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

Μες στης πόλης το χαμάμ
(Mes Stis Polis to Hamam)

(In the Constantinople Hamam)

 

 

This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to the popular Greek song "Mes Stis Polis to Hamam", also sometimes known as "To Haremi sto Hamam". It was sung by Anestis Dellias (Artemis). 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.

Anestis Delias was a Greek singer and composer of the rebetiko style of music, who played both bouzouki and baglamas. He was born in Smyrna (known today as İzmir in modern-day Turkey). His family moved to Greece in 1922. There, he worked many jobs to support his family, and he launched his music career. Delias died at the age of 32 in 1944 of a heroin overdose. (Some sources say he died in 1941.) Despite his short life, Delias is honored today as one of the important musicians of the rebetiko movement.

Song lyrics are provided for educational purposes. If you like the song, please purchase either the album or a download from an authorized source.

Anestis Delias

Song: Mes Stis Polis to Hamam – In the City Hamam, 1935

Alternate Song Title: To Haremi sto Hamam - The Harem in the Hamam

Lyrics: Anestis Delias (Artemis)

Music: Anestis Delias (Artemis)

Original Artist: Anestis Delias (Artemis)

Dance Style: Syrtos or Tsifteteli

Τραγουδι: Μες στης πόλης το χαμάμ (Το χαρέμι στο χαμάμ), 1935

Στίχοι: Ανέστης Δελλιάς (Αρτέμης)

Μουσική: Ανέστης Δελλιάς (Αρτέμης)

Πρώτη εκτέλεση: Ανέστης Δελλιάς (Αρτέμης)

Other sources say the lyrics for this song were created by:
Lyrics - Panayiotis Mixalopoulos
Bouzouki – Leonardos Bournelis

The version of the lyrics used for this translation is by Anesti Delias. This has also been featured with each sentence being repeated twice. At times, depending on whether the vocalist is a man or a woman,  the words "he" and "she" will be changed.

 

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Listen to MP3 Clips of This Song

Note Sung by Anestis Delias
Note Sung by Stavros Seretis

 

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Lyrics

There are two versions of the lyrics translated below. The first comes from the era of the Forbidden Rebetika, and references smoking hashish. The second replaces the hashish-related lyrics with something else.

Both versions are equally important. Young and old of all ages learn and appreciate both. Consider who your audience is. For more conservative ones, use the version without the hashish reference.

 

The Version Referencing Hasiklidika (Hashish Smokers)

Footnotes are indicated by numbers in parentheses. They appear immediately following the translation below.

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Μες στης Πόλης το χαμάμ mes stis Polis to hamam Inside the hamam [bath house] in the city (1)
ένα χαρέμι κολυμπά ena haremi koleemba a group of women is swimming.
Αραπάδες το φυλάνε Arapades to filane It's guarded by Arabs (2)
Αραπάδες το φυλάνε Arapades to filane It's guarded by Arabs
στον Aλή Πασά το πάνε ston Ali Pasa to pane They are going to Ali Pasha.
στον Aλή Πασά το πάνε ston Ali Pasa to pane They are going to Ali Pasha.
     
Διατάζει τη φρουρά του diatazi ti froura tou He gives orders to his guards
να τις φέρουνε μπροστά του na tis feroune brosta tou to bring the women in front of him.
Να τις βάλει να χορέψουν na tis vali na horepsou to make them dance
Να τις βάλει να χορέψουν na tis vali na horepsou to make them dance
και μπουζούκι να του παίξουν ke bouzouki na tou pexoun and play bouzouki (3) for him
και μπουζούκι να του παίξουν ke bouzouki na tou pexoun and play bouzouki for him
     
Αργιλέδες να φουμάρει argiledes na foumari so he is smoking hookah
με χασίσι Tούρκικο me hasisi Tourkiko with Turkish hashish
Και χανούμια να χορεύουν ke hanoumia na horevoun and belly dancers dancing
Και χανούμια να χορεύουν ke hanoumia na horevoun and belly dancers dancing
τσιφτετέλι γύφτικο tsifteteli giftiko Roma tsifteteli
τσιφτετέλι γύφτικο tsifteteli giftiko Roma tsifteteli
     
Έτσι την περνάνε όλοι etsi tin pernane oli that’s how they pass their lives
Έτσι την περνάνε όλοι etsi tin pernane oli that’s how they pass their lives
οι πασάδες του ντουνιά ee pasades toy dounia the pashas of the world
οι πασάδες του ντουνιά ee pasades toy dounia the pashas of the world
Μ' άργιλέδες, με τσιμπούκια me argiledes, me tsiboukia with hookahs (4) and pipes (5) (6)
Μ' άργιλέδες, με τσιμπούκια me argiledes, me tsiboukia with hookahs and pipes
μ' αγκαλιές και με φιλιά m’ agkalies ke me filia with embraces and kisses
μ' αγκαλιές και με φιλιά m’ agkalies ke me filia with embraces and kisses
  1. Many older Greek songs refer το "Poli". Poli translates to "city", but in Rebetika music lyrics, Poli refers to Constantinople. Today, Constantinople is known as Istanbul.
  2. "Filane" can also mean kissing.
  3. A "bouzouki" is a Greek musical instrument which dates back to ancient times. It originated with the Greeks in Asia Minor, the land mass known today as Turkey. Greeks lived there in large numbers until the early 20th century. The Greek refugees from Asia Minor brought the bouzouki with them to Greece, and they were the founders of the Greek musical genre known as rebetiko.
  4. The Greek word "argile" (plural "argiledes") is also used in some Arabic-speaking areas such as Syria to refer to a hookah pipe. In Egypt, the word "shisha" would be used for the same thing.
  5. At the time this song was written, "tsiboukia" referred to pipes. However, at least since the 1970's, it has taken on another slang meaning, becoming a rude way to refer to a particular sexual act.
  6. Instead of "hookahs and pipes", some versions of the lyrics speak of musical instruments μπουζούκια or μπουζούκο-μπαγλαμάδες (bouzouki or bouzoukia/baglamad).

 

The Version Without the Drug References

Footnotes are indicated by numbers in parentheses. They appear immediately following the translation below. This version was released in 1974, with lyrics by Panayiotis Mixalopoulos.

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Verse

Verse

Verse

Μες στης Πόλης το χαμάμ mes stis Polis to hamam Inside the hamam [bath house] in the city (1)
ένα χαρέμι κολυμπά ena haremi koleemba a group of women is swimming.
Αραπάδες το φυλάνε Arapades to filane It's guarded by Arabs (2)
Αραπάδες το φυλάνε Arapades to filane It's guarded by Arabs (2)
στον Aλή Πασά το πάνε ston Ali Pasa to pane They are going to Ali Pasha.
στον Aλή Πασά το πάνε ston Ali Pasa to pane They are going to Ali Pasha.
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

Ντιρι ντάχτα, ντιρι ντιρι ντάχτα Diri dahta diri diri dahta Tra la la(3)
Ντιρι ντάχτα, ντιρι ντιρι ντάχ Diri dahta diri diri dah Tra la la
Ντιρι ντάχτα, ντιρι ντιρι ντάχτα Diri dahta diri diri dahta Tra la la
Ντιρι ντάχτα, ντιρι ντιρι ντάχ Diri dahta diri diri dah Tra la la
     

Verse

Verse

Verse

Διατάζει τη φρουρά του diatazi ti froura tou He gives orders to his guards
να τις φέρουνε μπροστά του na tis feroune brosta tou to bring the women in front of him.
Να τις βάλει να χορέψουν na tis vali na horepsou to make them dance
Να τις βάλει να χορέψουν na tis vali na horepsou to make them dance
και μπουζούκι να του παίξουν ke bouzouki na tou pexoun and play bouzouki (4) for him
και μπουζούκι να του παίξουν ke bouzouki na tou pexoun and play bouzouki for him
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

Ντιρι ντάχτα, ντιρι ντιρι ντάχτα Diri dahta diri diri dahta Tra la la
Ντιρι ντάχτα, ντιρι ντιρι ντάχ Diri dahta diri diri dah Tra la la
Ντιρι ντάχτα, ντιρι ντιρι ντάχτα Diri dahta diri diri dahta Tra la la
Ντιρι ντάχτα, ντιρι ντιρι ντάχ Diri dahta diri diri dah Tra la la
  1. Many older Greek songs refer το Poli. Poli translates to "city", but in Rebetika music lyrics, Poli refers to Constantinople. Today, Constantinople is known as Istanbul.
  2. Filane can also mean kissing.
  3. This is another way of saying "Opa". It doesn’t really mean anything. Some people think of this as the sound of the instrument striking.
  4. A "bouzouki" is a Greek musical instrument which dates back to ancient times. It originated with the Greeks in Anatolia. (This is the Greek name for the land mass known today as Turkey. Greeks lived there in large numbers until the early 20th century. Many of these refugees went to mainland Greece.) The Greek refugees from Anatolia brought the bouzouki with them to Greece, and they were the founders of the musical genre known as rebetiko.

 

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Where to Get Recordings of this Song

The Famous Piraeus 4

Note

Listen to Clip

Artist: Anestis Delias
CD Title: The Famous Piraeus 4
Gualia Karfia

Note

Listen to Clip

Artist: Stavros Seretis
CD Title: Gualia Karfia

 

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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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