Soft Power

Voice of a nation— Geneva


Singer Nana Mouskouri is now retired but her songs remain inseparable from Greek culture. She’s a staunch nationalist, having lived through Greece’s transition to a democracy, and is determined that her proud country will recover from its financial crisis.

Athens Conservatoire, City of Athens Gold Medal of Merit, Manos Hadjidakis, Nana Mouskouri

Nana Mouskouri’s capacious, marble-clad home may overlook Lake Geneva, but the casual visitor would be instantly apprised of her heritage. Her living room wall is adorned with icons while biographies of Alexander the Great and catalogues on the Elgin Marbles loom large on her bookshelves. And on a dresser sits the hefty City of Athens Gold Medal of Merit, bestowed on Mouskouri a few years ago, along with an effusive citation from the city’s mayor: “She packed Greece in her suitcase and conquered the world.”

For once, the hype is justified; it’s not…

Hitting the high notes: Nana Mouskouri’s CV

1934 Born in Chania, Crete

1937 Moves to Athens

1950 Accepted at the Athens Conservatoire

1957 Records her first song, Fascination

1961 Marries musician Yorgos Petsilas. They have two children and divorced in 1975

1963 Leaves Greece to live in Paris

1966 Tours the US with Harry Belafonte

1984 Does her first live performance in Greece since 1962

1993 Appointed a UNICEF Goodwill ambassador

1994 Elected a Member of the European Parliament. Resigns in 1999

2003 Marries her second husband

2004 An unprecedented 34-CD box-set of more than 600 songs is released

2008 Gives her final stage performance at the Herodes Atticus Theatre in Athens

2010 Donates her MEP’s pension to the state


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