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

Οταν χορεύεις μάτια μου
(Otan Horevis Matia Mou)

(When You Are Dancing, My Eyes!)

 

 

This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to the popular Greek song "Otan Horevis Matia Mou" (Οταν χορεύεις μάτια μου), which was sung by Manolis Aggelopoulos. 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.

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 Manolis 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 he was a superstar. His funeral in 1989 was massive, and people cried for 3 days.

Manolis Aggelopolous

About Christos Nikolopoulos

According to imdb.com, Christos Nikolopoulos (Χρήστος Νικολόπουλος) was born on July 11, 1947 in Kamohori, Imathia, Greece. His first taste of learning to play music as a child came when his cousin showed him how to play a few things on the accordion. Later, he borrowed his older brother's bouzouki and learned to play that. Eventually, he attended music school, learning to read music and play by ear.

To help out his family financially, Nikolopoulos began to play professionally at the age of 14 years old. At age 16, he relocated to Athens to advance his musical career, often playing for just a meal. In 1968, his compositions came to the attention of famous singer Marinella. She introduced his songs to her ex-husband Stelios Kazantzidis. These connections helped Nikolopoulos achieve his first major hit song as a composer, "Νυχτερίδες κι αράχνες" ("Bats and Spiders"). He went on to compose many songs which have become part of Greece's cultural legacy.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: Christos Nikolopoulos plays his bouzouki.

Christos Nikolopoulos

Song: Otan Horevis Matia Mou (When You Are Dancing, My Eyes!), 1986

Lyrics: Lefteris Hapsiadis

Music: Hristos Nikolopoulos

Original Artist: Manolis Aggelopoulos

Dance Style: Belly Dance

Album: Tragoudia Ya Tous Filous Mou (Songs for My Friends)

Τραγούδι: Οταν χορεύεις μάτια μου, 1986

Στίχοι: Λευτέρης Χαψιάδης

Μουσική: Χρήστος Νικολόπουλος

Πρώτη Εκτέλεση: Μανώλης Αγγελόπουλος

Χορός: Οριεντάλ, Χορό Της Κοιλιάς, Ανατολίτικο Χορό, Τσιφτετέλι, Χανούμικο, Κελικός Χορός, Συρτος, Συρτοτσιφτετέλι

Άλμπουμ: Τραγούδια Για Τους Φίλους Μου

 

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Lyrics

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

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Ποιος σε έμαθε εντέλει pios se emathe endeli Who taught you after all
να χορεύεις τσιφτετέλι na horevis tsifteteli to dance tsifteteli? (1)
μήπως ήσουν στα Μπολσόι mipos isoun sta Bolsoi Maybe you were [a ballerina in] the Bolshoi (2)
μπαλαρίνα από σόι balarina apo soi from a family of ballet dancers. (3)
μήπως ήσουν στα Μπολσόι mipos isoun sta Bolsoi Maybe you were [a ballerina in] the Bolshoi (2)
μπαλαρίνα από σόι balarina apo soi from a family of ballet dancers. (3)
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

Όταν χορεύεις μάτια μου otan horevis matia mou When you are dancing, my eyes! (4)
ζηλεύουν οι γοργόνες zilevoun ee gorgones The mermaids are jealous.
κι απ' το χορό σου τρέμουνε στην πίστα οι κολώνες ke ap' to horo sou tremoune stin pista ee kolones And your dance is shaking the columns on the stage!
Όταν χορεύεις μάτια μου otan horevis matia mou When you are dancing, my eyes! (4)
ζηλεύουν οι γοργόνες zilevoun ee gorgones The mermaids are jealous.
κι απ' το χορό σου τρέμουνε στην πίστα οι κολώνες ke ap' to horo sou tremoune stin pista ee kolones And your dance is shaking the columns on the stage!
     
Ποιος σου δίδαξε το τρόπο pios sou didaxe to tropo Who taught you the way
να ταρακουνάς τον τόπο na tarakounas ton topo to shake up the world? (5)
μήπως πήρες το πτυχίο mipos pires to ptihio Maybe you got your diploma
στου Νουρέγιεφ το σχολείο stou Noureyief to sholio at Nureyev school! (6)
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

Όταν χορεύεις μάτια μου otan horevis matia mou When you are dancing, my eyes! (4)
ζηλεύουν οι γοργόνες zilevoun ee gorgones The mermaids are jealous.
κι απ' το χορό σου τρέμουνε στην πίστα οι κολώνες ke ap' to horo sou tremoune stin pista ee kolones And your dance is shaking the columns on the stage!
Όταν χορεύεις μάτια μου otan horevis matia mou When you are dancing, my eyes! (4)
ζηλεύουν οι γοργόνες zilevoun ee gorgones The mermaids are jealous.
κι απ' το χορό σου τρέμουνε στην πίστα οι κολώνες ke ap' to horo sou tremoune stin pista ee kolones And your dance is shaking the columns on the stage!
     
Κι ο Αλέν Ντελόν ακόμα ke o Alen Delon akoma And even Alain Delon (7)
θα ποθούσε τέτοιο σώμα tha pothouse tetio soma would lust for such a body!
κι άμα ζούσε ο Βαλεντίνο k ama zouse o Valentino And if Valentino (8) were alive
θα τον τρέλαινες κι εκείνο tha ton trelenes ke ekino you would have made him crazy as well!
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

Όταν χορεύεις μάτια μου otan horevis matia mou When you are dancing, my eyes! (4)
ζηλεύουν οι γοργόνες zilevoun ee gorgones The mermaids are jealous.
κι απ' το χορό σου τρέμουνε στην πίστα οι κολώνες ke ap' to horo sou tremoune stin pista ee kolones And your dance is shaking the columns on the stage!
Όταν χορεύεις μάτια μου otan horevis matia mou When you are dancing, my eyes! (4)
ζηλεύουν οι γοργόνες zilevoun ee gorgones The mermaids are jealous.
κι απ' το χορό σου τρέμουνε στην πίστα οι κολώνες ke ap' to horo sou tremoune stin pista ee kolones And your dance is shaking the columns on the stage!
  1. The word "tsifteteli" is one of the Greek words for belly dancing, and it also refers to a musical style that is appropriate to use for belly dancing.
  2. This is a comparison to a dancer of the Bolshoi ballet in Russia. This could be taken as either a compliment or as sarcasm.
  3. The Greek word "soi" means family and extended family.
  4. This is a term of endearment similar to the Arabic expression "Ya ayouni!" which means "O, my eyes!" It's an exclamation that means something like, "I'd give my eyes for you!"
  5. The word "topo" doesn't exactly mean "world", but here its meaning is similar. "Topo" can be region or area as well. Another way to translate it might be "shake up the place".
  6. Rudolph Nureyev was a famous Russian ballet dancer from the 1960's through the 1980's, often regarded as the greatest male ballet dancer of his generation.
  7. Alain Delon was a French movie star and sex symbol in the 1960's.
  8. This is a reference to Rudolph Valentino, an immensely popular actor of the 1920's, particularly known for his performance in the silent film The Sheik. He was known as "the great lover".

 

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Translations of
Manolis Aggelopoulos' Songs On This Site

Translations of songs performed by Manolis Aggelopoulos 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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