Sofiya Mykhaylivna Yevdokymenko-Rotaru (born August 7, 1947), known as Sofia Rotaru (Ukrainian: Софiя Михайлівна Ротару [sɔˈfijɑ rɔˈtɑru]; Russian: София Ротару; Romanian: Sofia Rotaru), is a former Soviet and current Ukrainian pop singer of Moldovan descent.
Rotaru, nicknamed Bukovinsky Solovey (Nightingale from Bukovina), emerged in 1966 as a pop folk star in the movie Solovey iz sela Marshintsy (Nightingale from Marshyntsi) in the Romanian and Ukrainian-speaking world after her manager and future husband Anatoliy Yevdokymenko made her change her music style from folk to pop music with Chervona Ruta.
In 1972, Sofia released the multilingual album Sofia Rotaru, re-released three times and covered by numerous singers, establishing herself as a viable pop artist in the countries of the former Soviet Union. Rotaru had first gained international recognition after participating in 1968 in the International Youth Song Festival in Bulgaria and winning first prize at the Golden Orpheus in 1973 and second prize in the category of Polish songs at the Sopot International Song Festival in 1974. In the former USSR her career was marked by her stage success and numerous controversies. Rotaru has been acknowledged by the Kiev Patriarchate.
Rotaru has been performing for more than 40 years. According to polls, she is the most popular pop artist in Russia and topped the Moscow airplay with "Ya nazovu planetu imenem tvoim" in 2008. Rotaru reported the highest income of all celebrities in Ukraine in 2008.
Her repertoire consists of more than 40 albums and 400 songs recorded in many languages. She has received awards, deemed a Meritorious Artist of the Ukrainian SSR, People's Artist of Ukraine, People's Artist of Moldavian SSR, Laureate of the Young Communist League Prize, Hero of Moldova, and Cavalier of the Republican Order of Moldova. In August 2002 former President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma and President of Russia Vladimir Putin gave awards to Sofia Rotaru for her 55th birthday, bestowing upon her the high rank of the Hero of Ukraine for her "outstanding personal merits in the sphere of art", and the Russian order "For merits before the Nation", respectively. While Sofia Rotaru commonly goes by her last name, her official last name is Yevdokymenko-Rotaru (Ukrainian: Євдокименко-Ротару). Yevdokymenko was the surname of her late husband. Yalta is her main residence, although she also lives in Moscow, Kiev, and Baden-Baden.