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

Μάνα Γλυκιά
(Mana Glikia)

(Sweet Mother)

 

 

This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to the Greek song "Mana Glikia" (Μάνα Γλυκιά), which was sung by Haris Alexiou. 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 Haris Alexiou

Haris Alexiou is the professional name for Hariklia Roupaka (Χαρίκλεια Ρουπάκα). She was born in 1950 in Greece. She became successful as a rebetiko singer in the 1970's, and today is considered one of the most popular vocalists in Greece. She has recorded more than 30 albums of her own, and more than 20 of those have achieved either gold or platinum status.

Haris Alexiou

About Christos Nikolopoulos

According to imdb.com, Christos Nikolopoulos (Χρήστος Νικολόπουλος) was born on July 11, 1947 in Kamohori, Imathia, Greece. His first taste of learning to play music as a child came when his cousin showed him how to play a few things on the accordion. Later, he borrowed his older brother's bouzouki and learned to play that. Eventually, he attended music school, learning to read music and play by ear.

To help out his family financially, Nikolopoulos began to play professionally at the age of 14 years old. At age 16, he relocated to Athens to advance his musical career, often playing for just a meal. In 1968, his compositions came to the attention of famous singer Marinella. She introduced his songs to her ex-husband Stelios Kazantzidis. These connections helped Nikolopoulos achieve his first major hit song as a composer, "Νυχτερίδες κι αράχνες" ("Bats and Spiders"). He went on to compose many songs which have become part of Greece's cultural legacy.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: Christos Nikolopoulos plays his bouzouki.

Christos Nikolopoulos

Song: Mana Glikia (Sweet Mother), 1976

Lyrics: Pythagoras Papastamatiou

Music: Christos Nikolopoulos

Original Artist: Haris Alexiou

Dance Style: Hasapiko

Album: Haris Alexiou 2

Τραγούδι: Μάνα Γλυκιά, 1976

Στίχοι: Πυθαγόρας Παπασταματιού

Μουσική: Χρήστος Νικολόπουλος

Πρώτη Εκτέλεση: Χάρις Αλεξίου

Χορός: Χασάπικο

Άλμπουμ: Χάρις Αλεξίου 2

 

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Lyrics

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

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Μάνα γλυκιά Mana glika Sweet Mother.
φτωχιά μου Μάνα ftohia mou Mana My destitute Mother:
στον κόσμο μόνη, με παιδιά ston kosmo moni, me pedia alone in the world, with children.
αντί να κάνεις τη ζητιάνα andi na kanis ti zitiana Instead of being a beggar,
τα χέρια σου έκανες σπαθιά ta heria sou ekanes spathia you made your hands into swords.
     
Καταχείμωνο katahimono In the winter,

στα τρίστρατα, εκίναγες

sta tristrata, ekinayes in three layers.
κι αλίμονο ke alimo Alas, (1)
για το ψωμί μας, πείναγες ya to psomi mas, pinages you worked so hard to make money for our bread and went hungry yourself.
ποιος βοριάς pios vorias What northern wind
και ποια καμπάνα ke pia kabana and what bell (2)
θα σε τραγουδήσει, Mάνα tha se tragoudisi, Mana will sing of you, Mother?
ποιος βοριάς pios vorias What northern wind
και ποια καμπάνα ke pia kabana and what bell (2)
θα σε τραγουδήσει, Mάνα tha se tragoudisi, Mana will sing of you, Mother?
     
Ήσουνα φως isoun fos You were light
μες στο κονάκι mes sto konaki in the cognac,
κι ανάσα της, παρηγοριάς ke anasa tis, parigorias and her breath, consoling.
εσύ κατάπινες φαρμάκι esi katapines farmaki You swallowed poison
και μέλι πότιζες εμάς ke meli potizes emas and fed us honey.
     
Καταχείμωνο katahimono In the winter,

στα τρίστρατα, εκίναγες

sta tristrata, ekinayes in three layers.
κι αλίμονο ke alimo Alas, (1)
για το ψωμί μας, πείναγες ya to psomi mas, pinages you worked so hard to make money for our bread and went hungry yourself.
ποιος βοριάς pios vorias What northern wind
και ποια καμπάνα ke pia kabana and what bell (2)
θα σε τραγουδήσει, Mάνα tha se tragoudisi, Mana will sing of you, Mother?
ποιος βοριάς pios vorias What northern wind
και ποια καμπάνα ke pia kabana and what bell (2)
θα σε τραγουδήσει, Mάνα tha se tragoudisi, Mana will sing of you, Mother?
  1. It could also mean something like "God forbid," but it doesn't mention God.
  2. Usually, this would be a reference to church bells, but it might mean "tune" or "melody", considering the next line's reference to singing.
  3. Literally, "potizes" means to water, such as watering a plant. However, in slang, it can mean you were feeding me.

 

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Translations of
Haris Alexiou's Songs On This Site

Songs performed by Haris Alexiou that have translations on this web site include:

  • Kegome, Kegome (I'm Burning, I'm Burning). There are several different songs with this title. This refers to the one featured in the movie Rembetiko.
  • Mana Glikia (Sweet Mother)
  • Mia Einai I Ousia (The Point Is)

 

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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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