that they loved her and that her love for her homeland did not change in her heart. Today her homeland is waiting for her daughters in tears through the echo of their song. Today we have to bid farewell to Anita, Sibora and her mom Hazbije. We must promise to keep Anita’s legacy alive: That no matter what happens to us in life, we will keep our head high and sing our songs and dance our dances never forgetting our homeland. We have to fulfill Anita’s wish to go back home, and let her soul rest in the land she loved. Today we must help her dream become a reality and let her swim in the final ocean of love.
O My beloved people.
I would have loved for us to have gathered when Anita would have walked through those doors singing for us…But instead today it is our last chance to bid farewell to Anita Bitri whose song kept the fire of our hearts burning for many years in the past. In a quiet moment please try connecting with their spirits. Feel the presence of her lovely eyes in your heart.
May God bless you!
Let us remember the words of Henry Scott Holland who said: “
I am standing on the seashore. A ship spreads her white sails to the morning breeze & starts for the ocean. I stand watching her until she fades on the horizon, & someone at my side says, “She is gone.” Gone where? The loss of sight is in me, not in her. Just at the moment when someone says, “She is gone,” there are others who are watching her coming. Other voices take up the glad shout, “Here she comes.”
Farewell dear sister, mother and daughter farewell to all of you, today you are departing from us and arriving home.
We will miss you.
Recalling Anita in song – Musicians, others to gather to honor
Albanian pop singer who died from carbon monoxide poisoning
October 21, 2004
Albanian folk musicians and hundreds of others will gather in Brooklyn
Saturday for a memorial benefit concert in honor of Anita Bitri.
Bitri, who along with her mother and daughter died Tuesday from carbon
monoxide poisoning in their Staten Island home, had often performed at charity events when she
wasn’t singing her Western fusion songs at Albanian parties.
But this time, the benefit will be for her.
“We will try to sing some of her songs,” said VaitHajdaraj, a guitar player and one of her former bandmates. “It’s not especially for playing music.
It’s for remembering Anita, for paying our respects.”
In April 2003, Bitri was in Astoria, helping raise $10,000 for orphans of VelikaKrusa, a tiny Kosovo village whose men were killed in the ethnic cleansing war.
In May, she sang at a Mother’s Day event at a catering hall in Brooklyn.
With her mother, HazabijeBitri, 60, and daughter, Sibora, 7, at her side, the beloved Albanian singer presided over a dance contest and raised several thousand dollars for a local Albanian group.
The 4 p.m. event at the First Evangelical Free Church, at Sixth Avenue and 65th street in Sunset Park, is also billed as a farewell performance and will raise money for the return of Bitri’s body for burial to her native Albania, where she was a respected singer and violinist.
“Now we are doing a benefit for her. It’s unfortunate,” said ShqipeMalushi, executive director of the Albanian American Woman’s Organization, who said the performer often gave of her time since arriving in the United States in 1996.
In addition to her former band members, performers at the event will include Albanian accordionist RaifHyseni, singer MaritaHalili and singers Frederick and Aida Ndoci.
Several family friends said the deceased singer’s brother was en route from Italy to New York yesterday to identify the bodies.
Malushi recalled that shortly after arriving in New York for the first time eight years ago, Bitri attended her first fund-raiser, a national Flag Day celebration.
“She came right after she gave birth and somebody held her baby while she was singing,” Malushi recalled. “This is how she never spared herself.”
The whole of American public opinion has been touched by the “Bitri” tragedy of October 19, 2004, the day corresponding to the beatification of Mother Teresa. On Staten Island, the New York police found the lifeless bodies which represented three generations: a mother, a daughter, and a granddaughter. It was precisely the singer who for fame had crossed the Albanian border, Anita Bitri, that lost her life together with her mother, Hazbije, and her daughter, American born Sibora, on the night of October 19th. The deaths of these three women were the reason that the government of New York City approved the required placing of carbon monoxide detectors in homes, from which the tragedy occurred. In this regard, the attitude of the American government and especially of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg needs to be commended, who with respect and humaneness which they demonstrated towards this unfortunate event, as well as by the designation of the law requiring Carbon Monoxide detectors with the name “Anita,” eased the wounded hearts of family members. The tragedy was caused as a result of the negligence of some persons who were working on the construction of a balcony alongside the house of Anita Bitri. This is not an allusion, but the response that has come from three impartial experts, who arrived at the same conclusion together: the plugging of the exhaust vent for carbon monoxide by the workers during the construction of the balcony alongside the house, caused three innocent lives to be wiped out at the same time. This is precisely the reason that allowed the burning of natural gas by the boiler to fill the interior of the house with an amount of carbon monoxide equivalent to 762 thousand parts per cubic centimeter, when only an amount of 6 parts is necessary for the death every living thing. The conclusion is clear and uncontestable.
Being based on the most modern American technology, the deaths were accidental. The Bitri family died as a result of the carelessness of the work of the builders.