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

Εγώ Είμαι Πρόσφυγα Παιδί
(Ego Ime Prosfiga Pedi)

(I Am a Refugee's Child)

 

 

This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to the popular Greek song "Ego Ime Prosfiga Pedi" (Εγώ Είμαι Πρόσφυγα Παιδί), 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

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 advanatage 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

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

Song: Ego Ime Prosfiga Pedi (I Am a Refugee's Child), 1994

Lyrics: Sotiria Tsotou

Music: Takis Soukas

Clarinet: Vasilis Saleas

Original Artist: Stelios Kazantzidis

Dance Style: Karsilama

Album: Ke Pou Theos (And Where Is God?)

Τραγούδι: Εγώ Είμαι Πρόσφυγα Παιδί, 1994

Στίχοι: Σωτηρία Τσώτου

Μουσική: Τάκης Σούκας

Κλαρίνο: Βασίλης Σαλέας

Πρώτη Εκτέλεση: Στέλιος Καζαντζίδης

Χορός: Καρσιλαμάς, Καρσιλαμά

Άλμπουμ: Και Που Θεός

 

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Lyrics

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

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Εγώ είμαι πρόσφυγα παιδί ego ime prosfiga pedi I am a refugee's child.
μέρα καλή δεν έχω δει mera kali den eho dee I haven't seen a good day.
τι θες να ξέρω; ti thes na xero?

That's all I know. (1)

από τραγούδια λαϊκά apo tragoudia laika From laika songs (2)
έμαθα τα Ελληνικά ematha ta Ellinka I learned Greek.
τι θες να ξέρω; ti thes na xero?

That's all I know. (1)

     
Το μόνο που έμαθα καλά to mono pou ematha kala The only thing I learned well
είναι τον πόνο σιωπηλά να υποφέρω ine ton pono siopila na ipofero was to silently suffer the pain.
χτύπα και εσύ αφού το θες htipa ke esi afou to thes Go ahead, hit me too — since you want to. (3)
ξέρω καλά από πληγές xero kala apo pliyes I know well about wounds,
και παραξέρω ke paraxero and I even know too much.
     
Η χήρα η Mάνα μου η Σμυρνιά ee hira ee Mana moue e Smirnia My widowed Smyrna (4) mother
ξενόπλενε στην γειτονιά xenoplene stin yitonia was cleaning lady in the neighborhood (5)
τι θες να ξέρω; ti thes na xero?

That's all I know. (1)

στο μεροδούλι από παιδί sto meroloudi apo pedia Since childhood I have been working paycheck to paycheck. (6)
έλιωσα στην οικοδομή eliosa stin ikodomi I melted [from exhaustion] on the construction site. (7)
τι θες να ξέρω; ti thes na xero?

That's all I know. (1)

     
Το μόνο που έμαθα καλά to mono pou ematha kala The only thing I learned well
είναι τον πόνο σιωπηλά να υποφέρω ine ton pono siopila na ipofero was to silently suffer the pain.
χτύπα και εσύ αφού το θες htipa ke esi afou to thes Go ahead, hit me too since you want to. (3)
ξέρω καλά από πληγές xero kala apo pliyes I know well about wounds,
και παραξέρω ke paraxero and I even know too much.
     

Instrumental

Instrumental

Instrumental

     
Βασιλακη Σαλέα Vasilaki Salea Vasilaki Saleas (8)
     
Εγώ είμαι πρόσφυγα παιδί ego ime prosfiga pedi I am a refugee's child.
μέρα καλή δεν έχω δει mera kali den eho dee I haven't seen a good day.
τι θες να ξέρω; ti thes na xero?

That's all I know. (1)

από τραγούδια λαϊκά apo tragoudia laika From laika songs (2)
έμαθα τα Ελληνικά ematha ta Ellinka I learned Greek.
τι θες να ξέρω; ti thes na xero?

That's all I know. (1)

  1. Literally, "What do you want me to know?" In this context, it's like saying "How would I know? That's my limit. I don't know better. That's what I feel, how it is."
  2. "Laika" refers to folk songs. See the article by Panayiota for more information about laiko music and its predecessor, rebetiko.
  3. Among Greeks, this is a common saying. It can refer to both actual physical hitting and also hitting with words emotionally.
  4. Smyrna used to be the name for the city known today as Izmir, Turkey. Greeks used to live there in large numbers until the Great Fire of Smyrna in 1922.
  5. The word "xenoplene" implies she was taking care of other people's homes outside of her own home.
  6. This is not the exact translation, it conveys the idea. Another expression would be "living from hand to mouth", referring to having low income.
  7. Literally, the word "eliosa" means "melted. However, it also is used as a common expression meaning extreme exhaustion, due to so much work.
  8. The vocalist is calling out to acknowledge his clarinet player, Vasilis Saleas, who just played the instrumental solo. Saleas is a very famous and highly regarded Greek Roma clarinet player.

 

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Translations of
Stelios' Kazantzidis' Songs on This Site

Translations on this web site of songs performed by Stelios Kazantzidis 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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