Filler
Photo of Shira

 

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Αράπικα κορμιά
(Arapika Kormia)

(Arabian Bodies)

 

This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to the popular Greek rebetiko song "Arapika Kormia", which was sung by Stelios Kazantzidis. Also included is a pronunciation guide for the Greek lyrics so you can sing along if you like.

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

For more information about the laiko and rebetiko styles of music, see Introduction to Laiko / Rebetiko Music elsewhere on this web site.

In the old Greek laiko / rebetiko songs, the word "arapis" and its derivatives mean "Arab" or "Arabian". The root word comes from the Ottoman Turkish word "Arap" which literally translates to "Arab".

During the era of the Rebetika / Smyrneika / Politika / Laika music, the term "Arapia" refers generally to non-Greeks, not just the people of the Arabian peninsula as we know it today. The regions encompassed by "arapis" include India, Saudi Arabia, Persia, the Levant, the Persian Gulf, Iraq, Arabic-speaking North Africa, and Anatolia (Turkey).

Today, the word has taken on new slang meanings as a racial slur and therefore is not recommended in modern conversation. However, in these older songs, the word is still accepted because its use in those songs was not intended as a slur. Read more about this word in the article Greek Words from Laiko and Rebetiko Music that Belly Dancers Should Know.

About Stelios Kazantzidis

Stelios was the composer and original artist for this song. He collaborated with Hristos Kolokotronis on writing the lyrics.

The legendary Stelios Kazantzidis was born August 29, 1931 in Athens Greece, specifically Nea Ionia. He is among the most beloved musicians of our time. His music and words never get old. He was of Asia Minor and Pondian (Greek Anatolian) descent. Stelios or, as many love to call him, Stelara, was also loved due to his character and simplicity in life. Sadly, he did not make much from profit from his career as others took advantage of him.

Stelios' music is all about love, immigration, pain, refugee, and poverty as is most music of this time. He is considered one of the fathers of Laiko music. Stelara has touched many people's lives. He remained so humble and simple until cancer took his last breath in 2001.

“I sing for the poor, the immigrants and the suffering people… generally for the lower social classes. They can’t go to the expensive night clubs. They buy my discs and they regard them as their Gospels.” – Stelios Kazantzidis

ABOUT THE PHOTO: This photo is of Stelios Kazantzidis.

Personal notes by the translator:

The music of Stelios Kazantzidis is very dear to my heart. My grandmother and grandfather were often referred to as the young Kazantzidis and Marinella, while singing at family gatherings. Marinella was Stelios' first wife, and his biggest love.

If you want to impress Greeks, you need to remember Stelios' name. As much as Princess Diana was loved, so was Stelios. People cry black tears to his music.

Stelios Kazantzidis

About Hristos Kolokotronis

Hristos Kolokotronis wrote the lyrics for this song.

The great Hristos Kolokotronis was one of the musical geniuses during the Golden Era (1955-1975) of the popular Greek laiko / rebetiko musical movement. Hristos was born in Kalithea (raised in Glikomilia, Trikala) on December 25, 1922 into a very historical and highly respected family. He was the great-great-great grandson of Theodoros Kolokotronis, a hero during the Greek Revolution in 1821. Hristos is known for his work as a singer, songwriter, composer and a briefly a journalist. He collaborated with many well-known and established musicians of that era. He is credited for having written close to 2,500 songs. Hristos Kolokotronis passed away in 1999.

As with many artistic collaborations, there was a serious fallout between Stelios Kazantzidis and Hristos Kolokotronis. This intense public battle led to them appearing in court with a lawsuit in the late 1990s. Although the lawsuit seemed fresh, it actually was based on hard feelings from the late 1950s when Kazantzidis left Columbia Records to branch off on his own.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: This photo is of Hristos Kolokotronis.

Stelios Kazantzidis published an autobiography in which he disclosed large amounts of personal information - not only about himself, but also about many other artists and companies that took advantage and cheated him. One of those mentioned was Hristos Kolokotronis, who proceeded to file a lawsuit against Stelios, the writer and the publishing company for slander, lies and humiliation. The Kolokotronis family also demanded a personal apology because Kazantzidis alleged that Hristos had an affair with a Greek Romany woman and fathered a child with her while married to someone else. Several other artists followed up with their own slander lawsuits.

Hristos Kolokotronis

Song: Arapika Kormia – Arabian Bodies, 1958

Lyrics: Hristos Kolokotronis, Thessalos

Music: Stelios Kazantzidis

Original Artist: Stelios Kazantzidis

Τραγουδι: Αράπικα κορμιά, 1958

Στίχοι: Χρήστος Κολοκοτρώνης, Θεσσαλός

Μουσική: Στέλιος Καζαντζίδης

Πρώτη εκτέλεση: Στέλιος Καζαντζίδης

 

---------------

Lyrics

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

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Ω, μια νύχτα πριν να σβήσουν τ' άστρα o, mia nihta prin na svisoun t’astra Oh, one night before the stars fade
τρελή, μικρή μου ξελογιάστρα treli, mikri mou xeloyiastra crazy, my small temptress
έλα να πάμε μακριά ela na pame makria come, let's go far away.
     
Ω, εκεί που όλα είν' ωραία O, eki pou ola ein’ orea Oh, there, where everything is beautiful
και με τον έρωτα παρέα ke me ton erota parea and with love as a companion
στη μαγεμένη Αραπιά sti magemeni Arapia in enchanted Arabia. (1)
     
Έλα γλυκό μου ταίρι, να πάμε σ' άλλα μέρη ela gliko mou teri, na pame s’alla meri Come, my sweet companion, let's go to other places
που να 'ναι καλοκαίρι, ω pou na ‘ne kalokeri, o where there is summer, oh,
Να παίζουν οι αραπάδες na pezoun ee Arapades the Arabs will play
μπουζούκια και ζουρνάδες bouzoukia ke zournades bouzoukis (2) and zurnas (3)
κι εμείς μαχαραγιάδες, ω ke emis maharayiades, o and us like kings, oh
στη μαγεμένη Αραπιά sti magemeni Arapia in enchanted Arabia.
     

Instrumental Section

Instrumental Section

Instrumental Section

     
Έλα γλυκό μου ταίρι, να πάμε σ' άλλα μέρη ela gliko mou teri, na pame s’alla meri Come, my sweet companion, let's go to other places
που να 'ναι καλοκαίρι, ω pou na ‘ne kalokeri, o where there is summer, oh,
Να παίζουν οι αραπάδες na pezoun ee Arapades the Arabs will play
μπουζούκια και ζουρνάδες bouzoukia ke zournades bouzoukis (1) and zurnas (2)
κι εμείς μαχαραγιάδες, ω ke emis maharayiades, o and us like kings, oh
στη μαγεμένη Αραπιά sti magemeni Arapia in enchanted Arabia.
  1. Many of the old songs use the word "Arapia" liberally. The lyrics generally use it to refer to Arabic-speaking, Romany, or Indian women. Unfortunately, in the modern Greek language, the term "Arapis" has become an offensive racial slur for people with dark skin. Although this newer definition now exis

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Verse

Verse

Verse

Χρόνια κλεισμένες hronia klismenes Many years locked away
στα βελούδινα κελιά του μαχαραγιά, αχ! sta veloudina kelia tou Maharaya, ah! in the velvet cages of the Maharajah (1), ah!
πιο όμορφες κι απ' τη Μισιρλού pio omorfes ke ap’ti Misirlou more beautiful than Misirlou (2)
κι απ' τη Μαντουμπάλα κι απ' τη Τζεμιλέ ke ap’ti Mandoubala ke ap’ti Tzemile and Mandoubala (3) and Tzemile
κι απ' τη Ζιγκουάλα κι απ' τη Λεϊλά, αχ! ke ap’ti Zigkouala ke ap’ti Leila, ah! And Zigkouala and Leila, ah!
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

Μπιρ Αλλάχ, μπιρ Αλλάχ φωνάζουν οι σκλάβες Bir Allah, bir Allah, fonazoun ee sklaves "There is one Allah, there is one Allah," yelled the slaves
μέσα απ' τα χαρέμια του μαχαραγιά, mesa ap’ta haremia tou Maharaya from inside the harems of the Maharajah.
Μπιρ Αλλάχ, μπιρ Αλλάχ φωνάζουν οι σκλάβες Bir Allah, bir Allah, fonazoun ee sklaves "There is one Allah, there is one Allah," yelled the slaves,
όλοι με πληγωμένη την καρδιά. oli me pligomeni tin kardia all of them with wounded heart.
     

Verse

Verse

Verse

Μάτια διαμάντια matia diamantia Eyes of diamond
και αράπικα κορμιά, γλύκα κι ομορφιά, αχ! ke arapika kormia, glika ke omorfia, ah! and Arabian (4) bodies, sweet and beautiful, ah!
πιο όμορφες κι απ' τη Μισιρλού pio omorfes ke ap’ti Misirlou more beautiful than Misirlou
κι απ' τη Μαντουμπάλα κι απ' τη Τζεμιλέ ke ap’ti Mandoubala ke ap’ti Tzemile and Mandoubala and Tzemile
κι απ' τη Ζιγκουάλα κι απ' τη Λεϊλά, αχ! ke ap’ti Zigkouala ke ap’ti Leila, ah! And Zigkouala and Leila, ah!
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

Μπιρ Αλλάχ, μπιρ Αλλάχ φωνάζουν οι σκλάβες Bir Allah, bir Allah, fonazoun ee sklaves "There is one Allah, there is one Allah," yelled the slaves
μέσα απ' τα χαρέμια του μαχαραγιά, mesa ap’ta haremia tou Maharaya from inside the harems of the Maharajah.
Μπιρ Αλλάχ, μπιρ Αλλάχ φωνάζουν οι σκλάβες Bir Allah, bir Allah, fonazoun ee sklaves "There is one Allah, there is one Allah," yelled the slaves,
όλες με πληγωμένη την καρδιά. oli me pligomenes tin kardia all of them with wounded heart.
  1. The Maharajah was the king or prince of India.
  2. There is a different Greek song titled Misirlou, which means "Egyptian girl" in Turkish. That song sings of Misirlou's sweet gaze and exotic beauty.
  3. Mandoubala was a legendary Bollywood actress in the 1950's, renowned for her beauty. Her movies were also popular among Greeks. A 1959 song recorded by Stelios Kazantzidis (the same artist as this song) was inspired by her.
  4. Many of the old songs use the word "Arapika" and its variants liberally. The lyrics generally use it to refer to Arabic-speaking, Romany, or Indian women. Unfortunately, in the modern Greek language, the term "Arapis" has become an offensive racial slur for people with dark skin. Although this newer definition now exists, it did not mean this when the lyrics were written. When newer generations listen to these older songs today, they realize the lyrics are referring to an innocent use of the word, and can enjoy the music in the way it was intended.

 

---------------

Translations of
Stelios Kazantzidis' Songs On This Site

Other translations of songs performed by Stelios Kazantzidis on this web site include:

---------------

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

 

 

---------------

Copyright Notice

This entire web site is copyrighted. All rights reserved.

All articles, images, forms, scripts, directories, and product reviews on this web site are the property of Shira unless a different author/artist is identified. Material from this web site may not be posted on any other web site unless permission is first obtained from Shira.

Academic papers for school purposes may use information from this site only if the paper properly identifies the original article on Shira.net using appropriate citations (footnotes, end notes, etc.) and bibliography. Consult your instructor for instructions on how to do this.

If you wish to translate articles from Shira.net into a language other than English, Shira will be happy to post your translation here on Shira.net along with a note identifying you as the translator. This could include your photo and biography if you want it to. Contact Shira for more information. You may not post translations of Shira's articles on anybody else's web site, not even your own.

If you are a teacher, performer, or student of Middle Eastern dance, you may link directly to any page on this web site from either your blog or your own web site without first obtaining Shira's permission. Click here for link buttons and other information on how to link.

 

 

Explore more belly dance info:

Top >
Belly Dancing >
Middle Eastern Culture >
Index to Middle Eastern Music Section

 

Share this page!

On Google+
 

On Facebook
 

 

 Top > Belly Dancing > Middle Eastern Culture > Index to Middle Eastern Music Section

| Contact Shira | Links | Search this Site |