As a nationally recognized Greek vocalist, Bilides has performed the songs of her heritage at concert halls throughout North America, including New York’s Lincoln Center For The Performing Arts. She is considered the foremost practitioner of the Greek singing style known as Smyrneika (Boston Globe), a cabaret tradition born of Asia Minor Greek refugees in the 1930s-40s, with intricate melodies and sensual rhythms expressing love, nostalgia, and the celebration of life. Called one fantastic alto! (Sing Out Magazine), she was featured in a National Endowment For The Arts Singing Traditions Tour, and received an Individual Artist Folklore Award from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Her CD, Greek Legacy, fairly shouts the word quality. Her superb voice is heard to excellent effect in this fascinating singing style that straddles the cultural divide between East and West. (Folk Roots Magazine). Accompanying herself on santouri (hammered dulcimer), with musicians on guitar and doumbeleki, she brings to life a musical heritage that still speaks from and to the heart. (International Greek Folklore Society).
Sophia with her santouri
A second-generation Greek-Italian-American, Sophia Bilides was born in 1954 and raised in New Haven, Connecticut, absorbing the musical influences of her father’s Permata (Asia Minor) Greek community, her mother’s Neapolitan Italian family, and the Broadway musicals which came through town at the Shubert Theater. Classical vocal studies led to a degree in Voice and Music Education from New England Conservatory, after which she chose to focus on Greek and American cabaret traditions. A resident of rural Western Massachusetts for 20 years, where she directed the Pioneer Valley Folklore Society and hosted Valley Folk, a program of world music on WFCR Radio, she has relocated to the Boston area with her husband Tom Babbin. American Eskimo dogs have been part of the family, first Bianca, and now two rescued pups, Roza and Rita.
Edited by vagelas on 4 May 2008, 18:51
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