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

Μια μελαχρινή
(Mia Melaxrini)

(A Dark Girl)

 

This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to the popular Greek song "Mia Melaxrini" (Μια μελαχρινή), which was originally sung by Giota Lydia (often spelled as Yiota Lidia), and later by Glykeria. The song title is sometimes spelled as "Mia Melaxroini". Also included is a pronunciation guide for the Greek lyrics so you can sing along if you like.

The same melody was used for an earlier (1922) Turkish song named "Usakli Kiz", which means "girl from the region of Usak of Turkey".

For more information about the laiko and rebetiko styles of music, see Introduction to Laiko / Rebetiko Music elsewhere on this web site.

The song title "Mia Melaxrini" means "A Dark Girl" in English. It can refer to either dark hair or dark skin color.

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 Giota Lydia

Giota Lydia, born as Panayiota Mantaraki on February 24, 1934, comes from a family of singers. She was born in Greece in an Greek Anatolian refugee district known as Nea Ionia. 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. 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.

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.

Giota Lydia

About Glykeria

Glykeria Kotsoula is the sweetheart of Greece and one of the greatest legends of our time. She was born in 1953 in Serres, Greece. Her musical style is modern laika (rebetika & folk), while still always paying tribute to the great Rebetes of the past.

Panayiota, the translator of this song, offers this personal perspective on what Glykeria's music means to her:

Glykeria's music always has and always will inspire me both on and off the stage. I admire her simplicity and humbleness despite her fame and success. While most kids were learning standard lullabies, my mother would sing all her songs to me, since I was a baby. My mother Evangelia is a huge fan and loves singing her songs. On family road trips, my mother played this song (and all her tapes) over and over again. Those cassette tapes (with this song) are what made me fall in love with Laika/Rebetika style music at the age of ten. Thank you Glykeria, thank you Mama! Enjoy!

Most of Glykeria's records have gone platinum. She has gained fame and respect through out the world. Glykeria collaborates with many notable international musicians, including the Turkish living legend, Omar Farouk Tekbilek.

Glykeria

Song: Mia Melaxrini – A Dark Girl, 1958

Lyrics: Panayiotis Kokontinis

Music: Stellakis Perpiniadis

Original Greek Artist: Giota Lydia

Has Also Been Recorded By:

  • Glykeria
  • Haris Alexiou
  • Eleftheria Arvanitaki
  • Maria Soultatou

Τραγουδι: Μια μελαχρινή, 1958

Στίχοι: Παναγιώτης Κοκοντίνης

Μουσική: Στελλάκης Περπινιάδης

Πρώτη εκτέλεση: Γιώτα Λύδια

Άλλες ερμηνείες:

  • Γλυκερία
  • Χάρις Αλεξίου
  • Ελεύθερια Αρβανιτάκη
  • Μαρία Σουλτατου

 

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Lyrics

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

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Μια μελαχρινή, γιάλα, Mia melahrini, yalla, A dark girl (1), yalla, (2)
κούκλα ζωντανή, γιάλα, εεε koukla zondani, yalla, eee A real live doll, yalla, oohhhh
     
Σαν την είδα στο χορό, γιάλα San tin ida sto horo, yalla As if I saw her in the dance, yalla
αχ, δε βαστώ, γιάλα, θα τρελαθώ ah, de vasto, yalla, tha trelatho Oh, I can't wait, yalla, I will go crazy
να χορεύει τσιφτετέλι na horevi tsifteteli as she was dancing tsifteteli (3)
σ' ένα γύφτικο σκοπό s’ ena Yiftiko skopo in a Romany way.
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

Είχε ένα κορμί σαν χέλι Ihe ena kormi san heli She had a body like an eel (4)
βαϊ βαϊ βαϊ βαϊ βαϊ Vai vai vai vai vai Oh boy oh boy
βαϊ βαϊ βαϊ βαϊ βαϊ Vai vai vai vai vai Oh boy oh boy
     
Είχε ένα κορμί σαν χέλι Ihe ena kormi san heli She had a body like an eel
χόρευε το τσιφτετέλι horeve to tsifteteli she was dancing the tsifteteli
χόρευε το τσιφτετέλι horeve to tsifteteli she was dancing the tsifteteli
χόρευε σκορπούσε κέφι horeve skorpouse kefi she was dancing and spreading joy
με το ντέφι της, με το ντέφι της, γιάλα me to defi tis, me to defi tis, yalla with her defi (4), with her defi, yalla
με το ντέφι της me to defi tis, with her defi
κι όλα γίναν άνω-κάτω ke ola ginan ano-kato everything turned upside down
για γούστο και για κέφι της ya gousto ke ya kefi tis for her pleasure and joy
     
Πώς να της το πω, γιάλα pos na tis to po, yalla How can I tell her, yalla
πως την αγαπώ, γιάλα εεε pos tin agapo, yalla eee that I love her, yalla oohhhh
     
Θα με φάει ο καημός, γιάλα tha me fai o kaimos, yalla My longing for her will eat away at me, yalla
πού να τη βρω, γιάλα, να της το πω pou na ti vro, yalla, na tis to po where will I find her, to tell her
πως θα γίνει πια δικιά μου pos tha gini pia dikia mou how will she finally be mine
και θα τη στεφανωθώ ke tha ti stefanotho and I will place the crowns on her (5)
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

Είχε ένα κορμί σαν χέλι Ihe ena kormi san heli She had a body like a fish
βαϊ βαϊ βαϊ βαϊ βαϊ Vai vai vai vai vai Oh boy oh boy
βαϊ βαϊ βαϊ βαϊ βαϊ Vai vai vai vai vai Oh boy oh boy
     
Είχε ένα κορμί σαν χέλι Ihe ena kormi san heli She had a body like a fish (6)
χόρευε το τσιφτετέλι horeve to tsifteteli she was dancing the tsifteteli
χόρευε το τσιφτετέλι horeve to tsifteteli she was dancing the tsifteteli
χόρευε σκορπούσε κέφι horeve skorpouse kefi she was dancing and spreading joy
με το ντέφι της, με το ντέφι της, γιάλα me to defi tis, me to defi tis, yalla with her defi (4), with her defi, yalla
με το ντέφι της me to defi tis with her defi
κι όλα γίναν άνω-κάτω ke ola ginan ano-kato everything turned upside down
για γούστο και για κέφι της ya gousto ke ya kefi tis for her pleasure and joy
     

Instrumental Solo

Instrumental Solo

Instrumental Solo

     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

Είχε ένα κορμί σαν χέλι Ihe ena kormi san heli She had a body like a fish
βαϊ βαϊ βαϊ βαϊ βαϊ Vai vai vai vai vai Oh boy oh boy
βαϊ βαϊ βαϊ βαϊ βαϊ Vai vai vai vai vai Oh boy oh boy
     
Είχε ένα κορμί σαν χέλι Ihe ena kormi san heli She had a body like a fish
χόρευε το τσιφτετέλι horeve to tsifteteli she was dancing the tsifteteli
χόρευε το τσιφτετέλι horeve to tsifteteli she was dancing the tsifteteli
χόρευε σκορπούσε κέφι horeve skorpouse kefi she was dancing and spreading joy
με το ντέφι της, με το ντέφι της, γιάλα me to defi tis, me to defi tis, yalla with her defi, with her defi, yalla
με το ντέφι της me to defi tis with her defi
κι όλα γίναν άνω-κάτω ke ola ginan ano-kato everything turned upside down
για γούστο και για κέφι της ya gousto key a kefi tis for her pleasure and joy
  1. "Dark girl" could refer to either dark hair or a darker skin color.
  2. "Yalla" is an Arabic word which can mean, "Let's go," "Come on," "Hurry up," or "Enough already!" In referencing her dancing with her defi, it's probably an exclamation of joy, such as "Wow!" or "Yeah!" Later, the song says, "How can I tell her, yalla!" and in that context the word "yalla" is probably being used as emphasis.
  3. The word "tsifteteli" is one of the Greek words for belly dancing.
  4. In Greek, if someone says a dancing woman resembles an eel (which is a type of fish), that is a very favorable compliment. It suggests that she can move her body sinuously, like the way an eel undulates its way through water. Other Greek words that can be used in the same way are the words for "snake" and "mermaid".
  5. A "defi" is a frame drum, resembling a tambourine. It can be traced back to ancient Greece. A similar instrument in Egypt is called a deff.
  6. In Greek Orthodox weddings, crown-like wreaths are placed on the heads of the bride and groom during the wedding ceremony. This lyric is a reference to marrying her.

 

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Translations of
Glykeria's Songs On This Site

Other translations of songs performed by Glykeria on this web site 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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