1954 (age 63)
Described as a major cabaret force (Bay Windows) and a consummate interpreter (Theater Mirror), Sophia Bilides won the 2005 IRNE Award for Best Female Cabaret Performer. She was named one of Bay Windows' Top Ten Cabaret Performers of 2004 (sharply comic, touchingly dramatic, hitting her intended mark every time) and reviewed in Cabaret Scenes (delightfully eclectic, highly polished, mesmerizing). Her lyricist tributes include Witchcraft: The Lyrics Of Carolyn Leigh, endorsed by the Leigh Estate, and Make Someone Happy: The Lyrics of Comden & Green, which earned her a 2003 IRNE Award Nomination for Best Female Cabaret Artist and was named one of Bay Windows' Top Ten Cabaret Events of 2002 (Bilides spins gold with this show). Her seasonal shows include The Summer Knows, one of the Ten Best Cabaret Shows of 2005 (Edge Boston.com), and Winter Warm: Songs For The Solstice, as bracing as a shot of brandy (Boston Globe), now on CD. She appears regularly at Scullers in Boston, and her appearance at Danny's Skylight Room earned her a 2007 MAC Award Nomination for New York Debut. Equal to any of the finest cabaret artists in the country today, Bilides consistently renders a brilliant performance. (Cabaret Hotline Online)
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.
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