In the Great Fire of Smyrna (1922), Kivelli lost everything: her family, her friends, her social position, and her future. Stranded in the Greek city of Piraeus, populated by gangsters, prostitutes, fortune-tellers and other refugees, she finds herself living in the broom closet of a brothel. Luckily, the sound of her singing voice captures the attention of a local taverna owner, who suggests she come with him and perform for his customers. Kivelli's time at the bar is short-lived, but gives way to a recording career and her slow climb up the economic and social ladder of this foreign city. Although life is certainly better for her no longer the object of an auction at a brothel, no longer a singer in a disreputable taverna Kivelli misses the magical world of her youth in the great port city of Smyrna.