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

Η Μάνα Εν Κρύο Νερό
(Mana En Krion Neron)

(Mother Is Like Cold Water)

 

 

This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to the popular Pontic Greek song "Mana En Krion Neron" (Η Μάνα Εν Κρύο Νερό), which was sung by Petros Gaitanos and many others. The song has been around since the 1960's, so he was not the first.

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 THE PHOTO: Panayiota (the translator) is held by her Pontian mother, Evangelia Symeonidou Bakis (Ευαγγέλια Συμεωνίδου Μπακη). At the time of this photo, they were in the Anatolian Greek refugee district of Ayios Konstantinos (Άγιος Κωνσταντίνος) Agrinio (Αγρινίου).

About Pontus

This song's lyrics were created in the the Pontian version of Greek, whose roots lie in the language of ancient Greece rather than the Modern Greek spoken in the country Greece today. Pontian was the language spoken in Pontus. The Modern Greek language was never spoken in Pontus. In addition to having their own language, the majority of Pontians (including my great-grandparents) were also fluent in Ottoman Turkish.

Pontus is a region within modern-day Turkey that lies on the south side of the Black Sea. Since ancient times, Hellenic Pontus covered a large mountainous region, and possessed great wealth, including silver mining. The Turkish people call this region Karadeniz.

Historically, Pontus consisted of a primarily Greek population, although some other ethnic groups lived there as well. Due to invasion in the 17th century, this primarily Greek region became part of the Ottoman empire and remained part of it until the fall of the Ottomans after World War I. The overthrow of the Ottomans led to the forced mass exodus of millions of Anatolian Greeks and other Christians.

To this day, there are many crypto Christian Pontians. If you visit the region, you will encounter many who still speak the Pontian language!

ABOUT THE PHOTO: Panayiota (the translator) is held by her Yiayia (grandmother) Despina Fitopoulou- Symeonidou (Δέσποινα Φυτοπουλου- Συμεωνίδου) in the Anatolian Greek refugee district of Ayios Konstantinos (Άγιος Κωνσταντίνος) Agrinio (Αγρινίου).

About this Song

Pontian people consider this song to be the Pontian Anatolian Greek national anthem of the Mother.

One of the most popular recordings of this song is by Petros Gaitanos, a renowned chanter and scholar of Byzantine music who included it on his 1998 platinum album Agera, Eros and Armyra.

There have also been many other recordings and versions including those by Stelios Kazantzidis and Vasilis Karas. I am not sure when the first actual recording of this song was released. Many say it has been around since the 1960s.

Many people consider this song to be a hymn to motherhood, making it popular for Mother's Day as well as for Pontian Remembrance Day. It has become widely popular among Pontians and non-Pontians alike.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: This is the translator's paternal grandmother, Panayiota Smyrniou-Bakis (Παναγιώτα Σμυρναίου-Μπακη), who is of Spartan and Anatolian Greek heritage.

About Dancing to this Song

The appropriate dance style to do with this song is Tik, which is a traditional line dance from Pontus that moves in a circle. Tik is a dance that children learn from their parents and grandparents at community celebrations as they are growing up. It comes in many variations and speeds, depending on which region of the Pontian Black Sea the dancer comes from.

Tik is considered to be the stepping stone in learning the ancient historic war dance called "Serra" (Σέρρα), which is also known as "Pyrichios" (Πυρρίχιος). Only the physically fit and those who have mastered the extremely fast foot work can keep up!

In Pontian dance, regardless of speed, it really isn't just about steps or dancing on the beat and rhythm. In Pontian music, there are many times within the musical phrase where musicians playing the daouli (νταούλι) and kemence (Κεμεντζέ) pause. In these moments, it is extremely difficult to remain on the correct steps. Thus, it is very important to understand and master the most basic form of Tik. (For more information about traditional Pontian musical instruments, see my article "Musical Traditions of Pontus, the Black Sea Region of Present-Day Turkey".)

ABOUT THE PHOTO: Panayiota (the translator) being held by her Godmother Zeta Dedes (Ζέτα Δεδες). Godmothers are a special part of Greek Orthodox family life after her baptism in Greece at Ayios Konstantinos Greek Orthodox church.

Some dance variations include Tik Mono (Τίκ Μονό), Tik Diplon (Τίκ Διπλόν), and Tik Tromahton (Τίκ Τρομαχτόν). The name of the variation may also be based on the region, such as Tik Toyias (Τίκ Τόγιας) or Tik Matsoukas (Τίκ Ματσούκας) from the region of Maçka, known in Pontian as Matsouka. Although the steps consistent for a given region, each dancer has their own style and way of carrying themselves. It is rare to see every person dancing Tik exactly the same way. Each body type and structure is different. Some people bend the knees more, some less. When we are just dancing socially at our parties and gatherings, we all have our own personal styles. This admittedly wouldn't be appropriate for stage company presentation.

It would not be appropriate to incorporate this song into a belly dance performance. However, Pontian audience members would respond favorably to including this song at the end of a belly dancer's playlist, to begin playing after the dancer has left the stage, for audience members to get up and dance Tik to it. This could be especially appropriate near Mother's Day.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: Panayiota (the translator) poses with her husband Amer Mohieddin and his mother Khanum Alsamra.

Translator's Note

Although I am of Pontian Anatolian Greek heritage and grew up with the culture, arts and language, sadly I am not 100% fluent in the ancient Pontian language. I do, however, understand a lot, and I know our songs because I grew up with them. I like to ensure my translations are precise, so I collaborated with my Pontian Mother Evangelia Symeonidou-Bakis (Ευαγγελία Συμεωνίδου-Μπακη) to cross check, allowing me to provide you with the best accuracy!

ABOUT THE PHOTO: This photo shows one of the sets of Panayiota's (the translator's) great grandparents who were born and raised in Turkey. It was taken in the Pontian refugee district of Sfina (Σφήνα), which lies about 20-30 minutes outside of Agrinio, Greece. It is considered one of the many Pontian villages of Etοloakarnania (Αιτωλοακαρνανίας). Today it is known as Kipseli (Κυψέλη) and is famous for strawberry farming and production. These businesses are heavily owned by Panayiota's relatives. The great-grandmother's name was Zoi Nazli Asvestopoulos (Ζωή Ναζλι Ασβεσοπουλος).

ABOUT THE PHOTO: This photo shows another set of Panayiota's (the translator's) great grandparents, who were also born and raised in present-day Turkey. The great-grandmother's name was Kyriaki Parharidou (Κυριακή Παρχαριδου).

About Petros Gaitanos

Petros Gaitanos is a Greek singer who was born in Drama, Greece in 1967. He holds a degree in Byzantine music from the Greek Conservatory of Athens. In the early years of his career, he toured with legendary Greek singers such as Haris Alexiou, Eleftheria Arvanitaki, Marinella and others.

Beginning in 1998, Gaitanos has begun releasing albums of traditional folk music from Asia Minor, Constantinople, the Aegean, and Pontus. The first of these, released in March 1998, was Agera, Eros and Armyra, and it went platinum. A song on this album "Mana En Krion Neron", became a major hit. He continued the folkloric theme with his second album which featured Macedonian music, and a third album featuring Pontian music.

Gaitanos' music recordings are now used by dance clubs, schools, cultural clubs, and social celebrations in Greece and abroad for teaching traditional dances and music to children and adults.

About Giannis Tsanakalis

Giannis Tsanakalis is the stage name for singer-songwriter Giannis Vlastaridis. He was born in 1931 in Kalamaria, Thessaloniki, and died in 2001. He was known for creating neo-Pontian music (modern compositions based on Pontian musical style, instruments, and rhythms). Many of these songs were of a satirical nature.

However, he also created some serious songs which have acquired the status of classics. The best known of these songs is "Mana En Krion Neron".

Song: Mana En Krion Neron (Mother Is Like Cold Water), 1998

Lyrics: Giannis Tsanakalis

Music: Giannis Tsanakalis

Artists Who Recorded the Version Used for This Translation: Petros Gaitanos

Has Also Been Recorded By:

  • Giannis Tsanakalis, 1975, album Ta Pontiaka Tou Tsanakali
  • Stathis Nikolaidis, 2000
  • Stelios Kazantzidis
  • Vasilis Karas

Dance Style: Tik

Album: Ageras, Erotas & Armira, 1998

Τραγούδι: Η Μάνα Εν Κρύο Νερό, 1998

Στίχοι: Γιάννης Βλασταρίδης (Τσανάκαλης)

Μουσική: Γιάννης Βλασταρίδης (Τσανάκαλης)  

Ερμηνευτές: Πέτρος Γαιτάνος
Χορός: Τικ

Άλμπουμ: Αγέρας, Έρωτας & Αρμύρα, 1998

 

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Lyrics

The original language for this song was Pontic Greek, a dialect of Greek that was spoken in Pontus. For more background about Pontus, see my article "Musical Traditions of Pontus, the Black Sea Region of Present-Day Turkey".

Pontic Greek Language to English Version

This translation and transliteration are based on the recording by Petros Gaitanos. Recordings by other artists may be somewhat different.

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

Pontic Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Όταν γερά η Mάνα και άλλο κε μπορεί otan yera ee Mana ke alo ke bori When Mother ages and she can't do [things] any more,
Όταν γερά η Mάνα και άλλο κε μπορεί otan yera ee Mana ke alo ke bori When Mother ages and she can't do [things] any more,
     
Α τότε θέλ' βοήθειαν, α τότε θέλ' ζωήν a tote thel' voithian, a tote thel' zoin That's when she needs help, when she needs life,
Α τότε θέλ' ζωήν a tote thel' when she needs life.
Κι όταν θα έρτε η ώρα και άλλο κι θα ζει ke otan tha erte ee ora ke alo ke tha zi And when the time comes that she's no longer alive, (1)
Αμαν και φτας το χρέωσις θα καίεται η ψύς aman ke ftas to hreosis tha ke-ete ee psis if you haven't done your duty, your soul will burn.
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

Η Mάνα εν κρύον νερόν και σο ποτήρ' και μπεν ee Mana en krion neron ke so potir ke ben Mother is cold water and can't be put in the cup. (2)
η Mάνα να μη' είνετε, η Mάνα να μη' εν ee Mana na mi' inete, ee Mana na mi' en Mother you can't, Mother can't,
η Mάνα να μη' εν ee Mana na mi' en Mother can't.
Η Mάνα εν κρύον νερόν και σο ποτήρ' και μπεν ee Mana en krion neron ke so potir ke ben Mother is cold water and can't be put in the cup.
η Mάνα να μη' είνετε, η Mάνα να μη' εν ee Mana na mi' inete, ee Mana na mi' en Mother you can't, Mother can't,
η Mάνα να μη' εν ee Mana na mi' en Mother can't.
     
Η Mάνα εν βράχος, η Mάνα εν ρασίν ee Mana en vrahos, ee Mana en rasin Mother is a rock, Mother is a mountain,
η Mάνα εν βράχος, η Mάνα εν ρασίν ee Mana en vrahos, ee Mana en rasin Mother is a rock, Mother is a mountain.
Σο δύσκολον την ώρας, Μανίτσα, Μανίτσα so diskolon tin oras, Manitsa, Manitsa In difficult times, Mommy, Mommy,
Μανίτσα θα τσαείς Manitsa tha tsais Mommy, you will scream.
     
Η Mάνα εν το στήριγμαν, τη' χαράς το κλαδί

ee Mana en to stirigman, ti' haras to kladi

Mother is someone you can lean on, the joy of the branch,
τατινές η εγάπη κε βρίεται ση γην tatines ee egapi ke vriete si yin her love can't be found anywhere [else] on earth.
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

Η Mάνα εν κρύον νερόν και σο ποτήρ' και μπεν ee Mana en krion neron ke so potir ke ben Mother is cold water and can't be put in the cup. (2)
η Mάνα να μη' είνετε, η Mάνα να μη' εν ee Mana na mi' inete, ee Mana na mi' en Mother you can't, Mother can't,
η Mάνα να μη' εν ee Mana na mi' en Mother can't.
Η Mάνα εν κρύον νερόν και σο ποτήρ' και μπεν ee Mana en krion neron ke so potir ke ben Mother is cold water and can't be put in the cup.
η Mάνα να μη' είνετε, η Mάνα να μη' εν ee Mana na mi' inete, ee Mana na mi' en Mother you can't, Mother can't,
η Mάνα να μη' εν ee Mana na mi' en Mother can't.
     
Θα δεαβένε τα χρόνια, θα έρουμε και μεις
tha devene ta hronia, tha eroume ke mis Years will pass, we will age as well,
Θα δεαβένε τα χρόνια, θα έρουμε και μεις tha devene ta hronia, tha eroume ke mis years will pass, we will age as well
Ατά είναι με τη' σειράν κι θα γλυτών' κανείς ata ine me ti' siran ke tha gliton' kanis this is like the cycle of life, no one is immune to it (3)
κι θα γλυτών' κανείς ke tha gliton kanis no one is immune to it. (3)
     
Κατ ολ πρεπ να εξέρουμε σ' αούτο τη' ζωήν kat ol prep na exeroume s' aouto ti' zoin We all have to know this in life:
χωρίς τη' Mάνας την ευχήν κανείς κε λέπ' χαΐρ horis ti' Manas tin efhi kanis ke lep' haeer without Mother's blessings, nobody will make anything of themselves (4)
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

Η Mάνα εν κρύον νερόν και σο ποτήρ' και μπεν ee Mana en krion neron ke so potir ke ben Mother is cold water and can't be put in the cup. (2)
η Mάνα να μη' είνετε, η Mάνα να μη' εν ee Mana na mi' inete, ee Mana na mi' en Mother you can't, Mother can't,
η Mάνα να μη' εν ee Mana na mi' en Mother can't.
Η Mάνα εν κρύον νερόν και σο ποτήρ' και μπεν ee Mana en krion neron ke so potir ke ben Mother is cold water and can't be put in the cup.
η Mάνα να μη' είνετε, η Mάνα να μη' εν ee Mana na mi' inete, ee Mana na mi' en Mother you can't, Mother can't,
η Mάνα να μη' εν ee Mana na mi' en Mother can't.
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

Η Mάνα εν κρύον νερόν και σο ποτήρ' και μπεν ee Mana en krion neron ke so potir ke ben Mother is cold water and can't be put in the cup. (2)
η Mάνα να μη' είνετε, η Mάνα να μη' εν ee Mana na mi' inete, ee Mana na mi' en Mother you can't, Mother can't,
η Mάνα να μη' εν ee Mana na mi' en Mother can't.
Η Mάνα εν κρύον νερόν και σο ποτήρ' και μπεν ee Mana en krion neron ke so potir ke ben Mother is cold water and can't be put in the cup.
η Mάνα να μη' είνετε, η Mάνα να μη' εν ee Mana na mi' inete, ee Mana na mi' en Mother you can't, Mother can't,
η Mάνα να μη' εν ee Mana na mi' en Mother can't.
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

Η Mάνα εν κρύον νερόν και σο ποτήρ' και μπεν ee Mana en krion neron ke so potir ke ben Mother is cold water and can't be put in the cup. (2)
η Mάνα να μη' είνετε, η Mάνα να μη' εν ee Mana na mi' inete, ee Mana na mi' en Mother you can't, Mother can't,
η Mάνα να μη' εν ee Mana na mi' en Mother can't.
Η Mάνα εν κρύον νερόν και σο ποτήρ' και μπεν ee Mana en krion neron ke so potir ke ben Mother is cold water and can't be put in the cup.
η Mάνα να μη' είνετε, η Mάνα να μη' εν ee Mana na mi' inete, ee Mana na mi' en Mother you can't, Mother can't,
η Mάνα να μη' εν ee Mana na mi' en Mother can't.
  1. Literally, "when she won't be in life".
  2. The chorus is saying it's impossible for anybody else to be like the Mother. She's one of a kind. You can't find anyone else like the Mother.
  3. Or, "no one can be saved from this".
  4. Literally, "succeed".

 

Pontian to Greek

This translation and transliteration are based on the recording by Petros Gaitanos. Recordings by other artists may be somewhat different.

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

Pontian

Greek

Όταν γερά η Μάνα και άλλο κε μπορεί όταν γερνάει η Μάνα και δεν μπορεί άλλο
όταν γερά η Μάνα και άλλο κε μπορεί όταν γερνάει η Μάνα και δεν μπορεί άλλο
   
Α τότε θέλ' βοήθειαν, α τότε θέλ' ζωήν τότε θέλει βοήθεια, τότε θέλει ζωή
α τότε θέλ' ζωήν τότε θέλει ζωή
κι όταν θα έρτε η ώρα και άλλο κι θα ζει και όταν θα έρθει η ώρα και άλλο δεν θα ζει
αμαν και φτας το χρέωσις θα καίεται η ψύς αν δεν κάνεις το χρέος σου, θα καίγεται η ψυχή σου
   

Chorus

Chorus

Η Μάνα εν κρύον νερόν και σο ποτήρ' και μπεν
η Μάνα είναι κρύο νερό, κ στο ποτήρι δεν μπαίνει
η Μάνα να μη' είνετε, η Μάνα να μη' εν
η Μάνα δεν γίνεται, η Μάνα δεν είναι
η Μάνα να μη' εν η Μάνα δεν είναι
Η Μάνα εν κρύον νερόν και σο ποτήρ' και μπεν
η Μάνα είναι κρύο νερό, κ στο ποτήρι δεν μπαίνει
η Μάνα να μη' είνετε, η Μάνα να μη' εν
η Μάνα δεν γίνεται, η Μάνα δεν είναι
η Μάνα να μη' εν η Μάνα δεν είναι
   
Η Μάνα εν βράχος, η Μάνα εν ρασίν
η Μάνα είναι βράχος, η μάνα είναι βουνό
η Μάνα εν βράχος, η Μάνα εν ρασίν
η Μάνα είναι βράχος, η μάνα είναι βουνό
σο δύσκολον την ώρας, Μανίτσα, Μανίτσα
στη' δύσκολη την ώρα Μανούλα, Μανούλα
Μανίτσα θα τσαείς Μανούλα θα φωνάζεις
   
Η Μάνα εν το στήριγμαν, τη' χαράς το κλαδί
H Μάνα είναι το στήριγμα, της χαράς το κλαδί
τατινές η εγάπη κε βρίεται ση γην σαν την αγάπη της δεν βρίσκεται στη' γη
   

Chorus

Chorus

Η Μάνα εν κρύον νερόν και σο ποτήρ' και μπεν
η Μάνα είναι κρύο νερό, κ στο ποτήρι δεν μπαίνει
η Μάνα να μη' είνετε, η Μάνα να μη' εν
η Μάνα δεν γίνεται, η Μάνα δεν είναι
η Μάνα να μη' εν η Μάνα δεν είναι
Η Μάνα εν κρύον νερόν και σο ποτήρ' και μπεν
η Μάνα είναι κρύο νερό, κ στο ποτήρι δεν μπαίνει
η Μάνα να μη' είνετε, η Μάνα να μη' εν
η Μάνα δεν γίνεται, η Μάνα δεν είναι
η Μάνα να μη' εν η Μάνα δεν είναι
   
Θα δεαβένε τα χρόνια, θα έρουμε κ μεις
θα περάσουν τα χρόνια, θα γεράσουμε και εμείς
Θα δεαβένε τα χρόνια, θα έρουμε κ μεις θα περάσουν τα χρόνια, θα γεράσουμε και εμείς
   
Ατά είναι με τη' σειράν κι θα γλυτών' κανείς
αυτά είναι με τη' σειρά, κ δεν θα γλιτώσει κανείς
κι θα γλυτών' κανείς κ δεν θα γλιτώσει κανείς
   
Και ολ πρεπ να εξέρουμε σ' αούτο τη' ζωήν
όλοι πρέπει να ξέρουμε σ' αυτή' τη' ζωή
χωρίς τη' μάνας την ευχήν κανείς κε λέπ' χαΐρ χωρίς της μάνας την ευχή κανένας δεν θα προκοπή
   

Chorus

Chorus

Η Μάνα εν κρύον νερόν και σο ποτήρ' και μπεν
η Μάνα είναι κρύο νερό, κ στο ποτήρι δεν μπαίνει
η Μάνα να μη' είνετε, η Μάνα να μη' εν
η Μάνα δεν γίνεται, η Μάνα δεν είναι
η Μάνα να μη' εν η Μάνα δεν είναι
Η Μάνα εν κρύον νερόν και σο ποτήρ' και μπεν
η Μάνα είναι κρύο νερό, κ στο ποτήρι δεν μπαίνει
η Μάνα να μη' είνετε, η Μάνα να μη' εν
η Μάνα δεν γίνεται, η Μάνα δεν είναι
η Μάνα να μη' εν η Μάνα δεν είναι
   

Chorus

Chorus

Η Μάνα εν κρύον νερόν και σο ποτήρ' και μπεν
η Μάνα είναι κρύο νερό, κ στο ποτήρι δεν μπαίνει
η Μάνα να μη' είνετε, η Μάνα να μη' εν
η Μάνα δεν γίνεται, η Μάνα δεν είναι
η Μάνα να μη' εν η Μάνα δεν είναι
Η Μάνα εν κρύον νερόν και σο ποτήρ' και μπεν
η Μάνα είναι κρύο νερό, κ στο ποτήρι δεν μπαίνει
η Μάνα να μη' είνετε, η Μάνα να μη' εν
η Μάνα δεν γίνεται, η Μάνα δεν είναι
η Μάνα να μη' εν η Μάνα δεν είναι
   

Chorus

Chorus

Η Μάνα εν κρύον νερόν και σο ποτήρ' και μπεν
η Μάνα είναι κρύο νερό, κ στο ποτήρι δεν μπαίνει
η Μάνα να μη' είνετε, η Μάνα να μη' εν
η Μάνα δεν γίνεται, η Μάνα δεν είναι
η Μάνα να μη' εν η Μάνα δεν είναι
Η Μάνα εν κρύον νερόν και σο ποτήρ' και μπεν
η Μάνα είναι κρύο νερό, κ στο ποτήρι δεν μπαίνει
η Μάνα να μη' είνετε, η Μάνα να μη' εν
η Μάνα δεν γίνεται, η Μάνα δεν είναι
η Μάνα να μη' εν η Μάνα δεν είναι

 

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Pontian Anatolian Music Resources

Resources on this web site for Pontian Anatolian music and culture include:

Articles

Translations of Songs from Pontian Anatolian Greek Dialect into English and Modern Greek

  • Mana En Krion Neron (Mother Is Like Cold Water). By Giannis Tsanakalis. Many people consider this song to be a hymn to motherhood. Includes information about the traditional Pontian Anatolian folk dance known as "tik".
  • Sa Xena Ime Ellinas (In Foreign Lands I'm a Greek). By Stelios Kazantzidis. Unofficial anthem of the Greek diaspora. Includes information about the traditional Pontian Anatolian circle dance known as "omal".
  • Tin Patrida M' Ehasa (I Lost My Homeland). By Giannis Kourtidis & Ahileas Vasiliadis.

Translations of Songs in Modern Greek with Pontian References

  • Tou Pontou Panagia (The Virgin Mary of Pontus). By Themis Adamantidis. Includes cultural information about Monastery Panagia Soumela located in the Pontian mountains at Trapezounda.

Mainstream Greek Music with Pontian Influences

 

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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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