Filler
Photo of Shira

 

 

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

Μέρα Με Τη' Μέρα
(Mera Me Ti' Mera Fevgo)

(Day by Day I Pull Away)

 

 

This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to the Pontian Greek song "Mera Me Ti' Mera Fevgo" (Μέρα Με Τη' Μέρα), which was sung by Nikos Kourkoulis. 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

The artist who popularized this song, Nikos Kourkoulis, is of Pontian Anatolian Greek descent. The song, with lyrics in modern Greek, incorporates elements of traditional Pontian musical style, including the omal rhythm and the kemence instrument.

This song was released into mainstream Greek music, enabling it to become a hit among both the Pontian and non-Pontian Greek communities. In my opinion, this is a major win for the Pontian community, because our musical style is rarely found in the mainstream industry.

Of course, we have had some popular laiko style artists cross over to include the kemence sound in their songs, but it has been a while. In Turkish, this instrument is referred to as the kemençe. Our instrument, ancient in its existence, can be found in present-day Turkey among the Pontian tribes of the Black Sea region. Geographically we are also considered as Mikrasiates (Μικρασιάτες, specifically meaning those from northern Asia Minor (Μικρά Ασία).

For more information about traditional Pontian music, see Musical Traditions of Pontus, the Black Sea Region of Present-Day Turkey elsewhere on this web site.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: Panayiota, wearing a Pontian folk costume, is standing next to a musician friend holding a kemence. This photo was taken backstage at the renowned Dora Stratou National State Folk Dance Theater of Greece, 2019 summer performance season, on Philopapou Hills, near the ancient Acropolis where the Parthenon stands.

Tradition vs Modernization

Despite the beauty of this song, there is major controversy within the Pontian Anatolian Greek community over it. Many, many traditionalists and folklorists are not thrilled with the modernization of our traditional music and rhythms. Many feel this is an insult and a joke while others love it.

I personally fall on the spectrum of loving it! However, being a Greek from the diaspora, I can understand the concern. I understand the risk that by mixing our musical traditions with other musical styles and trends, we may eventually lose our identity. I accept that we must respect those artists that came before us.

On the contrary, I feel this kind of crossover can only bring good. It exposes our beautiful music to many others outside of our ethnic communities. It draws interest and generates curiosity. Tradition can never truly be lost. There are too many of us who will keep everything in place. The world has room for both styles to exist and spread across borders. Unfortunately, not all of the newer generations of Pontians speak or even understand the Pontian language. By releasing newer music, we may attract that younger crowd and spark their interest to dig deeper into their traditions and heritage.

Such crossover may even attract non-Pontians. In our communties, for nearly a century until maybe the mid 2000's, you would rarely see non-Pontians in our cultural centers or even attending our parties. It was very rare. A non-Pontian would need to be married to a Pontian or be invited. There would rarely be non-Pontians in our dance companies. We were a very tight and exclusive tribal community. It is only natural, because our grandparents experienced hell and racism upon arrival as refugees to mainland Greece.

I know this racism as I lived it and saw it as I was always involved in my Pontian community centers and gatherings. Things have changed. Today, I have many non-Pontian dance colleagues who have become professional dancers of the Pontian dance genre. I believe in any measures necessary to spread the history and arts of our ancient culture.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: Panayiota shows traditional attire of her beautiful family region Pontos, Anatolian Greek. Pontos was in the Black Sea region of present day Turkey, known today as Karadeniz!

About Pontus

Pontus is a region within modern-day Turkey that lies on the south side of the Black Sea. Since ancient times, 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 Hellenic (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 Ottoman regime after World War I. The overthrow of the empire 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 Anatolian Greek language!

Dancing to this Song

This song uses the omal rhythm, which is a traditional folk rhythm that comes from Pontus. There is a corresponding Pontian dance style, also called omal.

Traditionally, this and other Pontian Anatolian Greek dances were done in a closed circle. Today, people dancing it often leave the circle open, though if the mood feels right, they still might close it.

Omal is danced at all kinds of occasions by both men and women where dancing would be appropriate. The mood of the dance is typically inspired by the mood of the song and its lyrics.

 

I personally have also belly danced to this song, both as a costumed performer and also socially. In Turkish music and in Greek music we have many songs that feature segments of kemence playing Black Sea rythms. It's best to be able to distinguish this rhythmically in order to insert the necessary movements that fit with this specific rhythm, as there definitely are specific steps for each rhythm. I would never select a traditional fully Pontian song for a belly dance show, but a modern song such as this one with Pontian influence can work.

There is plenty of modern Turkish music that contains this crossover Oriental / Black Sea musical style, and there is in Greek modern music as well.

I am proud to be the first in our global Oriental dance community to introduce you to my native Pontian culture, music, and dance!

About Nikos Kourkoulis

Nikos Kourkoulis is a musician of Pontian heritage who was born in northern Greece. Growing up in a musical family, he learned to play the bouzouki, guitar and bass. He began singing at weddings and festivals at age 13, then started to sing professionally in bouzouki clubs at age 16. As an adult he worked for a time in Thessaloniki, then moved to Athens to advance his career.

Kourkoulis released his first album in 1997 to moderate success, followed by a second album that went platinum. Following release of his fourth album in 2001, he took a hiatus from his career due to health problems. He returned in 2004, releasing a fifth album. The album he released in 2006 was personally special for him, because it contained a duet with another popular singer also of Pontian descent, Kelly Kelekidou, whom he later married.

About Kyriakos Papadopoulos

Kiriakos Papadopoulos was the composer for this song. Born in 1971, he started taking music lessons at age 9, and launched his career as a musician at age 17. Today he is known internationally as a composer, performer, and producer, with his songs performed not only in Greece, but also in Turkey, Israel, and Bulgaria. Between 1995 and 2009 he released over 500 songs!

About Hlias Filippou

Hlias Filippou, sometimes spelled Ilias Filippou or Elias Philippou, wrote the lyrics for this song. He was born in 1959, and is credited with writing lyrics and composing music for nearly 200 songs throughout his career.

Ilias Filippou

Song: Mera Me Ti' Mera Fevgo (Day by Day I Pull Away), 1998

Lyrics: Hlias Filipou

Music: Kyriakos Papadopoulos

Original Artist: Nikos Kourkoulos

Dance Style:

  • Belly Dance
  • Omal

Album: Pezis Me Ti' Floga

Τραγούδι: Μέρα Με Τη' Μέρα, 1998

Στίχοι: Ηλίας Φιλίππου

Μουσική: Κυριάκος Παπαδόπουλος

Πρώτη Εκτέλεση: Νίκος Κουρκούλης

Χορός:

  • Οριεντάλ, Χορό Της Κοιλιάς, Ανατολίτικος Χορός, Τσιφτετέλι, Χανούμικο, Κελικός Χορός
  • Ομάλ

Άλμπουμ: Παίζεις Με Τι' Φλόγα

 

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Lyrics

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

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Τώρα πια δε' με πειράζει tora pia de' me pirazi Now, at this point it doesn't bother me
αν μου πεις δε' μ' αγαπάς an mou pis de' m' agapas if you tell me you don't love me.
και στ' αλήθεια δε' με νοιάζει ke st' alithia de' me niazi And for real I don't care
που θα βγεις, και που θα πας pou tha vgis, ke pou tha pas that you will go out, and where you will go.
φταις για όλα και ευθύνες ftes ya ola ke efthines Everything is your fault and [your] responsibility.
μη' ζητάς, μη' ζητάς mi' zitas, mi zitas Don't ask. Don't ask
να σε θέλω όπως πρώτα na se thelo opos prota for me to want you like before.
μη' ζητάς, μη' ζητάς mi' zitas, mi zitas Don't ask, don't ask.
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

Μέρα με τη' μέρα φεύγω mera me ti' mera fevgo Day by day I pull away (1)
από 'σένα πιο πολύ apo 'sena pio poli from you even more.
μέρα με τη' μέρα σπάει του έρωτα μας το γυαλί mera me ti' mera spai tou erota mas to yiali Day by day the glass of our love is breaking.
συνηθίζω στην ιδέα sinithizo stin idea I'm getting used to the idea
πως δεν κάνουμε μαζί pos den kanoume mazi that we are not meant for each other.
μέρα με τη' μέρα φεύγω mera me ti' mera fevgo Day by day I pull away (1)
από 'σένα πιο πολύ apo 'sena pio poli from you even more.
     
Πράγματα που μ' ενοχλούσαν Pragmata pou m' enochlousan Things that bothered me —
τώρα δε' τα συζητώ tora de' ta syzito I don't talk about them now.
τα φιλιά που με μεθούσαν ta filia pou me methousan The kisses that intoxicated me
σ' άλλα χείλη τα ζητώ s' alla cheíli ta zito I now seek from other lips.
να γυρίσω πάλι πίσω δεν μπορώ, δεν μπορώ na gyriso pali piso den boro, den boro I can not, I can not go back again.
όπως πριν να σ' αγαπήσω opos prin na s' agapiso To love you as before,
δεν μπορώ, δεν μπορώ den boro, den boro I can not, I can not.
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

Μέρα με τη' μέρα φεύγω mera me ti' mera fevgo Day by day I pull away (1)
από 'σένα πιο πολύ apo 'sena pio poli from you even more.
μέρα με τη' μέρα σπάει του έρωτα μας το γυαλί mera me ti' mera spai tou erota mas to yiali Day by day the glass of our love is breaking.
συνηθίζω στην ιδέα sinithizo stin idea I'm getting used to the idea
πως δεν κάνουμε μαζί pos den kanoume mazi that we are not meant for each other.
μέρα με τη' μέρα φεύγω mera me ti' mera fevgo Day by day I pull away (1)
από 'σένα πιο πολύ apo 'sena pio poli from you even more.
     
συνηθίζω στην ιδέα sinithizo stin idea I'm getting used to the idea
πως δεν κάνουμε μαζί pos den kanoume mazi that we are not meant for each other.
μέρα με τη' μέρα φεύγω mera me ti' mera fevgo Day by day I pull away (1)
από 'σένα πιο πολύ apo 'sena pio poli from you even more.
  1. Literally, "leave".

 

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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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