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

Μέσα Στην Ερημιά
(Mesa Stin Erimo)

(In the Desert)

 

 

This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to the popular Greek song "Mesa Stin Erimo" (Μέσα Στην Ερημιά), which was sung as a duet by Yiota Lydia and Hristakis. 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

Those of us from regions that speak Greek, Arabic, and Turkish have exchanged countless songs with each other through licensing the music and creating lyrics in our own languages. These include both current pop music and classics. The song translated on this page is an example of one – it originally appeared in Egypt as "Aziza", featured in the 1954 movie Aziza in a dance scene performed by Naima Akef. "Aziza" was composed by Mohamed Abdel Wahab.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: The photo shows Mohamed Abdel Wahab, the composer of the original Egyptian version of this song.

The Greek version of this song was released under the name "Mes Stin Erimo" as a duet by Yiota Lydia and Hristakis.

About Yiota Lydia

Yiota Lydia, (sometimes spelled as Giota Lydia) was the stage name of Panayiota Mantaraki. She was born in Greece, in a Greek Anatolian refugee district known as Nea Ionia, on February 24, 1934, and came from a family of singers. Her parents were refugees from Smyrna, which today is known as Izmir in Turkey.

Lydia began her career as a singer at the young age of 11, and she became one of the most renowned singers in the laiko genre of music.

Lydia has been a very prolific artist, known for her work as a recording artist. She recorded over 1,000 songs of all musical styles, on 350 record albums. Her final album, Kathara Kai Xaspera, was released in 1986.

She married her husband, Stratos Attalidi, when she was only 14 years old. He was also an artist and composer, and he promoted her career as a singer. They often appeared together as a duet act. They had a son named Stavros.

Giota Lydia

About Hristakis Sirpos

Hristos Sirpos, nicknamed Hristakis, performed this song as a duet with Yiota Lydia.

Hristakis was born in Konstantinoupoli (present day Istanbul) in 1924. Due to devastation of war, the family fled to Greece and built their life in Northern Greece's region of Drama.

It didn't take long for his talents to get noticed, as he was not only a singer but also a self-taught instrument player. His specialties included baglamadaki, bouzouki, and guitar.

I can't even explain to you how much I love this artist and enjoy watching his video footage. He had a very special personality, like none other, and was considered to be the Greek Johnny Holiday. His presentation on stage was comical, yet serious. But it wasn't just any kind of comical — it wasn't forced or planned, it was natural. When he played his instruments his whole body followed along with his funny faces.

Greek movie productions also noticed his unique personality and signed him to appear on many major Greek black and white movies.

Despite all his fame and fortune, he spent his later years penniless. Sadly, like many legends, his worth and memory started to grow again years later after his sudden death due to a stroke in 1981.

Song: Mesa Stin Erimo (In The Desert), 1961

Lyrics: Kosta Virvou

Original Egyptian Music: Mohamed Abdel Wahab

Greek Adaptation of Music: Stratos Attalidi and Kostas Papadopoulos with Lakis Karnezis on bouzoukia

Original Artist for Greek Version: Yiota Lydia and Hristakis

Dance Style: Belly dancing

Τραγούδι: Μέσα Στην Έρημο (Αζίζα)

Στίχοι: Κώστα Βίρβου

Μουσική: Μοχάμεντ Άμπντελ Ουαχαμπ, (Στράτος Ατταλίδη)

Κώστας Παπαδόπουλος & Λάκης Καρνέζης (Μπουζούκια)

Πρώτη Εκτέλεση: Παναγιώτα Μανταράκη (Γιώτα Λύδια) & Χρήστος Σύρπος (Χρηστάκης)

 

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Lyrics

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

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Μέσα στην έρημο mesa stin erimo In the desert,
ένας Φελάχος enas Felahos a peasant man (1)
για την αγάπη του κλαίει μονάχος ya tin agapi tou klei monahos is crying alone for his love.
για τη' Φελάχα τη' γλυκιά ya ti' felaha ti' glikia For the sweet village woman (2)
που έφυγε μακριά pou efiye makria who has gone far away.
     

Chorus #1

Chorus #1

Chorus #1

Μικρή Φελάχα mikri Felaha Little peasant woman, (2)
που να 'σαι ταχα pou na 'se taha where might you supposedly be now?
μικρή Φελάχα mikri Felaha Little peasant woman, (2)
σ' αγαπώ σαν τρελός s' agapo san trelos I love you like a crazy person,
και θα πεθάνω ke tha pethano and I will die
εδώ στην άμμο edo stin amo here in the sand
για τον δικό σου τον καημό ya ton diko sou ton kaimo longing for you.
ο φτωχός o ftohos The poor man that I am.
     

Chorus #2

Chorus #2

Chorus #2

Μικρή Φελάχα mikri Felaha Little peasant woman, (2)
που να 'σαι ταχα pou na 'se taha where might you supposedly be now?
μικρή Φελάχα mikri Felaha Little peasant woman, (2)
σ' αγαπώ σαν τρελός s' agapo san trelos I love you like a crazy person,
και θα πεθάνω ke tha pethano and I will die
εδώ στην άμμο edo stin amo here in the sand,
έρημος και μοναχός erimos k' monahos deserted and alone.
     

Instrumental

Instrumental

Instrumental

     
Ρωτάει κλαίγοντας rotai klegondas In tears, he asks
τα καραβάνια ta karavania the caravans
μήπως την είδανε mipos tin idane perhaps they saw her
με' στα λιμάνια me' sta limania in the ports?
κ' όλοι του λέν' k' oli tou len' And everyone tells him
δε' θα 'ρθει πια de' tha 'rthi pia she won't come back —
έχει άλλον στην καρδιά ehi alon stin kardia she has someone else in her heart.
  1. The word "fellaho" in the Greek lyrics is derived from the Arabic word "fellah". It is the male version of "farmer" or "peasant", and refers to a rural or village man.
  2. The word "fellaha" in the original Greek lyrics comes from Arabic. It is the female version of "farmer" or "peasant", and refers to a rural or village woman.

 

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Translations of
Giota Lydia's (Yiota Lydia's) Songs On This Site

Translations on this web site of songs performed by Giota Lydia (Yiota Lydia) include:

 

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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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