Filler
Photo of Shira

 

 

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

Μισιρλού
(Misirlou)

(Egyptian Girl)

 

 

This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to the popular Greek rebetiko song "Misirlou" (Μισιρλού).

The lyrics tell of forbidden love between a Greek (Christian) man and an Egyptian (Muslim) woman. The differences between the lovers in both race/ethnicity and religion make the story risqué by the standards of its time.

The title is a Greek pronunciation of the Turkish word "Mısırlı", which means "Egyptian girl" in Turkish.

Also included is a transliteration of the Greek lyrics into the Roman alphabet so you can sing along if you like.

Over the years that followed, many versions of the song have arisen, including Dick Dale's surfer guitar version, Jewish klezmer, Turkish, English lyrics, and more. In the United States, many tsifteteli performers (belly dancers) incorporate this song into their routines, often using a large scarf (sometimes called a veil) as a prop.

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

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 Theodotos (Tetos) Demetriades

Theodotos Demetriades, nicknamed Tetos, was a rebetiko singer, the original artist to record "Misirlou", which he did in 1927.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: This photo is of Tetos Demetriades.

It's unclear exactly when he was born. Estimates range from 1897 to 1901. He was born in Constantinople (the Greek name for Istanbul).

He moved to the United States in 1921, which is where he was living at the time he recorded "Misirlou." He died in New Jersey in 1971 from throat cancer.

Tetos Demetriades

About Michalis (Mike) Patrinos

Mike Patrinos, a rebetiko singer, was originally from Smyrna (the former name of Izmir, Turkey). He sang his version of Misirlou in the accent of that area, so that it sounds like "Mousourlou". He recorded his version of Misirlou in Athens, Greece in 1930.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: This photo shows Michalis Patrinos as a young man..

Mike Patrinos

About Sofia Vembo

Sofia Vembo (real name Sofia Bebou), was a legendary singer and actress who became known by the nicknames “Singer of Victory” and "Efi". Pol Nor, whose real name was Nikos Nikolaidis, gave her the stage name of Sofia Vembo.

Vembo was born in the Anatolian region (in modern-day Turkey) of Thraki on February 10, 1910. She was one of four children. They were raised in Constantinople, but quickly quickly became refugees when the Greeks fled Turkey. The family arrived in Greece and eventually settled in Volos.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: This photo of Sofia Vembo with her beloved guitar was her very first promotional photo. It was advertising her appearance at the Kentrikon Theater, where she dressed as a Romany girl and debuted the song "Tsigana Mavromata" (Black-Eyed Roma) in 1933.

Vembo went on to perform as a singer and actress throughout Greece. She was considered the voice of war music in the 1940s, and became highly respected for her monetary donations to the Hellenic Army, which is how she acquired the nickname "Singer of Victory". Her career continued through the “metapolemika” post-war music era of the 1950s.

Sofia Vembo

About Manos Aggelopoulos

Manolis Aggelopoulos was a Greek legend. He was born in 1939 in northern Greece, to a Romany family. As a child, he traveled throughout Greece with his family's caravan selling everything from carpets to watermelons. The caravan trucks contained a microphone, so young Aggelopoulos broadcast his singing over the loudspeakers along the way.

His big break came in 1959 when he recorded his first 45 rpm vinyl record, bringing the mix of Greek-Gypsy-Arabic fusion into the Greek music scene. For Greeks and Greek-Romany people he was a superstar. His funeral in 1989 was massive, and people cried for 3 days.

Manolis Aggelopolous

Song: Misirlou – Egyptian Girl, 1927

Lyrics: Nicholas (Nikos) Roubanis

Music: Nicholas (Nikos) Roubanis

Original Artist: Theodotos (Tetos) Demetriades

Has Also Been Sung By:

  • Greek Artists
    • Michalis (Mike) Patrinos, 1930
    • Danai Stratigopoulou, 1930
    • Maria Karela with Spiros Stamos Orchestra, 1941
    • Sofia Vembo, 1947
    • Manolis Aggelopoulos, 1976
    • Glykeria Kotsoula
    • Maria Konstantinidou-Stamatiou
  • Other Artists
    • Dick Dale (surf guitar), 1962
    • Ferrante & Teicher, 1979
    • Connie Francis, 1965
    • Martin Denny, 1961
    • Caterina Valente and Edmundo Ros, 1960
    • The Beach Boys (surf guitar), 1963
    • Dario Moreno (in French)
    • Harry Saroyan (in English)
    • Pangia (oud instrumental)
    • George Abdo
    • Lata Mangeshkar, 1965 (in Hindi, as song title "Raat Se Kaho Ruke Zara")

Τραγουδι: Μισιρλού, 1927

Στίχοι: Νικόλαος (Νίκος) Ρουμπάνης

Μουσική: Νικόλαος (Νίκος) Ρουμπάνης

εκτέλεση: Θεόδοτος Δημητριάδης

Έχει επίσης τραγουδιέται από:

Σοφία Βέμπο

 

---------------

Listen to MP3 Clips of This Song

Note Sung in Greek by Tetos Dimitriadis (the original artist)
Note Surf guitar instrumental by Dick Dale and the Del-Tones
Note Sung in English by Harry Saroyan (in English)
Note Sung by Sandler & Young
Note Oud instrumental by Pangia

 

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Lyrics

This song has been recorded by many artists over the years, with some minor variations in verses, repetitions of verse or chorus, etc. Translations for several of the Greek verses, plus transcript of one English version, appear below.

 

Theodotos (Tetos) Demetriades, 1927

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

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Μισιρλού μου η γλυκιά σου η ματιά Misirlou mou ee glikia sou ee matia My Egyptian girl, your sweet gaze
φλόγα μ’ έχει ανάψει μέσ' την καρδιά floga m’ ehi anapsi mes’ tin kardia lit a flame in my heart
     
Αχ, για χαμπίμπι, αχ, για λελέλι αχ ah, ya habibi, ah ya leleli ah oh my love (1), oh leleli (2)
τα δυό σου χείλη στάζουνε μέλι αμάν ta dio sou hili stazoune meli aman your two lips are dripping honey, oh my (3)
     
αμάν Μισιρλού aman Misirlou Oh my, Egyptian girl!
     
τρέλα θα μ’ έρθη, δεν υποφέρω πιά trela tha m’ erthi, den ipofero pia Craziness will come to me, I can't suffer any more!
Αχ θα σε κλέψω μέσα στην Αραπιά ah tha se klepso mesa stin Arapia Oh, I will kidnap you from inside Arabia! (4)
     
αμάν Μισιρλού aman Misirlou Oh my, Egyptian girl!
     
τρέλα θα μ’ έρθη, δεν υποφέρω πιά trela tha m’ erthi, den ipofero pia Craziness will come to me, I can't suffer any more!
Αχ θα σε κλέψω μέσα στην Αραπιά ah tha se klepso mesa stin Arapia Oh, I will kidnap you from inside Arabia!
     
Μαυρομάτα Μισιρλού μου τρελή mavromata Misirlou mou treli My crazy black-eyed Egyptian
Τι ζωή μου αλλάζω μ' ένα φιλί ti zoi mou allazo m’ ena fili my life I change with one kiss
     
Αχ Για χαμπίμπι μ' ένα φιλάκι αχ ah ya habibi m’ ena filaki ah Oh my love, with one kiss, oh,
απ' το δικό σου το στοματάκι, αμάν ap’to diko sou to stomataki, aman from your mouth, oh my!
     
αμάν Μισιρλού aman Misirlou Oh my, Egyptian girl!
     
τρέλα θα μ’ έρθη, δεν υποφέρω πιά trela tha m’ erthi, den ipofero pia Craziness will come to me, I can't suffer any more!
Αχ θα σε κλέψω μέσα στην Αραπιά ah tha se klepso mesa stin Arapia Oh, I will kidnap you from inside Arabia!
     
αμάν Μισιρλού aman Misirlou Oh my, Egyptian girl!
     
τρέλα θα μ’ έρθη, δεν υποφέρω πιά trela tha m’ erthi, den ipofero pia Craziness will come to me, I can't suffer any more!
Αχ θα σε κλέψω μέσα στην Αραπιά ah tha se klepso mesa stin Arapia Oh, I will kidnap you from inside Arabia!
     
αμάν Μισιρλού aman Misirlou Oh my, Egyptian girl!
  1. "Ya habibi" is an Arabic expression for "oh my love" or “oh my darling”.
  2. In Arabic, "leleli" is derived from the word "leil" for "night", but Arabic-speaking singers often improvise using the syllables "leleli" in the same way an English-language song might use nonsense syllables such as "tra la la".
  3. “Aman” is an exclamation that can mean “Oh!” or "Oh my!"
  4. Many of the old songs use the word "Arapia" and its variants liberally. The lyrics generally use it to refer to Arabic-speaking, Romany, or Indian women. Unfortunately, in the modern Greek language, the term "Arapis" has become an offensive racial slur for people with dark skin. Although this newer definition now exists, it did not mean this when the lyrics were written. When newer generations listen to these older songs today, they realize the lyrics are referring to an innocent use of the word, and can enjoy the music in the way it was intended.

 

Michalis (Mike) Patrinos' Version, 1930

Numbers in parentheses refer to footnotes that appear at the bottom of the translation. This version is sung with an accent from Smyrna (where modern-day Izmir, Turkey is), so the pronunciation guide below shows how it's pronounced in this version.

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Μουσουρλού μου η γλυκιά σου η ματιά Mousourlou mou ee glikia sou ee matia My Egyptian girl, your sweet gaze!
φλόγα μ' άναψε μικράκι μου, φωτιά floga m’ anapse mikraki mou, fotia A flame you lit my young one, a fire!
Άιντε, για χαμπίμπι, άιντε για λελέλι ωωω aide, ya habibi, aide ya leleli oh Come on, my love (1), come on leleli (2), oh
άιντε, να σε κλέψω μέσα από την Αραπιά tha se klepso mesa stin Arapia Come on, I will kidnap you from within Arabia! (3)
     
Ωωωωωω, Μουσουρλού Ohhhhh Mousourlou Ohhhhh Egyptian girl!
     
Τρέλα θα μου 'ρθει, δεν υποφέρω πια trela tha mou ‘rthi, den ipofero pia Craziness will come to me, I can’t suffer any more!
άιντε αν δεν σε πάρω, πω πω, θα τρελαθώ aide an den se paro, po po, tha trelatho Come on, if I don’t come take you, oh oh, I will go crazy!
     
Μουσουρλού μου η γλυκιά σου η ματιά Mousourlou mou ee glikia sou ee matia My Egyptian girl, your sweet gaze!
φλόγα μ' άναψε, μες στην καρδιά floga m’ anapse, mess tin kardia A flame you lit, in my heart!
Άιντε, για χαμπίμπι, άιντε για λελέλι ωωω aide, ya habibi, aide ya leleli oh Come on, oh my love, come on leleli, oh!
μέλι στάζει’ν από τα χείλη, ωχ meli stazi’n apo ta hili, oh Honey is dripping from lips, oh!
     
Ωωωωωω, Μουσουρλού Ohhhhh Mousourlou Ohhhhh Egyptian girl!
     
Αν δεν σε πάρω, φως μου, θα τρελαθώ an den se paro, fos mou, tha trelatho If I don’t take you, my light, I will go crazy!
άιντε, να σε κλέψω μέσα από την Αραπιά tha se klepso mesa stin Arapia Come on, I will kidnap you from within Arabia!
     
Μουσουρλού μου η γλυκιά σου η ματιά Mousourlou mou ee glikia sou ee matia My Egyptian girl, your sweet gaze!
φλόγα μ' άναψε στο στόμα μου, φωτιά floga m’ anapse sto stoma mou, fotia a flame you lit in my mouth, a fire
Άιντε, για χαμπίμπι, άιντε για λελέλι ωωω aide, ya habibi, aide ya leleli oh Come on, my love, come on leleli, oh
άιντε αν δεν σε πάρω, πω πω, θα τρελαθώ aide an den se paro, po po, tha trelatho Come on, if I don’t come take you, oh oh, I will go crazy!
     
Ωωωωωω, Μουσουρλού Ohhhhh Mousourlou Ohhhhh Egyptian girl!
  1. "Ya habibi" is an Arabic expression for "oh my love" or “oh my darling”.
  2. In Arabic, "leleli" is derived from the word "leil" for "night", but Arabic-speaking singers often improvise using the syllables "leleli" in the same way an English-language song might use nonsense syllables such as "tra la la".
  3. Many of the old songs use the word "Arapia" and its variants liberally. The lyrics generally use it to refer to Arabic-speaking, Romany, or Indian women. Unfortunately, in the modern Greek language, the term "Arapis" has become an offensive racial slur for people with dark skin. Although this newer definition now exists, it did not mean this when the lyrics were written. When newer generations listen to these older songs today, they realize the lyrics are referring to an innocent use of the word, and can enjoy the music in the way it was intended.

 

Danai Stratigopoulou's Version, 1930

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

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Μισιρλού μου η γλυκιά σου η ματιά Misourlou mou ee glikia sou ee matia My Egyptian girl, your sweet gaze
φλόγα μου έχει ανάψει μέσ' την καρδιά floga mou ehi anapsi mes’ tin kardia lit a flame in my heart.
Αχ, για χαμπίμπι, αχ, για λελέλι αχ ah, ya habibi, ah ya leleli ah oh my love (1), oh leleli (2)
τα δυό σου χείλη στάζουνε μέλι αχ ta dio sou hili stazoune meli ah your two lips are dripping honey, oh!
     
Αχ Μισιρλού μαγική ξωτική ομορφιά ah Misirlou magiki xotiki omorfia Oh my Egyptian magical, exotic beauty
τρέλλα θα μ' έρθη, δεν υποφέρω πιά trella tha m’ erthi, den ipofero pia craziness will come to me, I can't suffer anymore
Αχ θα σε κλέψω μέσ' απ' την Αραπιά ax tha se klepso mes ap tin Arapia oh I will kidnap you from inside Arabia (3)
     
Instrumental Solo
Instrumental Solo
Instrumental Solo
     
Μαυρομάτα Μισιρλού μου τρελλή Mavromata Misirlou mou treli My crazy, black-eyed Egyptian,
η ζωή μου αλλάζει μ' ένα φιλί ee zoi mou allazi m’ ena fili my life is changed with one kiss.
Αχ Για χαμπίμπι μ' ένα φιλάκι αχ Ah ya habibi m’ ena filaki ah Oh, my love, with one kiss, oh!
απ' το δικό σου το στοματάκι αχ  ap’to diko sou to stomataki ah From your mouth, oh!
     
Αχ Μισιρλού μαγική ξωτική ομορφιά ah Misirlou magiki xotiki omorfia Oh my Egyptian magical, exotic beauty
τρέλλα θα μ' έρθη, δεν υποφέρω πιά trella tha m’ erthi, den ipofero pia craziness will come to me, I can't suffer anymore
Αχ θα σε κλέψω μέσ' απ' την Αραπιά ax tha se klepso mes ap tin Arapia oh I will kidnap you from inside Arabia (3)
     
Αχ Μισιρλού μαγική ξωτική ομορφιά ah Misirlou magiki xotiki omorfia Ah, my Egyptian magical, exotic beauty!
  1. "Ya habibi" is an Arabic expression for "oh my love" or “oh my darling”.
  2. In Arabic, "leleli" is derived from the word "leil" for "night", but Arabic-speaking singers often improvise using the syllables "leleli" in the same way an English-language song might use nonsense syllables such as "tra la la".
  3. Many of the old songs use the word "Arapia" and its variants liberally. The lyrics generally use it to refer to Arabic-speaking, Romany, or Indian women. Unfortunately, in the modern Greek language, the term "Arapis" has become an offensive racial slur for people with dark skin. Although this newer definition now exists, it did not mean this when the lyrics were written. When newer generations listen to these older songs today, they realize the lyrics are referring to an innocent use of the word, and can enjoy the music in the way it was intended.

 

Maria Karela's Version, 1941

Maria Karela recorded her version with the Spiros Stamos Orchestra.

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

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Μισιρλού μου η γλυκειά σου η ματιά Misirlou mou ee glikia sou ee matia My Egyptian girl, your sweet gaze!
φλόγα μ' έχει ανάψει μέσ' την καρδιά floga m’ ehi anapsi mes’ tin kardia You lit a flame in my heart.
Αχ, για χαμπίμπι, αχ, για λελέλι αχ ah, ya habibi, ah ya leleli ah Oh my love (1), oh leleli (2),
τα δυό σου χείλη στάζουνε μέλι ωϊμέ ta dio sou hili stazoune meli oime your two lips are dripping honey, oh my! (3)
     
Μαυρομάτα Μισιρλού μου τρελλή mavromata Misirlou mou trellis My crazy black eyed Egyptian,
η ζωή μου αλλάζει μ' ένα φιλί ee zoi mou allazi m’ ena fili my life is changed with one kiss
Αχ Για χαμπίμπι μ' ένα φιλάκι αχ ah ya habibi m’ ena filaki ax oh my love with one kiss oh!
απ' το δικό σου το στοματάκι ωϊμέ ap’to diko sou to stomataki oime from your mouth, oh my!
     
Ααααααχχχχ, λωωωω, Μισιρλού Aaaaahhhhh, looooo, Misirlou Aaaaahhhhh, my Egyptian girl!
     
τρέλα θα μ’ έρθη, δεν υποφέρω πιά trela tha m’ erthi, den ipofero pia Craziness will come to me, I can't suffer any more!
Αχ θα σε κλέψω μέσα στην Αραπιά ah tha se klepso mesa stin Arapia Oh, I will kidnap you from inside Arabia!
     
Ααααααχχχχ, ωωωω, Μισιρλού Aaaaahhhhh, ooooo, Misirlou Aaaaahhhhh, my Egyptian girl!
     
τρέλα θα μ’ έρθη, δεν υποφέρω πιά trela tha m’ erthi, den ipofero pia Craziness will come to me, I can't suffer any more!
Αχ θα σε κλέψω μέσα στην Αραπιά ah tha se klepso mesa stin Arapia Oh, I will kidnap you from inside Arabia!
     
Ααααααχχχχ, αααααχχχχ, Μισιρλού Aaaaahhhhh, aaaahhhhh, Misirlou Aaaaahhhhh, aaaahhhhh, my Egyptian girl!
  1. "Ya habibi" is an Arabic expression for "oh my love" or “oh my darling”
  2. In Arabic, "leleli" is derived from the word "leil" for "night", but Arabic-speaking singers often improvise using the syllables "leleli" in the same way an English-language song might use nonsense syllables such as "tra la la".
  3. "Oime" is an ancient Greek word of expression, similar to "Oh my!"

 

Sofia Vembo's Version, 1947

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

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Μισιρλού μου η γλυκειά σου η ματιά Misirlou mou ee glikia sou ee matia My Egyptian girl, your sweet gaze
φλόγα μ' έχει ανάψει μέσ' την καρδιά floga m’ ehi anapsi mes’ tin kardia lit a flame in my heart!
Αχ, για χαμπίμπι, αχ, για λελέλι αχ ah, ya habibi, ah ya leleli ah Oh my love (1), oh leleli (2),
τα δυό σου χείλη στάζουνε μέλι ωϊμέ ta dio sou hili stazoune meli oime your two lips are dripping honey, oh my! (3)
     
Αχ Μισιρλού μαγική ξωτική ομορφιά ah Misirlou magiki xotiki omorfia Ah my Egyptian magical, exotic beauty
τρέλλα θα μ' έρθη, δεν υποφέρω πιά trella tha m’ erthi, den ipofero pia craziness will come to me, I can't suffer anymore
Αχ θα σε κλέψω μέσ' απ' την Αραπιά ax tha se klepso mes ap tin Arapia Ah I will kidnap you from inside Arabia (4)
Αχ Μισιρλού μαγική ξωτική ομορφιά ah Misirlou magiki xotiki omorfia Ah my Egyptian magical, exotic beauty
τρέλλα θα μ' έρθη, δεν υποφέρω πιά trella tha m’ erthi, den ipofero pia craziness will come to me, I can't suffer anymore
Αχ θα σε κλέψω μέσ' απ' την Αραπιά ax tha se klepso mes ap tin Arapia Ah I will kidnap you from inside Arabia
     
Μαυρομάτα Μισιρλού μου τρελλή mavromata Misirlou mou trellis My crazy black-eyed Egyptian,
η ζωή μου αλλάζει μ' ένα φιλί ee zoi mou allazi m’ ena fili my life is changed with one kiss.
Αχ Για χαμπίμπι μ' ένα φιλάκι αχ ah ya habibi m’ ena filaki ax Ah my love, with one kiss, ah,
απ' το δικό σου το στοματάκι ωϊμέ ap’to diko sou to stomataki oime from your mouth, oh my!
     
Αχ Μισιρλού μαγική ξωτική ομορφιά ah Misirlou magiki xotiki omorfia Ah my Egyptian magical, exotic beauty
τρέλλα θα μ' έρθη, δεν υποφέρω πιά trella tha m’ erthi, den ipofero pia craziness will come to me, I can't suffer anymore
Αχ θα σε κλέψω μέσ' απ' την Αραπιά ax tha se klepso mes ap tin Arapia ah I will kidnap you from inside Arabia
Αχ Μισιρλού μαγική ξωτική ομορφιά ah Misirlou magiki xotiki omorfia Ah my Egyptian magical, exotic beauty
τρέλλα θα μ' έρθη, δεν υποφέρω πιά trella tha m’ erthi, den ipofero pia craziness will come to me, I can't suffer anymore
Αχ θα σε κλέψω μέσ' απ' την Αραπιά ax tha se klepso mes ap tin Arapia ah I will kidnap you from inside Arabia
  1. "Ya habibi" is an Arabic expression for "oh my love" or “oh my darling”
  2. In Arabic, "leleli" is derived from the word "leil" for "night", but Arabic-speaking singers often improvise using the syllables "leleli" in the same way an English-language song might use nonsense syllables such as "tra la la".
  3. "Oime" is an ancient Greek word of expression, similar to "Oh my!"
  4. Many of the old songs use the word "Arapia" and its variants liberally. The lyrics generally use it to refer to Arabic-speaking, Romany, or Indian women. Unfortunately, in the modern Greek language, the term "Arapis" has become an offensive racial slur for people with dark skin. Although this newer definition now exists, it did not mean this when the lyrics were written. When newer generations listen to these older songs today, they realize the lyrics are referring to an innocent use of the word, and can enjoy the music in the way it was intended.

 

Manolis Aggelopoulos' Version, 1976

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

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Μισιρλού μου η γλυκειά σου η ματιά Misirlou mou ee glikia sou ee matia My Egyptian girl, your sweet gaze
φλόγα μ' έχει ανάψει μέσ' την καρδιά floga m’ ehi anapsi mes’ tin kardia lit a flame in my heart!
Αχ, για χαμπίμπι, αχ, για λελέλι αχ ah, ya habibi, ah ya leleli ah Oh my love (1), oh leleli (2),
τα δυό σου χείλη στάζουνε μέλι ωϊμέ ta dio sou hili stazoune meli oime your two lips are dripping honey, oh my! (3)
     
Αχ Μισιρλού μαγική ξωτική ομορφιά ah Misirlou magiki xotiki omorfia Oh my Egyptian magical, exotic beauty
τρέλλα θα μ' έρθη, δεν υποφέρω πιά trella tha m’ erthi, den ipofero pia craziness will come to me, I can't suffer anymore
Αχ θα σε κλέψω μέσ' απ' την Αραπιά ax tha se klepso mes ap tin Arapia oh I will kidnap you from inside Arabia (4)
Αχ Μισιρλού μαγική ξωτική ομορφιά ah Misirlou magiki xotiki omorfia Oh my Egyptian magical, exotic beauty
τρέλλα θα μ' έρθη, δεν υποφέρω πιά trella tha m’ erthi, den ipofero pia craziness will come to me, I can't suffer anymore
Αχ θα σε κλέψω μέσ' απ' την Αραπιά ax tha se klepso mes ap tin Arapia oh I will kidnap you from inside Arabia (4)
     
Μαυρομάτα Μισιρλού μου τρελλή mavromata Misirlou mou trellis My crazy black-eyed Egyptian,
η ζωή μου αλλάζει μ' ένα φιλί ee zoi mou allazi m’ ena fili my life is changed with one kiss.
Αχ Για χαμπίμπι μ' ένα φιλάκι αχ ah ya habibi m’ ena filaki ax Oh my love, with one kiss, oh,
απ' το δικό σου το στοματάκι ωϊμέ ap’to diko sou to stomataki oime from your mouth, oh my!
     
Αχ Μισιρλού μαγική ξωτική ομορφιά ah Misirlou magiki xotiki omorfia Oh my Egyptian magical, exotic beauty
τρέλλα θα μ' έρθη, δεν υποφέρω πιά trella tha m’ erthi, den ipofero pia craziness will come to me, I can't suffer anymore
Αχ θα σε κλέψω μέσ' απ' την Αραπιά ax tha se klepso mes ap tin Arapia oh I will kidnap you from inside Arabia (4)
Αχ Μισιρλού μαγική ξωτική ομορφιά ah Misirlou magiki xotiki omorfia Oh my Egyptian magical, exotic beauty
τρέλλα θα μ' έρθη, δεν υποφέρω πιά trella tha m’ erthi, den ipofero pia craziness will come to me, I can't suffer anymore
Αχ θα σε κλέψω μέσ' απ' την Αραπιά ax tha se klepso mes ap tin Arapia oh I will kidnap you from inside Arabia (4)
     
Αχ Μισιρλού μαγική ξωτική ομορφιά Ah Misirlou magiki xotiki omorfia Ah, my Egypitan magical, exotic beauty!
  1. "Ya habibi" is an Arabic expression for "oh my love" or “oh my darling”
  2. In Arabic, "leleli" is derived from the word "leil" for "night", but Arabic-speaking singers often improvise using the syllables "leleli" in the same way an English-language song might use nonsense syllables such as "tra la la".
  3. "Oime" is an ancient Greek word of expression, similar to "Oh my!"
  4. Many of the old songs use the word "Arapia" and its variants liberally. The lyrics generally use it to refer to Arabic-speaking, Romany, or Indian women. Unfortunately, in the modern Greek language, the term "Arapis" has become an offensive racial slur for people with dark skin. Although this newer definition now exists, it did not mean this when the lyrics were written. When newer generations listen to these older songs today, they realize the lyrics are referring to an innocent use of the word, and can enjoy the music in the way it was intended.

 

Glykeria Kotsoula

It's uncertain what year Glykeria released this. Her recording career began in 1978, and as of 2016 she is still active.

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

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Μισιρλού μου η γλυκειά σου η ματιά Misirlou mou ee glikia sou ee matia My Egyptian girl, your sweet gaze
φλόγα μ' έχει ανάψει μέσ' την καρδιά floga m’ ehi anapsi mes’ tin kardia lit a flame in my heart!
Αχ, για χαμπίμπι, αχ, για λελέλι ωω ah, ya habibi, ah ya leleli oo Ah my love (1), ah leleli (2), oo,
τα δυό σου χείλη στάζουνε μέλι ωω ta dio sou hili stazoune meli oo your two lips are dripping honey, oo!
     
Αχ Μισιρλού μαγική ξωτική ομορφιά ah Misirlou magiki xotiki omorfia Oh my Egyptian magical, exotic beauty,
τρέλλα θα μ' έρθη, δεν υποφέρω πιά trella tha m’ erthi, den ipofero pia craziness will come to me, I can't suffer anymore
Αχ θα σε κλέψω μέσ' απ' την Αραπιά ax tha se klepso mes ap tin Arapia oh I will kidnap you from inside Arabia (3)
Αχ Μισιρλού μαγική ξωτική ομορφιά ah Misirlou magiki xotiki omorfia Oh my Egyptian magical, exotic beauty,
τρέλλα θα μ' έρθη, δεν υποφέρω πιά trella tha m’ erthi, den ipofero pia craziness will come to me, I can't suffer anymore
Αχ θα σε κλέψω μέσ' απ' την Αραπιά ax tha se klepso mes ap tin Arapia oh I will kidnap you from inside Arabia (3)
     
Μαυρομάτα Μισιρλού μου τρελλή mavromata Misirlou mou trellis My crazy black-eyed Egyptian,
η ζωή μου αλλάζει μ' ένα φιλί ee zoi mou allazi m’ ena fili my life is changed with one kiss.
Αχ Για χαμπίμπι μ' ένα φιλάκι αχ ah ya habibi m’ ena filaki ax Oh my love, with one kiss, oh,
απ' το δικό σου το στοματάκι ωω ap’to diko sou to stomataki oo from your mouth, oo!
     
Αχ Μισιρλού μαγική ξωτική ομορφιά ah Misirlou magiki xotiki omorfia Oh my Egyptian magical, exotic beauty,
τρέλλα θα μ' έρθη, δεν υποφέρω πιά trella tha m’ erthi, den ipofero pia craziness will come to me, I can't suffer anymore
Αχ θα σε κλέψω μέσ' απ' την Αραπιά ax tha se klepso mes ap tin Arapia oh I will kidnap you from inside Arabia (3)
     
Μισιρλού μου η γλυκειά σου η ματιά Misirlou mou ee glikia sou ee matia My Egyptian girl, your sweet gaze
φλόγα μ' έχει ανάψει μέσ' την καρδιά floga m’ ehi anapsi mes’ tin kardia lit a flame in my heart!
Αχ, για χαμπίμπι, αχ, για λελέλι ωω ah, ya habibi, ah ya leleli oo Ah my love, ah leleli, oo,
τα δυό σου χείλη στάζουνε μέλι ωω ta dio sou hili stazoune meli oo your two lips are dripping honey, oo!
     
Αχ Μισιρλού μαγική ξωτική ομορφιά ah Misirlou magiki xotiki omorfia Oh my Egyptian magical, exotic beauty,
τρέλλα θα μ' έρθη, δεν υποφέρω πιά trella tha m’ erthi, den ipofero pia craziness will come to me, I can't suffer anymore
Αχ θα σε κλέψω μέσ' απ' την Αραπιά ax tha se klepso mes ap tin Arapia oh I will kidnap you from inside Arabia.
  1. "Ya habibi" is an Arabic expression for "oh my love" or “oh my darling”
  2. In Arabic, "leleli" is derived from the word "leil" for "night", but Arabic-speaking singers often improvise using the syllables "leleli" in the same way an English-language song might use nonsense syllables such as "tra la la".
  3. Many of the old songs use the word "Arapia" and its variants liberally. The lyrics generally use it to refer to Arabic-speaking, Romany, or Indian women. Unfortunately, in the modern Greek language, the term "Arapis" has become an offensive racial slur for people with dark skin. Although this newer definition now exists, it did not mean this when the lyrics were written. When newer generations listen to these older songs today, they realize the lyrics are referring to an innocent use of the word, and can enjoy the music in the way it was intended.

 

Maria Konstantinidou-Stamatiou's Version

Some have referred to Maria Konstantinidou-Stamatiou as "the Tina Turner of Greece". She was one of the last original rebetises (rebetiko singers). Numbers in parentheses refer to footnotes that appear at the bottom of the translation.

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Μισιρλού μου η γλυκειά σου η ματιά Misirlou mou ee glikia sou ee matia My Egyptian girl, your sweet gaze
φλόγα μ' έχει ανάψει μέσ' την καρδιά floga m’ ehi anapsi mes’ tin kardia lit a flame in my heart!
Αχ, για χαμπίμπι, αχ, για λελέλι αχ ah, ya habibi, ah ya leleli ah Oh my love (1), oh leleli (2),
τα δυό σου χείλη στάζουνε μέλι ωϊμέ ta dio sou hili stazoune meli oime your two lips are dripping honey, oh my! (3)
     
Αχ Μισιρλού μαγική ξωτική ομορφιά ah Misirlou magiki xotiki omorfia Ah my Egyptian magical, exotic beauty
τρέλλα θα μ' έρθη, δεν υποφέρω πιά trella tha m’ erthi, den ipofero pia craziness will come to me, I can't suffer anymore
Αχ θα σε κλέψω μέσ' απ' την Αραπιά ax tha se klepso mes ap tin Arapia Ah I will kidnap you from inside Arabia (4)
Αχ Μισιρλού μαγική ξωτική ομορφιά ah Misirlou magiki xotiki omorfia Ah my Egyptian magical, exotic beauty
τρέλλα θα μ' έρθη, δεν υποφέρω πιά trella tha m’ erthi, den ipofero pia craziness will come to me, I can't suffer anymore
Αχ θα σε κλέψω μέσ' απ' την Αραπιά ax tha se klepso mes ap tin Arapia Ah I will kidnap you from inside Arabia
     
Μαυρομάτα Μισιρλού μου τρελλή mavromata Misirlou mou trellis My crazy black-eyed Egyptian,
η ζωή μου αλλάζει μ' ένα φιλί ee zoi mou allazi m’ ena fili my life is changed with one kiss.
Αχ Για χαμπίμπι μ' ένα φιλάκι αχ ah ya habibi m’ ena filaki ax Ah my love, with one kiss, ah,
απ' το δικό σου το στοματάκι ωϊμέ ap’to diko sou to stomataki oime from your mouth, oh my!
     
Αχ Μισιρλού μαγική ξωτική ομορφιά ah Misirlou magiki xotiki omorfia Ah my Egyptian magical, exotic beauty
τρέλλα θα μ' έρθη, δεν υποφέρω πιά trella tha m’ erthi, den ipofero pia craziness will come to me, I can't suffer anymore
Αχ θα σε κλέψω μέσ' απ' την Αραπιά ax tha se klepso mes ap tin Arapia Ah I will kidnap you from inside Arabia (4)
Αχ Μισιρλού μαγική ξωτική ομορφιά ah Misirlou magiki xotiki omorfia Ah my Egyptian magical, exotic beauty!
τρέλλα θα μ' έρθη, δεν υποφέρω πιά trella tha m’ erthi, den ipofero pia Craziness will come to me, I can't suffer anymore.
Αχ θα σε κλέψω μέσ' απ' την Αραπιά ax tha se klepso mes ap tin Arapia Ah, I will kidnap you from inside Arabia.
     
Αχ Μισιρλού μαγική ξωτική ομορφιά ah Misirlou magiki xotiki omorfia Ah my Egyptian magical, exotic beauty!
  1. "Ya habibi" is an Arabic expression for "oh my love" or “oh my darling”
  2. In Arabic, "leleli" is derived from the word "leil" for "night", but Arabic-speaking singers often improvise using the syllables "leleli" in the same way an English-language song might use nonsense syllables such as "tra la la".
  3. "Oime" is an ancient Greek word of expression, similar to "Oh my!"
  4. Many of the old songs use the word "Arapia" and its variants liberally. The lyrics generally use it to refer to Arabic-speaking, Romany, or Indian women. Unfortunately, in the modern Greek language, the term "Arapis" has become an offensive racial slur for people with dark skin. Although this newer definition now exists, it did not mean this when the lyrics were written. When newer generations listen to these older songs today, they realize the lyrics are referring to an innocent use of the word, and can enjoy the music in the way it was intended.

 

Dario Moreno's Version (Sung in French)

French Lyrics

English Translation

Misirlou, ton doux regard
Egyptian girl, your sweet gaze
A allumé une flamme dans mon cœur,
Lights a flame in my heart
akh yakhabibi, akh ya leleli, akh,
oh my love (1), oh leleli (2)
Tes lèvres de miel, oime! Your sweet lips, oh my! (3)
   
Ah! Misirlou, beauté magique et enchanteresse Ah! Egyptian girl, magical beauty and enchantress
Je deviens fou, je ne peux plus souffrir
I'm becoming crazy, I can't suffer any more
Ah! Je vais te voler à l'Arabie
Ah! I'm going to steal you from within Arabia.
   
Ma Misirlou aux yeux noirs
My Egyptian girl with the black eyes
Un seul de tes baisés allume une flamme en moi Just one of your kisses lights a fire in me
akh yakhabibi, un petit baisé
de tes lèvres douces, oime!
Ah, my love, one little kiss from your lips, oh my!
   
Ah! Misirlou, beauté magique et enchanteresse Ah! Egyptian girl, magical beauty and enchantress
Je deviens fou, je ne peux plus souffrir
I'm becoming crazy, I can't suffer any more
Ah! Je vais te voler à l'Arabie Ah! I'm going to steal you from within Arabia.
  1. "Ya habibi" is an Arabic expression for "oh my love" or “oh my darling”
  2. In Arabic, "leleli" is derived from the word "leil" for "night", but Arabic-speaking singers often improvise using the syllables "leleli" in the same way an English-language song might use nonsense syllables such as "tra la la".
  3. "Oime" is an ancient Greek word of expression, similar to "Oh my!"

 

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Where to Get Recordings of this Song

Sounds from Around the World: Greece

Note

Listen to Clip

Artist: Sandler & Young
CD Title: Sounds from Around the World: Greece

Saroyan Sings Cairo

Note

Listen to Clip

Artist: Harry Saroyan
CD Title: Saroyan Sings Cairo

 

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Related Articles

 

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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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