Irena Santor Honorary Citizen of Warsaw

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fot. © Chris Niedenthal

Irena Santor (born December 9, 1934, in Papowo Biskupie)
Honorary Citizen of the Capital City of Warsaw since June 2013.

A soloist in the “Mazowsze”, State Folk Group of Song and Dance, a singer (mezzo-soprano), winner of national and international competitions, performer of songs, many of which have become hits.
Her professional career began in 1951, in the “Mazowsze” State Folk Group of Song and Dance. In those times came her first big hit ”Ej, przeleciał ptaszek". In 1959 she recorded for the first time and made her debut as a soloist on the stage. With her participation in the Sopot Festival in 1961 and winning the prize for performing the songs "Embarras" and "Walczyk na cztery ręce", the story of individual successes began; with the song "Powrócisz tu" she won the Opole Festival and  in Sopot she won the 3rd prize. Subsequent years were marked by continuous performances, radio and television and musical recordings. She tried her hand at cabaret ("U Kierdziołka"," Wagabunda"), theatre (Ateneum, Syrena), TV theatre ("Loteryja " with the music by Stanisław Moniuszko) and film ("Przygoda z piosenką").  She has made many television recitals and radio programmes.
In 1991, she decided to end her performances on the stage and move to charity and social work, and only sporadically recorded radio programmes and worked in television.  She devoted herself to social work for the Association of Polish Artists and Performers of Popular Music, and for nearly 10 years, starting in 1994, she was its President. Her disease and the fortunate end of her health problems in 2000 became an incentive to participate in actions that promote preventive mammograms and cytology.. She was also involved in the work of the Polish Union of Oncology.  An important part of her work was cooperation with the foundations of Jolanta Kwaśniewska's "Porozumienie bez barier" and Anna Dymna's "Mimo wszystko". In 2009, she resumed concerts, appearing from time to time in various Polish cities.
Her extensive repertoire includes many songs that are "the business cards of the capital city", for example, “Jak przygoda, to tylko w Warszawie”, “Kamienne schodki”, “Maleńki znak”, “Małe mieszkanko na Mariensztacie”, “Na Francuskiej”, “Na prawo most, na lewo most”, “Pójdę na Stare Miasto” and “Warszawa, ja i ty”.
She was awarded, among other things, the Gold Cross of Merit, the Commander's Cross of the Order of the Rebirth of Poland, and the Gloria Artis Medal. She was also awarded the Amber Nightingale for Lifetime Achievement and a Golden Fryderyk.

fot. © Chris Niedenthal