List was born Elisabeth Driessen in a prison camp in Japanese-occupied Indonesia. Her mother died in 1945 and she and her father returned to the Netherlands where he remarried, but his new wife and Elisabeth did not get along with each other and she was fostered by another family from the age of seven. She call this her "salvation" - her father and step-mother emigrated to South Africa and their children have all had difficult lives.
She specializes in French chansons and the songs of Mikis Theodorakis and has been called the grande dame de chanson.
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