Athens First Cemetery, Logginou 3, Athina 116 36, Greece
Sotiria Bellou (August 22, 1921 – August 27, 1997) was a famous Greek singer and performer of the Greek rebetiko style of music. She was one of the most famous rebetisa of all, mentioned in many music guides, and a contributor to the 1984 British Documentary entitled Music of the Outsiders. On 14 March 2010, Alpha TV ranked Bellou the 22nd top-certified female artist in the nation's phonographic era (since 1960).
In 1938, at the age of 17 she met her future husband Vangelis Trimouras, a bus conductor. Her father arranged her marriage despite her objections because he thought that her husband could tame her. Their marriage lasted for only six months as he reportedly abused her, even causing her a miscarriage. Being a hot-blooded woman, during one of their fights she reacted by throwing vitriol, a corrosive acid, in his face. She was sentenced to three years and three months imprisonment. She spent three months in prison at Chalkida before the trial and one month at the Averof prison in Athens. She appealed and her sentence was reduced to six months. After paying for bail, she returned to her home town where she was treated with hostility and was often beaten by her relatives for the embarrassment that she supposedly brought to her family.
In her personal life, she had two big weaknesses: gambling and alcohol, which eventually led her to poverty and caused her mental problems. She was treated in a psychiatric clinic on at least one occasion. Sotiria was openly a lesbian in a time when this was practically unheard of.
Although she was particularly admired by artists, critics, and the public, she was alone and ignored towards the end of her life. Only a handful of people supported her in the last stages of her year-long struggle with throat cancer with which she was diagnosed in 1993. She died in Athens on August 27, 1997 and she was buried according to her request in the First Cemetery of Athens next to Vassilis Tsitsanis.
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