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Aπό ξένο τόπο
(Apo Xeno Topo)

(From a Foreign Place)

 

 

This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to the traditional old Greek song "Apo Xeno Topo" (Aπό ξένο τόπο). Artists who have recorded it include Maria Soultatou, Glykeria, and many others.

Song lyrics are provided for educational purposes. If you like the song, please purchase either the album or a download from an authorized source.

About this Song

This traditional song from Asia Minor (where modern-day Turkey resides) is the Greek counterpart for the Turkish song "Üsküdara Gideriken", with entirely different lyrics. Versions of it have been sung in many languages in many places around the world. In fact, there is even a documentary titled Whose Is This Song? that discovers and reveals many of those versions.

In the original version of this song, the lyrics refer to a love story with a 12 year old girl. To avoid pedophilia accusations, many artists who performed this song changed the age to 18, and others to 20.

About Glykeria

Glykeria Kotsoula is the sweetheart of Greece and one of the greatest legends of our time. She was born in 1953 in Serres, Greece. Her musical style is modern laika (rebetika & folk), while still always paying tribute to the great Rebetes of the past.

Panayiota, the translator of this song, offers this personal perspective on what Glykeria's music means to her:

Glykeria's music always has and always will inspire me both on and off the stage. I admire her simplicity and humbleness despite her fame and success. While most kids were learning standard lullabies, my mother would sing all her songs to me, since I was a baby. My mother Evangelia is a huge fan and loves singing her songs. On family road trips, my mother played all her tapes over and over again. Those cassette tapes are what made me fall in love with Laika/Rebetika style music at the age of ten. Thank you Glykeria, thank you Mama! Enjoy!

Most of Glykeria's records have gone platinum. She has gained fame and respect through out the world. Glykeria collaborates with many notable international musicians, including the Turkish living legend, Omar Farouk Tekbilek.

Glykeria

About Keti Grey

Keti Grey is the professional name for Athanassia Gkizili. She was born on the Greek island of Samos in 1924. She started her career as an actress, but went on to record her first song in 1952, and over her career she worked with all the great composers of her time. In the 1960's, Grey was the highest paid singer in Greece with a salary that exceeded 8,000 drachmas. Over the course of her career, she recorded over 1,500 songs before retiring in 1995. She starred in 19 films as an actress and a singer.

Song: Apo Xeno Topo (From a Foreign Place)

Lyrics: Traditional

Music: Traditional

Some Artists Who Have Recorded It:

A documentary titled Whose Is This Song? discovers many recordings of this song in many languages. There are also many resources on the Internet identifying many artists and languages where this song has been found. These highlights were selected for this page, but some Internet searching will reveal many other artists and languages.

In Greek
  • Xanthippi Karathanasi ("Apo Xeno Topo")
  • Mariza Koch
  • Mario Liberopoulo, 1917 ("Apo Xeno Kosmo")
  • Giorgos Vidali, 1926 ("Ehasa Mantili")
  • Lefteris Menemenlis, 1928 ("Ehasa Mantili")
  • Kazis Miltiadis, 1928 ("Ehasa Mantili")
  • Virginia Magidou ("Eskoutari")
  • Keti Grey, 1960 ("Apo Xeno Topo"), with Markos Vamvakaris on the album Ta Matoklada Sou Lampoun
  • Glykeria, 2008 ("Apo Xeno Topo"), on her album Όλα Τα Σμυρναίικα
  • Maria Soultatou ("Apo Xeno Topo")
  • Omid Tahmasebpur, 2010 ("Apo Xeno Topo")
  • Katerina Papadopoulou, 2010, on the album Πολίτικη Ζυγιά
In Other Languages
  • Safiye Ayla, 1949, in Turkish
  • Eartha Kitt, 1953, in Turkish ("Uska Dara")
  • Mohamed El-Bakkar, 1959, in Arabic ("Banat Iskandaria") on his album Port Said
  • Zeki Müren, 1968, in Turkish, sang the song in the movie Kâtip (Üsküdar'a Giderken)
  • Chris Kalogerson, 1975, instrumental ("Banat Iskandaria") on his album Belly Dancing for Everyone
  • Hani Mitwasi, 2006, in Arabic ("Gazali Gazali") on his album Khamrat Al Hob
  • Loreena McKennitt, 2006 ("Sacred Shabbat") on the album An Ancient Muse

Dance Styles:

  • Syrtos
  • Syrto-Tsifteteli
  • Belly Dance

Τραγούδι: Aπό ξένο τόπο

Στίχοι: Παραδοσιακό

Μουσική: Παραδοσιακό

Ερμηνευτές:

Στα Ελληνικά
  • Μάριο Λυμπερόπουλο, 1917 ("Άπο Χένω Κόσμο")
  • Γιώργος Βιδάλη, 1926 ("Έχασα Μαντήλι")
  • Λευτέρης Μενεμενλης, 1928 ("Έχασα Μαντήλι")
  • Καζης Μιλτιάδης, 1928 ("Έχασα Μαντήλι")
  • Καίτη Γκρέυ, 1961 ("Aπό ξένο τόπο")
  • Γλύκερια, 2008 ("Aπό ξένο τόπο")
  • Μαριά Σουλτάτου ("Aπό ξένο τόπο")

Χορός:

  • Συρτός
  • Συρτοτσιφτετέλι
  • Οριεντάλ, Χορό Της Κοιλιάς, Ανατολίτικο Χορό, Τσιφτετέλι, Τσιφτετέλια, Χανούμικο, Κελικός Χορός

 

 

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Lyrics

Many versions of this song have been recorded. Translations for three of them appear below.

  1. Maria Soultatou 
  2. Keti Grey 
  3. Glykeria, 2008

 

Maria Soultatou

Numbers in parentheses refer to footnotes that appear at the bottom of the translation.

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Aπό ξένο τόπο κι απ' αλαργινο apo xeno topo ke ap' alaryino From a foreign and distant place,
Aπό ξένο τόπο κι απ' αλαργινο apo xeno topo ke ap' alaryino from a foreign and distant place,
ήρθ' ένα κορίτσι irth' ena koritsi a girl came —
φως μου, δεκαοχτώ χρονω fos mou, dekaohto hrono my light, 18 years old,
ήρθ' ένα κορίτσι irth' ena koritsi a girl came —
φως μου, δεκαοχτώ χρονω fos mou, dekaohto hrono my light, 18 years old.
     
Ούτε στη πόρτα βγαίνει oute sti porta vgeni She won't even come to the door,
ούτε στο στενό oute sto steno not even [the one] on the side street.
Ούτε στη πόρτα βγαίνει oute sti porta vgeni She won't even come to the door,
ούτε στο στενό oute sto steno not even [the one] on the side street.
ούτε στο παραθύρι φως μου oute sto parathiri fos mou Not even to a window, my light,
δυο λόγια να της πω dio loyia na tis po so I can talk to her. (1)
ούτε στο παραθύρι φως μου oute sto parathiri fos mou Not even to a window, my light,
δυο λόγια να της πω dio loyia na tis po so I can talk to her. (1)
     
Έβγα κόρη του oυρανού evga kori tou ouranou Come out, daughter of the sky,
άστρο λαμπερό astro lambero shining star.
Έβγα κόρη του oυρανού evga kori tou ouranou Come out, daughter of the sky,
άστρο λαμπερό astro lambero shining star.
χάρισε μου την ελιά σου harise mou tin ilia sou Give me the mole (2) (3)
που 'χεις στο λαιμό pou 'hees sto lemo that you have on your neck.
χάρισε μου την ελιά σου harise mou tin ilia sou Give me the mole (2) (3)
που 'χεις στο λαιμό pou 'hees sto lemo that you have on your neck.
     
Δεν σου τη χαρίζω den sou ti harizo I'm not giving (3) it to you,
φως μου fos mou my light.
δεν σου τη πουλώ den sou ti poulo I'm not selling it to you.
Δεν σου τη χαρίζω den sou ti harizo I'm not giving (3) it to you,
φως μου fos mou my light.
δεν σου τη πουλώ den sou ti poulo I'm not selling it to you.
μον' τη θέλω την ελίτσα mon' ti thelo tin elitsa I only want my cute mole (2)
να σε τυρραγνώ na se tiragno to make you suffer.
μον' τη θέλω την ελίτσα mon' ti thelo tin elitsa I only want my cute mole (2)
να σε τυρραγνώ na se tiragno to make you suffer.
     

Instrumental

Instrumental

Instrumental

     
Aπό ξένο τόπο κι απ' αλαργινο apo xeno topo ke ap' alaryino From a foreign and distant place,
Aπό ξένο τόπο κι απ' αλαργινο apo xeno topo ke ap' alaryino from a foreign and distant place,
ήρθ' ένα κορίτσι irth' ena koritsi a girl came —
φως μου, δεκαοχτώ χρονω fos mou, dekaohto hrono my light, 18 years old,
ήρθ' ένα κορίτσι irth' ena koritsi a girl came —
φως μου, δεκαοχτώ χρονω fos mou, dekaohto hrono my light, 18 years old.
  1. Literally, "so I can tell her 2 words."
  2. This references a mole on the skin, a beauty mark.
  3. The word "give" here means giving as a gift.

 

Keti Grey

Keti Grey's melody is quite different from what many listeners may be familiar with, but Greeks recognize her version as a valid interpretation of this old traditional song.

Numbers in parentheses refer to footnotes that appear at the bottom of the translation.

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Aπό ξένο τόπο κι απ' αλαργινο apo xeno topo ke ap' alaryino From a foreign and distant place,
Aπό ξένο τόπο κι απ' αλαργινο apo xeno topo ke ap' alaryino from a foreign and distant place,
είδα μια κοπέλα
ida mia kopela I saw a girl
είκοσι χρονώ
eikosi hrono 20 years old.
είδα μια κοπέλα
ida mia kopela I saw a girl
είκοσι χρονώ
eikosi hrono 20 years old.
     
Με της μαριολιές μου me tis marioles mou With my clever ways,
την εσήκωσα tin esikosa I made her get up.
Με της μαριολιές μου me tis marioles mou With my clever ways,
την εσήκωσα tin esikosa I made her get up.
kαι στο μαγουλό της ke sto magoulo tis And on her cheek
την εφίλησα tin efilisa I kissed her.
kαι στο μαγουλό της ke sto magoulo tis And on her cheek
την εφίλησα tin efilisa I kissed her.
     
Μ' έχει ξετρελλάνει m' ehi xetrelani She has made me go crazy —
η μαύρη της ελλιά ee mavri tis elia her black mole. (1)
Μ' έχει ξετρελλάνει m' ehi xetrelani She has made me go crazy —
η μαύρη της ελλιά ee mavri tis elia her black mole. (1)
'εχει μαύρα φρύδια 'ehi mavra fridia She has black eyebrows
και σγουρά μαλλιά ke sgoura malia and curly hair.
'εχει μαύρα φρύδια 'ehi mavra fridia She has black eyebrows
και σγουρά μαλλιά ke sgoura malia and curly hair.
     
Tι μα μ' έχει κάνη ti ma m' ehi kani Why, what has she done to me?
πως να σας το πω pos na sas to po How can I tell you?
Tι μα μ' έχει κάνη ti ma m' ehi kani Why, what has she done to me?
πως να σας το πω pos na sas to po How can I tell you?
Θέλω και δε θέλω thelo k de thelo Whether I like it or not,
εγω την αγαπώ ego tin agapo I love her.
Θέλω και δε θέλω thelo k de thelo Whether I like it or not,
εγω την αγαπώ ego tin agapo I love her.
  1. This references a mole on the skin, a beauty mark.

 

Glykeria, 2008

Numbers in parentheses refer to footnotes that appear at the bottom of the translation.

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Aπό ξένο τόπο κι απ' αλαργινο apo xeno topo ke ap' alaryino From a foreign and distant place,
Aπό ξένο τόπο κι απ' αλαργινο apo xeno topo ke ap' alaryino from a foreign and distant place,
ήρθ' ένα κορίτσι irth' ena koritsi a girl came —
φως μου, δεκαοχτώ χρονω fos mou, dekaohto hrono my light, 18 years old,
ήρθ' ένα κορίτσι irth' ena koritsi a girl came —
φως μου, δεκαοχτώ χρονω fos mou, dekaohto hrono my light, 18 years old.
     
Ούτε στη πόρτα βγαίνει oute sti porta vgeni She won't even come to the door,
ούτε στο στενό oute sto steno not even [the one] on the side street.
Ούτε στη πόρτα βγαίνει oute sti porta vgeni She won't even come to the door,
ούτε στο στενό oute sto steno not even [the one] on the side street.
ούτε στο παραθύρι φως μου oute sto parathiri fos mou Not even to a window, my light,
δυο λόγια να της πω dio loyia na tis po so I can talk to her. (1)
ούτε στο παραθύρι φως μου oute sto parathiri fos mou Not even to a window, my light,
δυο λόγια να της πω dio loyia na tis po so I can talk to her. (1)
     
Έβγα κόρη του γιαλού evga kori tou yialou Come out, daughter of the seashore,
άστρο λαμπερό astro lambero shining star.
χάρισε μου την ελιά σου harise mou tin ilia sou Give me your mole (2) (3)
που 'χεις στο λαιμό pou 'hees sto lemo that you have on your neck.
χάρισε μου την ελιά σου harise mou tin ilia sou Give me your mole (2) (3)
που 'χεις στο λαιμό pou 'hees sto lemo that you have on your neck.
     
Δεν σου την χαρίζω den sou tin harizo I'm not giving it to you,
φως μου fos mou my light.
δεν σου τη πουλώ den sou ti poulo I'm not selling it to you.
Δεν σου την χαρίζω den sou tin harizo I'm not giving it to you,
φως μου fos mou my light.
δεν σου τη πουλώ den sou ti poulo I'm not selling it to you.
μον' τη θέλω την ελίτσα mon' ti thelo tin elitsa I only want my cute mole (2)
να σε τυρρανώ na se tirano to make you suffer.
μον' τη θέλω την ελίτσα mon' ti thelo tin elitsa I only want my cute mole (2)
να σε τυρρανώ na se tirano to make you suffer.
     
Aπό ξένο τόπο κι απ' αλαργινο apo xeno topo ke ap' alaryino From a foreign and distant place,
Aπό ξένο τόπο κι απ' αλαργινο apo xeno topo ke ap' alaryino from a foreign and distant place,
ήρθ' ένα κορίτσι irth' ena koritsi a girl came —
φως μου, δεκαοχτώ χρονω fos mou, dekaohto hrono my light, 18 years old,
ήρθ' ένα κορίτσι irth' ena koritsi a girl came —
φως μου, δεκαοχτώ χρονω fos mou, dekaohto hrono my light, 18 years old.
  1. Literally, "so I can tell her 2 words."
  2. This references a mole on the skin, a beauty mark.
  3. The word "give" here means giving as a gift.

 

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Related Items On This Site

  • Apo Xeno Topo (From a Foreign Land). Lyrics translation for the Greek version of this song.
  • Banat Iskandaria (Girls of Alexandria). Lyrics translation for one of the Arabic versions of this song.
  • Ghazaly Ghazaly (Gazelle, Gazelle). Lyrics translation for one of the Arabic versions of this song, based on the version by Hani Mitwasi.

 

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Translations of
Glykeria's Songs On This Site

Other translations on this web site for songs performed by Glykeria Kotsoula include:

 

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About the Translator

This page was contributed by Panayiota Bakis Mohieddin, who is happy to share her culture and music she grew up with! Here's how Panayiota describes her background:

I always love engaging with intelligent like-minded people, especially artists. I love sharing anything and everything about my Hellenic culture and upbringing, especially music and dance. A conversation with me will bring you back to America's favorite Greek-American movie by Nia Vardalos called My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

I love investigating Greek culture, history, music, and dance. Speaking of investigating, I think I missed my calling, I probably should have been an investigator. Instead, I use those skills to dig and dig and dig tirelessly, often times falling asleep on my laptop... just to find the truth. But, most importantly, accurate truth. For me personally, and other respectable folklorists, my culture and accuracy are very important. Each generation of ethnic born artists has a duty to do the best it can to pass down our traditions as was taught to us. We have been given this artistic gift to be the gatekeepers of our heritage and culture.

Panayiota

 

 

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