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

Αραπίνες, Νύχτες μαγικές
(Arapines, Nihtes Magikes)

(Arab Women, Magical Nights)

 

This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to the popular Greek laiko song "Arapines, Nihtes Magikes" (Αραπίνες, Νύχτες μαγικές), which was originally sung by Fotis Polymeris, and later by Stelios Kazantzidis. The song title is sometimes spelled as "Arapines, Nihtes Mayikes", because of how it is pronounced. Also included is a pronunciation guide for the Greek lyrics so you can sing along if you like.

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

About Fotis Polymeris

Fotis Polymeris was born in 1920, and began entering singing competitions as a young boy. In his lifetime, he composed over 100 songs. He worked with many of the great artists of the Greek rebetiko music era, including Vasilis Tsitsanis (the composer of this song), Markos Vamvakaris, and others. He died in 2013 at the age of 93.

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

Fotis Polymeris

About Vasilis Tsitsanis

Vasilis Tsitsanis was the composer and lyricist for this song.

Tsitsanis was a versatile musician who learned to play violin, mandola, mandolin, and bouzouki. He collaborated with a number of singers to record the songs he had composed, with him accompanying them on bouzouki. His music helped launch several of his collaborators to fame and successful careers.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: Vasilis Tsitsanis as a young man.

Vasilis Tsitsanis

Song: Arapines, Nihtes Magikes – Arab Women, Magical Nights, 1946

Lyrics: Vasilis Tsitsanis

Music: Vasilis Tsitsanis

Original Artist: Fotis Polymeris

Also Performed By: Stelios Kanantzidis

Τραγουδι: Αραπίνες, Νύχτες μαγικές, 1946

Στίχοι: Βασίλης Τσιτσάνης

Μουσική: Βασίλης Τσιτσάνης

Πρώτη Εκτέλεση: Φώτης Πολυμέρης

 

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Lyrics

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

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Verse

Verse

Verse

Νύχτες μαγικές, ονειρεμένες nihtes mayikes, oniremenes Magical nights, dreamy
αγάπες λάγνες, ξεχασμένες στην ξενιτιά agapes lagnes, xehasmenes stin xenitia lustful love, forgotten in foreign lands
Τρέχει ο νους μου προς τα περασμένα trehi o nous mou pros ta perasmena my mind wanders into the past
τα βράδια μου τ' αγαπημένα, στην Αραπιά ta vradia mou t’ agapimena, stin Arapia my beloved nights, in Arabia. (1)
     
Σάς μιλάω με καημό, με σπαραγμό sas milao me kaimo, me sparagmo I am speaking to you with sorrow, with heartbreak
για τόσες τρέλες που νοσταλγώ yia toses treles pou nostalgo for all the crazy days, I am nostalgic
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

Αραπίνες λάγνες, ερωτιάρες Arapines lagnes, erotiares lustful Arabian women, lovers
με ουίσκι, με γλυκιές κιθάρες me ouiski, me glikes kithares with whiskey and sweet guitars
γλέντι και πιοτό glendi ke pioto celebrations/parties and drinks
Αραπίνες, μάτια φλογισμένα Arapines, matia flogismena Arabian women, fiery eyes
και κορμιά φιδίσια καμωμένα σαν εξωτικά ke kormia fidisia kamomena san exotika and bodies built like exotic snakes (2)
     

Instrumental

Instrumental

Instrumental

     
Σάς μιλάω με καημό, με σπαραγμό sas milao me kaimo, me sparagmo I am speaking to you with sorrow, with heartbreak
για τόσες τρέλες που νοσταλγώ yia toses treles pou nostalgo for all the crazy days, I am nostalgic
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

Αραπίνες λάγνες, ερωτιάρες Arapines lagnes, erotiares lustful Arabian women, lovers
με ουίσκι, με γλυκιές κιθάρες me ouiski, me glikes kithares with whiskey and sweet guitars
γλέντι και πιοτό glendi ke pioto celebrations/parties and drinks
Αραπίνες, μάτια φλογισμένα Arapines, matia flogismena Arabian women, fiery eyes
και κορμιά φιδίσια καμωμένα σαν εξωτικά ke kormia fidisia kamomena san exotika and bodies built like exotic snakes.
  1. Many of the old songs use the word "Arapia" liberally. The lyrics generally use it to refer to Arabic-speaking 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.
  2. In Greek, if someone says a dancing woman resembles a snake, that is a very favorable compliment. It suggests that she can move her body sinuously, like the way a snake undulates when it moves. Other Greek words that can be used in the same way are the words for "eel" and "mermaid".

 

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Translations of
Stelios Kazantzidis' Songs On This Site

Although the original artist for this song was Fotis Polymeris, it was also recorded by Stelios Kazantzidis.

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

 

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Translations of Songs Composed by
Vasilis Tsitsanis On This Site

Other translations of songs composed by Vasilis Tsitsanis on this web site 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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