CULTURE

Singer of victory in new exhibition and biography

The familiar voice of Sofia Vembo is a regular fixture during Greek national holidays. It is the popular singer’s face, however, which will take on a leading role at the Thessaloniki War Museum – with hundreds of photographs showcasing her life and deeds in Greece and abroad. Previously unpublished photographic material, rare manuscripts, music scores, production programs, correspondence, local and international reviews as well as personal objects trace the life of the legend and her time. The material stems from the rich archive of photographer Katerina K. Petridou and marks the first time the collector and personal friend of Vembo will release it to the public (Vembo herself had generously offered the material to her friend over the course of their 28-year friendship). Accompanying the exhibition is a book in which Petridou traces key Vembo moments. The publication also contains photographs from Volos, Thessaloniki, Athens, the Middle East, the USA, Cairo, military barracks, air units, warship decks, hospitals, refugee camps and other places where Vembo engaged in her own war, singing to encourage the army via the patriotic lyrics written by her husband, Mimis Traiforos. Vembo’s voice became a «national voice,» and she became the «singer of victory.» «Her spirit, her songs and her own efforts were of vital importance to the homeland, becoming a glorious example to us all,» said Nikos Tsiartsionis, Macedonia-Thrace minister, at the exhibition’s opening last week. New biography Also on the Sofia Vembo front is a new, illustrated biography of the singer by Andreas Mamais, recently published by Patakis Editions. Featuring photographs of a young and older Vembo, newspaper clippings and glamorous magazine cover stories, «Sofia Vembo» pays homage to a great singer. The biography is divided into four parts. The first part (1910-1940) covers Vembo’s early days in Volos and her first steps in the world of music. The second part (1940-1950) traces the singer’s wartime efforts, while the third part (1950-1972) marks Vembo’s return to the stage and the establishment of her namesake theater. The last part of the new biography describes the events that took part on November 17, 1973, at Vembo’s house on Stournari Street, along with the final, difficult years of her life.