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

Φερετζές φορώ
(Feredzes Foro)

(Wearing a Face Veil)

 

 

This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to the popular Greek song "Feredzes Foro" (Φερετζές φορώ), which was sung by Rita Abadzi and several others. Glykeria's version of it is titled "O Feretzes."

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 the Feredzes

The Greek word "feredzes" comes from the Turkish word "ferace" pronounced "feraje" (φερατζε).

In Turkish, the word generally refers to the head covering that's part of hijab (χιτζαμπ) (modesty attire). The Turkish ferace does not cover the face, only the hair, neck, and upper chest. In Turkish the niqaab (face veil) is called "kara çarşaf" (καρα τζαρσιαφ).

In Greek, the meaning is slightly different. Feredzes is similar to the women's face covering known as niqaab (νικαμπ) or yashmak, but often gets confused with the term burka (μπουρκα). The feredzes covers the entire face, leaving only a narrow opening for the eyes to see. The head covering for the hair and neck would be called mandili (μαντήλι) in Greek. I personally view the feredze as a niqaab.

The feredze is not only found in Islamic dress. It was worn by Greek women during the Byzantine Empire, long before the Turks brought Islam to the region, and even farther back, prior to the Christian era.

About Glykeria

Glykeria Kotsoula, often known as just "Glykeria", is the sweetheart of Greece and one of the greatest legends of our time. She was born in 1953 in Serres, Greece. Her musical style is modern laika (rebetika & folk), while still always paying tribute to the great Rebetes of the past.

Panayiota, the translator of this song, offers this personal perspective on what Glykeria's music means to her:

Glykeria's music always has and always will inspire me both on and off the stage. I admire her simplicity and humbleness despite her fame and success. While most kids were learning standard lullabies, my mother would sing all her songs to me, since I was a baby. My mother Evangelia is a huge fan and loves singing her songs. On family road trips, my mother played all her tapes over and over again. Those cassette tapes are what made me fall in love with Laika/Rebetika style music at the age of ten. Thank you Glykeria, thank you Mama! Enjoy!

Most of Glykeria's records have gone platinum. She has gained fame and respect through out the world. Glykeria collaborates with many notable international musicians, including the Turkish living legend, Omar Farouk Tekbilek.

Glykeria

Song: O Feredze Foro (O Face Veil), 1933

Greek Lyrics: Traditional (Some sources say Roza Eskenazi)

Music: Traditional

Original Recording Artist: Rita Abadzi

Has Also Been Recorded By:

In Greek:
  • Roza Eskenazi, 1934
  • Glykeria Kotsoula, 1981 (album Smirneika)
  • Yiorgos Koros, 2007
In Turkish:
  • Gülistan Hanım, 1996 ("Seni Gördükçe Titriyor Yüreğim")
  • Mehtap Demir, 2016 ("Seni Gördükçe Titriyor Yüreğim") on album Le Parfum D' Asie Mineure  or Karşıyaka'da İzmir Bülbülü

Dance Style:

  • Belly Dance
  • Syrtos

Τραγούδι: Ο Φερετζές φορώ, 1933

Στίχοι: Παραδοσιακό

Μουσική: Παραδοσιακό

Πρώτη Εκτέλεση: Ρίτα Αμπατζή

Άλλοι Ερμηνευτές:

Στα Ελληνικά:
  • Ρόζα Εσκενάζυ, 1934
  • Γλυκερία Κοτσούλα, 1981 (Άλμπουμ- Σμυρνέικα)
  • Γιώργος Κόρος, 2007
Στα Τουρκικά:
  • Γκιουλισταν Χανιμ, 1996 ("Σενι Γκιορδιυκτζε Τιτριγιορ Υουρεγκιμ")
  • Μεχταπ Ντεμιρ, 2016 ("Σενι Γκιορδιυκτζε Τιτριγιορ Υουρεγκιμ")

 

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Lyrics

This song has been recorded by many artists over the years, with some minor variations in verses, repetitions of verse or chorus, etc. Translations for two of the song versions appear below.

 

Rita Abadzi, 1933

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

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Φερετζέ φορώ, γιαβρί μου feredze foro, yavri mou I'm wearing a face veil(1), my baby. (2)
να τον βγάλω λαχταρώ na ton vgalo lahtaro I long to take it off.

θέλω στη' θερμή σου αγκάλη

thelo sti' thermi sou agali I want [to be] in your warm embrace.
αμάν, αχ αχ, μερακλή
aman, ah ah merakli Oh my, ah ah, merakli (3)
για να γείρω το κεφάλι αχ
ya na yiro to kefali ah so I can tilt my head, ah.
αχ αχ αχ σεβνταλή ah ah ah sevdali Oh, oh sevdali. (4)
     
Τώρα θα γλεντώ, γιαβρί μου tora tha glendo, yavri mou Now I will go out and celebrate, my baby, (2)
που `βγαλα το φερετζέ pou 'vgala to feredze since I took off the face veil. (1)
θα γλεντάω στις ταβέρνες, αχ tha glendao stis tavernes ah I will celebrate at the taverns, ah.
αχ μάγια μου `κανες ah mayia mou 'kanes Oh, you did black magic to me.
θα γλεντάω με λατέρνες tha glendao me laternes I will celebrate with laternes. (5)
αμάν, αχ 'συ με τρέλανες aman, ah 'si me trelanes Oh my (6), ah, you made me crazy

 

   

Χρόνια λαχταρώ, γιαβρί μου

hronia lahtaro, yavri mou For years I have longed, my baby (2)
απ' το χαρέμι για να βγω
ap' to haremi ya na vgo to get out of the harem.
πάνε οι Κ'ζλάρ (Κισλάρ) Αγάδες (ευνούχοι)
pane ee kislar agades The young Nigerian (7) eunuchs go
αμάν, αχ αχ, μερακλή
aman, ah ah merakli Oh my (6), ah ah merakli (3)
οι αγάδες κι οι πασάδες
ee agades ke ee pasades The Nigerian eunuchs and the pashas.
αχ αχ, αχ σεβνταλή ah ah ah sevdali Oh, oh, oh, sevdali. (4)
     

οη γιαλα γιαλα οχ

oee yiala yiala oh Ohhh, come on, come on, ohhh.
  1. The Greek word feredzes could be translated as either niqaab or yashmak. Niqaab is an Arabic term, and yashmak is a Turkish term for a face veil that covers the entire face except the eyes.
  2. The endearment "yavri mou" is a Pontian term. Turks say yavrum. Pontus is a region on the south side of the Black Sea that historically was populated by Greek people, located in the nation known today as modern-day Turkey.
  3. The Greek word meraklis refers to someone who lives with passion, love, feeling, loves to enjoy, living life to the fullest. In Turkish, the word is "merakli", and in Arabic it's "merak". It's a special way of saying the person's intensity of enjoying life is much deeper than this explanation can articulate. Some people say the original root word was Turkish. The meaning of the word meraklis can vary, depending on how it's used in a sentence. In general, it's a word in the Rebetiko dialect that refers to feeling.
  4. The Greek word "sevdali" means someone with yearning or love. There is a similar Arabic term "sawda".
  5. A laterna is an old portable Greek music box instrument that was similar to a portable player piano. In English, it would be called a portable piano barrel. These instruments were very iconic to the era when this song originally appeared! The word "laterna" is also used to refer to someone who looks or is dressed like a laterna ("san laterna ise"). It means that the person's attire looks gaudy, a fashion faux pas. Calling someone a laterna suggests that they are wearing too much jewelry and too many accessories, causing them to look like a heavily decorated laterna instrument. The photo to the right shows what a laterna looks like.
  6. "Aman" is a Greek exclamation that can mean "Oh!" or "Oh my!" or "Oh boy!"
  7. The word kislar comes from Turkish. In Turkish, it can means "girls", but another meaning is that it's the eunuch who guards the girls of the harem. In this song, it refers to the eunuch.

 

Glykeria, 1981

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

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Φερετζέ φορώ, γιαβρί μου

feredze foro, yavri mou I'm wearing a face veil (1), my baby. (2)
να τον βγάλω να χαρώ
na ton vgalo na haro I want to take it off to enjoy,
θέλω στη' θερμή σου αγκάλη
thelo sti' thermi sou agali I want [to be] in your warm embrace.
αμάν, αχ αχ, μερακλή
aman, ah ah merakli Oh my (3), ah ah, merakli (4)
για να γείρω το κεφάλι αχ
ya na yiro to kefali ah so I can tilt my head, ah
αχ αχ σεβνταλή ah ah sevdali Oh oh, sevdali! (5)
     
Τώρα θα γλεντώ, γιαβρί μου tora tha glendo, yavri mou Now I will go out and celebrate, my baby, (2)
που `βγαλα το φερετζέ pou 'vgala to feredze because I took off the face veil. (1)
θα γλεντάω στις ταβέρνες, αχ tha glendao stis tavernes ah I will celebrate at the taverns, ah!

αχ μάγια μου `κανες

ah mayia mou 'kanes Oh, you did black magic to me!
θα γλεντάω με λατέρνες
tha glendao me laternes I will celebrate with laternes. (6)
αμάν, αχ 'συ με τρέλανες aman, ah 'si me trelanes Oh my, (3) ah, you made me crazy!
     

Instrumental

Instrumental

Instrumental

  1. The Greek word feredzes could be translated as either niqaab or yashmak. Niqaab is an Arabic term, and yashmak is a Turkish term for a face veil that covers the entire face except the eyes.
  2. The endearment "yavri mou" is a Pontian term. Turks say yavrum. Pontus is a region on the south side of the Black Sea that historically was populated by Greek people, located in the nation known today as modern-day Turkey.
  3. "Aman" is a Greek exclamation that can mean "Oh!" or "Oh my!" or "Oh boy!"
  4. The Greek word meraklis refers to someone who lives with passion, love, feeling, loves to enjoy, living life to the fullest. In Turkish, the word is "merakli", and in Arabic it's "merak". It's a special way of saying the person's intensity of enjoying life is much deeper than this explanation can articulate. Some people say the original root word was Turkish. The meaning of the word meraklis can vary, depending on how it's used in a sentence. In general, it's a word in the Rebetiko dialect that refers to feeling.
  5. The Greek word "sevdali" means someone with yearning or love. There is a similar Arabic term "sawda".
  6. A laterna is an old portable Greek music box instrument that was similar to a portable player piano. In English, it would be called a portable piano barrel. These instruments were very iconic to the era when this song originally appeared! The word "laterna" is also used to refer to someone who looks or is dressed like a laterna ("san laterna ise"). It means that the person's attire looks gaudy, a fashion faux pas. Calling someone a laterna suggests that they are wearing too much jewelry and too many accessories, causing them to look like a heavily decorated laterna instrument. The photo to the right shows what a laterna looks like.

 

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Translations of
Glykeria's Songs On This Site

Other translations on this web site for songs performed by Glykeria Kotsoula 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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