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

Δε σε λησμονώ
(Den Se Lismono)

(I Haven't Forgotten You)

 

This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to the popular Greek song "Den Se Lismono" (Δε σε λησμονώ), which was sung by Stelios Kazantzidis. 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.

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 Stelios Kazantzidis

Stelios Kazantzidis was the original artist for this song.

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 he was taken advantage of.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: Stelios Kazantzidis.

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

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 Vasilis Karapatakis

The music composition for this song was a collaboration of the two legendary artists, Stelios Kazantzidis & Vasilis Karapatakis. Vasilis' real last name was Kapsalis. This Greek Roma legend composed and anonymously sold over 250 songs.

In 1922, Vasilis was born into a family of musicians and entertainers. His brothers Hilas and Thanasis were also successful musicians as well as their father Kostas Kapsalis. Together the talents combined knowledge in violin, laouto, guitar, voice and bouzouki. In 1945 Vasilis moved to Athens to try his luck in the entertainment industry. His dreams came true and he enjoyed a successful career between 1957 and 1963.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: Vasilis Karapatakis.

Collaborations between Kazantzidis, Kolokotronis & Karapatakis have gone down in history as one of the best Laiko music trios. Their music was also controversial, as lyrics and music were sold among each other (and others) for a plate of food. There was also a great conflict of interest among the artists who chose to end their contracts with certain recording companies.

After his success in his prime, Vasilis opened a music school where he shared his knowledge and passions with his students. Vasilis Karapatakis passed away on March 27, 1974 after a long battle with cancer.

Vasilis Karapatakis

About Hristos Kolokotronis

According to the original recording in Greece, Hristos Kolokotronis wrote the lyrics for this song were written by Hristos Kolokotronis. He wrote over 100 songs for Stelios Kazantzidis.

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: Den se Leesmono – I Haven't Forgotten You, 1958

Lyrics: Hristos Kolokotronis

Music: Vasilis Karapatakis (Kapsalis)

Original Artist: Stelios Kazatzidis

Τραγουδι: Δε σε λησμονώ, 1958

Στίχοι: Χρήστος Κολοκοτρώνης

Μουσική: Βασίλης Καραπατάκης (Καψάλης)

Πρώτη εκτέλεση: Στέλιος Καζαντζίδης

 

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Lyrics

Numbers in parentheses refer to footnotes which appear just below the translation.

There are differing versions of this song which change around the chorus, some even by the same artist as the one used for the translation below. This frequently happens in Greek music.

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Μού'βαλες μεγάλο πόνο στην καρδιά mou vales megalo pono stin kardia You put a big pain in my heart.
έφυγες και μαραζώνω κούκλα μου γλυκειά efiges ke marazono koukla mou glikia You left and I am wasting away/languishing my sweet doll.
Τα γλυκά σου μαύρα μάτια δεν τα λησμονώ ta glika sou mavra matia den ta lismono Your sweet black eyes, I haven't forgotten them. (1) (2)
και για σένα μέρα νύχτα ke ya sena mera nihta And for you day and night
λιώνω και πονώ liono ke pono I am melting and in pain.
     
οοοοχ λιώνω και πονώ oooh liono ke pono oooh I am melting and in pain
ααααχ δεν σε λησμονώ aaah den se lismono aaahh I haven't forgotten you
     
Μαύρη η ώρα κι η στιγμή mavri ee ora ke ee stigmi Black is the time and moment
π' αγάπησα εσένα αααχ p’ agapisa esena aaah that I fell in love with you. Aaah...
και είμαι πάντα στη ζωή ke ime panda sti zoi I am always living
με μάτια δακρυσμένα αααχ me matia dakrismena aaah with tears in my eyes. Aaah...
     
Μακριά μου πώς αντέχεις πώς βαστάς makria mou pos antehis pos vastas far away from me how do you take it how do you handle it
Και γι'αυτόν που αγαπούσες τώρα δεν ρωτάς ke ya’afton pou agapouses tora den rotas and for whom you loved now you don’t even ask about
Τόσα χρόνια με κερνούσες χάδια και φιλιά tosa xronia me kernouses hadia ke filia all these years you treated me to me caresses and kisses
και απόψε ίσως να είσαι σ'άλλη αγκαλιά ke apopse isos na ise s’alli agalia and tonight maybe you are in someone else's arms
     
aaaχ λιώνω και πονώ aaahhh liono ke pono aaahhh I am melting and in pain
ooooχ δεν σε λησμονώ oh den se lismono oooohh I haven't forgotten you
  1. Some versions of this song replace the word “γλυκά” which means “sweet” with “δικά” which means “your”.

 

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Translations of
Stelios Kazantzidis' Songs On This Site

Other translations of songs performed by Stelios Kazantzidis 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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