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

Κεμάλ
(Kemal)

(Kemal)

 

 

This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to the Greek song "Kemal" (Κεμάλ), which is about the genocide of Greek, Armenian, and Assyrian people that took place in Turkey in the early 20th century.

Also included is a pronunciation guide for the Greek lyrics so you can sing along if you like. 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 this Song

Historically, there was a very large Hellenic (Greek) population in Anatolia, where modern-day Turkey resides, although some other ethnic groups such as Armenians abd Assyrians lived there as well. Due to invasion by the Seljuks in the 17th century, this region became part of the Ottoman empire and remained part of it until the fall of the Ottoman regime after World War I.

Both the Ottomans and the republic that followed conducted campaigns against Greeks. Scholars estimate that from 1913 to 1918, the Ottomans exterminated up to 384,000 Greeks. From 1920 to 1922 another 264,000 Greeks were killed by the Turkish nationalists under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal (Μουσταφά Κεμάλ Ατατούρκ), later known as Atatürk.

This lyrics of this song speak to Mustafa Kemal, challenging him about the atrocities that occurred under his leadership. They mention specific locations and the massacres that occurred there.

About Ikoyenia Sotiriou Mavraki

The name "Ikoyenia Sotiriou Mavraki" means "the family of Sotiriou Mavraki".

Sotiris Mavraki and his wife Georgia were born on the Greek island of Lemnos in a village built by the refugees of Reis-Dere, who had fled the genocide in Asia Minor (where modern-day Turkey resides). Lemnos and the other Greek islands near Turkey took in large numbers of refugees fleeing the genocide. Sotiriou and Georgia grew up surrounded by the culture of their parents' homeland, including the festivals, the music, and more.

All four of their sons showed talent for music as they grew up, so together they created the band "Ikoyenia Sotiriou Mavraki". Members of the family band included:

  • Sotiris Mavrakis (Σωτήρης Μαυράκης)
  • Georgia Mavraki (Γεωργία Μαυράκη), Sotiris' wife
  • Giorgos Mavrakis (Γιώργος Μαυράκης), the couple's oldest son. Played oud, lute, and bouzouki.
  • Manos Mavrakis, the second son. Didn't play an instrument, but sang.
  • Dimitris Mavrakis (Δημήτρης Μαυράκης). Sings and plays piano, clarinet, flute, guitar, trumpet and all brass. Created arrangements of traditional songs, as well as composing new music for the ensemble.
  • And also younger family members

To preserve the legacy of their homeland in Asia Minor, the family has produced a music album titled Tragoudia ton Prosfigon tou Reis-Dere Mikras Asias (Songs of the Refugees of Reis Dere of Asia Minor) and a companion song book titled Reis-Dere Folk Songs.

Sotiriou Mavraki passed away in 2020 at age 86.

Song: Kemal (Kemal), 2002

Lyrics: Ikoyenia Sotiriou Mavraki

Music: Ikoyenia Sotiriou Mavraki

Dance Style:

No Dancing! Only if theatrical to pay tribute to the Genocide.

Album: Tragoudia ton Prosfigon tou Reis-Dere Mikras Asias (Songs of the Refugees of Reis Dere of Asia Minor)

Τραγούδι: Κεμάλ, 2002

Στίχοι: Οικογένεια Σωτηρίου Μαυράκη

Μουσική: Οικογένεια Σωτηρίου Μαυράκη

Άλμπουμ: Τραγούδια των προσφύγων του Ρεϊς-Ντερέ Μικράς Ασίας

 

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Lyrics

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

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Δε' συλλογιέσαι, ρε Κεμάλ de' siloyese, re Kemal Kemal, you don't think [about]
το αίμα που 'χεις χύσει; to ema pou 'hees hisi? the blood you have shed?
το χώμα της Ανατολής to homa tis Anatolis The soil of Anatolia
το έχεις κοκκινίσει to ehis kokinisi you have reddened.
Το χώμα της Ανατολής to homa tis Anatolis The soil of Anatolia
το έχεις κοκκινίσει to ehis kokinisi you have reddened.
δε' συλλογιέσαι, ρε Κεμάλ de' siloyese, re Kemal Kemal, you don't think [about]
το αίμα που 'χεις χύσει; to ema pou 'hees hisi? the blood you have shed?
     
Στης Μαγνησίας τα βουνά stis Magnisias ta vouna In [the] Magnesias (1) mountains,
μέσα εις τις χαράδρες mesa ees tis harades inside the gorges,
σφάξανε γυναικόπαιδα sfaxane yinekopeda they slaughtered women & children —
εξήντα - δυο χιλιάδες exinda dio hiliades 62,000.
σφάξανε γυναικόπαιδα sfaxane yinekopeda They slaughtered women & children —
εξήντα - δυο χιλιάδες exinda dio hiliades 62,000.
στης Μαγνησίας τα βουνά stis Magnisias ta vouna In [the] Magnesias (1) mountains
μέσα εις τις χαράδρες mesa ees tis harades inside the gorges.
     
Στη' Σμύρνη σφάζουνε τα αρνιά sti' Smyrni sfazoune ta arnia In Smyrna, (2) they slaughtered the lambs,
στην Πόλη τα κριάρια stin Poli ta kriaria in the Poli, (3) the rams.
και μέσα στο Ρεΐς Ντερέ ke mesa sto Reisdere And in Reisdere (4),
σφάζονται παλικάρια sfazonde palikaria they are slaughtering young men, (5)
και μέσα στο Ρεΐς Ντερέ ke mesa sto Reisdere and in Reisdere (4)
σφάζονται παλικάρια sfazonde palikaria they are slaughtering young men (5).
στη' Σμύρνη σφάζουνε τα αρνιά sti' Smyrni sfazoun ta arnia In Smyrna, (2) they slaughtered the lambs,
στην Πόλη τα κριάρια stin Poli ta kriaria in the Poli (3), the rams.
     
(Rhythm changes to tsifteteli) (Rhythm changes to tsifteteli) (Rhythm changes to tsifteteli)
Θεέ μου πως The-e mou pos My God, how
την άντεξες tin adexes did you endure
την αδικία ετούτη; tin adikia etouti such injustice?
με' στα Χριστιανικά χωριά me' sta Hristianika horia In the Christian villages
να κατοικούνε Τούρκοι na katikoune Tourki to be inhabited by Turks,
να κατοικούνε Τούρκοι na katikoune Tourki to be inhabited by Turks? (6)
     

Amanes (7)

Amanes (7)

Amanes (7)

  1. Magnesia, also known as Magnesia on the Maeander, was an ancient Greek city found in the region of Ionia, located in what is now western Turkey. People of Ionia were referred to as "Iones", which was transliterated into Arabic and Turkish as Yunan. "Yunan" in those languages has come to mean "Greek."
  2. "Smyrna" used to be the name for the city in Turkey that today is known as Izmir. The Greek and Armenian parts of the city were mostly destroyed in 1922 by the Great Fire of Smyrna. Estimated deaths of Greeks and Armenians from the catastrophic fire are estimated to range from 10,000 to 100,000.
  3. Greeks often refer to Constantinople, now known as Istanbul, as "the Poli".
  4. Reisdere is an ancient Greek town in the countryside east of Smyrna (now known as Izmir, Turkey). It was a part of Erithrea (Ερυθραία). Many of Turkey's indigenous Greek people fled this area as refugees in the early 20th century, settling on the islands of Chios (Χίος) and Limnos (Λήμνος).
  5. The word palikaria can mean respectable, affluent, brave, and young men. It has all these meanings.
  6. This means that the injustice is that villages that once were communities of Christians are now solely inhabited by Turks. It's a reference to the Turks evicting and slaughtering the Anatolian Christians who once lived there.
  7. "Amanes" refers to vocal improvisation in Greek music. Its meaning is similar to the Arabic word mawwal.

 

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Where to Get Recordings of this Song

Artist: Ikoyenia Sotiriou Mavraki
CD Title: Tragoudia ton Prosfigon tou Reis-Dere Mikras Asias

 

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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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