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Sofia Vembo

Sofia Vembo
Born Efi Bembo
(1910-02-10)10 February 1910
Gallipoli, East Thrace, Turkey
Died 11 March 1978(1978-03-11) (aged 68)
Athens, Greece
Other names Songstress of Victory
Occupation Singer, actress
Years active 1933-1978
Parent(s) Thanasis Bembos
Pinelopi Bembo
Relatives Giorgos "Tzortzis" Bembos (brother)
Aliki Bembo (sister)
Andreas Bembos (brother)

Sofia Vembo (Greek: Σοφία Βέμπο; Gallipoli, East Thrace, Turkey 10 February 1910 – Athens, Greece 11 March 1978) was a leading Greek singer and actress active from the interwar period to the early postwar years and the 1950s. She became best known for her performance of patriotic songs during the Greco-Italian War, when she was dubbed the "Songstress of Victory".

Her real name was Efi Bembou (Έφη Μπέμποu). She was born in Gallipoli (Turkish: Gelibolu; Greek: Καλλίπολη, i.e. "beautiful city"), Eastern Thrace - Turkey, in 1910, but after the Asia Minor Catastrophe her family moved to Tsaritsani in Greece, where her father became a tobacco worker, and later to Volos in Greece.

She began her career in Thessaloniki in the early 1930s. In the winter of 1933, she was hired by the theater operator Fotis Samartzis of the Kentrikon theater for the revue "Parrot 1933". She then began to record romantic songs for the Columbia company, achieving fame because of her distinctly sonorous contralto voice.

Her reputation however skyrocketed after the Italian attack on Greece on 28 October 1940, when her performance of patriotic and satirical songs became a major inspiration for the fighting soldiers. At the same time, she offered 2,000 gold pounds from her own fortune to the Hellenic Navy. Following the German invasion and occupation of the country in April 1941, she was transported to the Middle East, where she continued to perform for the Greek troops in exile.

After the war, in 1949, she acquired her own theatre, the "Vembo Theatre", in the Metaxourgeio quarter of Athens. In 1957, she married her long-time lover Mimis Traiforos. During the 1960s, she began to perform less and less, before finally retiring in the early 1970s. She died on 11 March 1978.

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