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

Έχεις κορμί αράπικο
(Ehis Kormi Arapiko)

(You Have an Arabian Body)

 

This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to the popular Greek song "Ehis Kormi Arapiko", which was sung by Stelios Kazantzidis. Also included is a pronunciation guide for the Greek lyrics so you can sing along if you like. The song title is sometimes written as "Exeis Kormi Arapiko".

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 Kazantzidis composed the music for this song and was the original artist.

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.

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

Stelios Kazantzidis

About Hristos Kolokotronis

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: You Have an Arabian Body – Ehis Kormi Arapiko, 1958

Lyrics: Hristos Kolokotronis (Thesalos)

Music: Stelios Kazantzidis

Original Artist: Stelios Kazantzidis

Later performed by: Vaggelis Perpiniadis, Keti Grey, Manolis Aggelopoulos

Dance Styles: Tsifteteli and Syrtos

Τραγουδι: Έχεις κορμί αράπικο, 1958

Στίχοι: Χρήστος Κολοκοτρώνης (Θεσσαλός)

Μουσική: Στέλιος Καζαντζίδης

Πρώτη εκτέλεση: Στέλιος Καζαντζίδης

Άλλες ερμηνείες: Βαγγέλης Περπινιάδης, Καιτη Γκρει

 

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Listen to MP3 Clips of This Song

Note Sung by Stelios Kazantzidis

 

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Lyrics

Some footnotes appear in the translation below as numbers enclosed in parentheses. For example, (1) refers to the first footnote.

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Verse

Verse

Verse

Έχεις κορμί αράπικο ehis kormi arapiko You have an Arabian (1) body
και μαύρα μάτια πλάνα ke mavra matia plana and black eyes, majestic eyes
Η μάνα που σε γέννησε h mana pou se genise the mother who gave birth to you
θα ήτανε τσιγγάνα tha itane tsigana must have been a Roma.
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

Για χαμπίμπι, για λελέλι ya habibi, ya leleli Oh my love, oh my night (2)
χόρεψέ μου τσιφτετέλι horepse mou tsifteteli Dance for me the tsifteteli (belly dance)
Είσαι κούκλα μου τσαχπίνα ise koukla mou tsahpina my doll, you are a flirt
μια φελάχα αραπίνα mia felaha arapina an Arabian country girl
Για χαμπίμπι, για λελέλι ya habibi, ya leleli Oh my love, oh my night*
χόρεψέ μου τσιφτετέλι horepse mou tsifteteli Dance for me the tsifteteli (belly dance)
     

Verse

Verse

Verse

Η ομορφιά σου μάνα μου ee omorfia sou mana mou Your beauty, oh mother (3)
φουντώνει το σεβντά μου foundoni to sevda mou flares/fires up my pain
Έλα γλυκιά σουλτάνα μου ela glikia soultana mou Come, my sweet Sultana
για πάντα στον οντά μου ya panta ston onta mou forever in my bedroom.
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

Για χαμπίμπι, για λελέλι ya habibi, ya leleli Oh my love, oh my night
χόρεψέ μου τσιφτετέλι horepse mou tsifteteli Dance for me the tsifteteli (belly dance)
Είσαι κούκλα μου τσαχπίνα ise koukla mou tsahpina my doll, you are a flirt
μια φελάχα αραπίνα mia felaha arapina an Arabian country girl
Για χαμπίμπι, για λελέλι ya habibi, ya leleli Oh my love, oh my night
χόρεψέ μου τσιφτετέλι horepse mou tsifteteli Dance for me the tsifteteli (belly dance)
  1. Many of the old songs use the word "Arapia" and it 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.
  2. "Ya habibi" is Arabic for "oh my love". In Arabic, "leleli" is derived from the word "leil" for "night", but Arabic-speaking singers often improvise using the syllables "leleli" in the same way an English-language song might use nonsense syllables such as "tra la la".
  3. "Oh Mother" is like saying "oh boy", or "oh my goodness". Greeks sometimes like to invoke their mother's name as an expression.

 

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Where to Get Recordings of this Song

Complete Stelios Kazantzikis

Note

Listen to Clip

Artist: Stelios Kazantzidis
CD Title: The Complete Stelios Kazantzidis

 

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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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