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

Ούζο όταν πιεις
(Ouzo Otan Peeis)

(When You Drink Ouzo)

 

This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to the popular Greek song "Ouzo Otan Peeis Diki Mou ine ee Ellas" (Ούζο όταν πιεις Δική μου είναι η Ελλάς), which was sung by Haris Alexiou. Also included is a pronunciation guide for the Greek lyrics so you can sing along if you like.

Advice from the translator on using this song in a dance performance:

This beautiful song's lyrics talk about Greece. This song is very popular, and may be used for Greek Independence Day month. However, please respectfully use caution if using a Greek flag as a prop for any celebration. The Greek flag is extremely meaningful to Greek people and must be respected. There is a cross on the upper left section. If you enter holding a stick with the Greek flag attached, please mindfully set the flag down in a respectful place such as a table top after you have finished waving it. Please avoid accidentally stepping on the flag, throwing it, or sitting on it. I don't recommend using a Greek flag as a veil. If you follow these recommendations you won’t offend your clients!

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.

Haris Alexiou was born in 1950 in Greece. She became successful as a rebetiko singer in the 1970's, and today is considered one of the most popular vocalists in Greece. She has recorded more than 30 albums of her own, and more than 20 of those have achieved either gold or platinum status.

Haris Alexiou

Song: Ouzo Otan Peeis (Diki Mou Ine ee Ellas) – When You Drink Ouzo (Ellas is Mine), 1977

Lyrics: Emilios Savvidis (Savaim, Bosporinos)

Music: Sosos Ioavvidis (Psuriotis)

Original Artist: Haris Alexiou

Τραγουδι: Ούζο όταν πιεις (Δική μου είναι η Ελλάς), 1977

Στίχοι: Αιμίλιος Σαββίδης (Σαβαίμ, Βοσπορινός)

Μουσική: Σώσος Ιωαννίδης (Ψυριώτης)

Πρώτη εκτέλεση: Χάρις Αλεξίου

 

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Lyrics

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

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Από το βράδυ ως το πρωί apo to vradi os to proi From the night till morning
δική μου είναι η ζωή diki mou ine I zoi my life is mine
κι όλο το κόσμο κατακτώ ke olo to kosmo katakto and the whole world I conquer
φίνο ουζάκι σαν ρουφώ fino ouzaki san roufo as I sip (1) the perfect ouzo (2).
     
Όλος ο κόσμος είναι θύμα μου olos o kosmos ine thima mou The whole world is my victim
σαν έχω ούζο και μεθάω. san eho ouzo ke methao. when I have ouzo and get drunk.
κι οι πολισμάνοι όταν θα με δουν ke ee politsmani otan tha me doun And, when policemen see me,
μελάνι αμολάω melani amolao I leave as fast as possible. (3)
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

Ούζο όταν πιεις ouzo otan pies When you drink ouzo
γίνεσαι ευθύς ginese efthis you become direct/honest,
βασιλιάς, δικτάτορας, Θεός και κοσμοκράτορας vasilias, diktatoras, Theos ke kosmokratoras king, dictator, God and lord of the world.
σαν το καλοπιείς san to kalopies As you enjoy your drink,
βρε θα ευφρανθείς vre tha efranthis you will get high,
κι όλα πια στο κόσμο ρόδινα θε να τα δεις ki ola pia sto kosmo rodina theh na ta dis and at this point everything in the world will seem perfect.
     
Δική μου είναι η Ελλάς diki mou ine ee Ellas Greece (4) is mine,
που στη κατάντια της γελάς pou stin katantia tis gelas and due to her condition you laugh.
της λείπει το ένα της ποδάρι tis lipi to ena tis podari One leg of hers is missing,
που της το παίξανε στο ζάρι pou tis to pexane sto zari lost in a game of dice. (5)
     
Εγώ θα γίνω παντοκράτορας ego tha gino pantokratoras I will become the almighty,
κι ο κόσμος στάχτη αν θα γίνει ke o kosmos stahti an tha gini and the world will become ashes.
ο ένας θα μ' ανάβει το σεβντά o enas tha m’anavi to sevda One will ignite my longing
κι ο άλλος θα το σβήνει ke o alos tha to svini and the other will extinguish it.
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

Ούζο όταν πιεις ouzo otan pies When you drink ouzo
γίνεσαι ευθύς ginese efthis you become direct/honest,
βασιλιάς, δικτάτορας, Θεός και κοσμοκράτορας vasilias, diktatoras, Theos ke kosmokratoras king, dictator, God and lord of the world.
σαν το καλοπιείς san to kalopies As you enjoy your drink,
βρε θα ευφρανθείς vre tha efranthis you will get high,
κι όλα πια στο κόσμο ρόδινα θε να τα δεις ki ola pia sto kosmo rodina theh na ta dis and at this point everything in the world will seem perfect.
     
Εγώ θα γίνω παντοκράτορας ego tha gino pantokratoras I will become the almighty,
κι ο κόσμος στάχτη αν θα γίνει ke o kosmos stahti an tha gini and the world will become ashes.
ο ένας θα μ' ανάβει το σεβντά o enas tha m’anavi to sevda One will ignite my longing
κι ο άλλος θα το σβήνει ke o alos tha to svini and the other will extinguish it.
  1. The word "roufo" translates to "suck", but that's not the intended meaning in this context.
  2. "Ouzo" is a Greek anise-flavored liqueur (strong alcoholic beverage). It can be drunk straight, or over ice.
  3. This is a slang expression. Literally, "melani" translates to "ink" and "amolao" means "let go".
  4. The word in the lyrics is actually "Hellas". "Hellas" or "Hellada" is the way people refer to Greece in the Greek language. "Hellines" means "Greek man". "Hellinida" is female. The word "Greece" is the English word to describe Hellas. If you want to impress a Hellene (Greek person), refer to them using the above words.
  5. This means they bet on the country, and as a result it is missing a leg. I.e., they took part of Hellas.

 

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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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