Filler
Photo of Shira

 

 

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

Σα Ξένα Είμαι Έλληνας
(Sa Xena Ime Ellinas)

(In Foreign Lands I'm a Greek)

 

 

This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to the Pontian song "Sa Xena Ime Ellinas" (Σα Ξένα Είμαι Έλληνας), which was sung by Stelios Kazantzidis. Another name people sometimes use for this song is "Patrida M Araevose" (Πατρίδα Μ Αραεύω Σε).

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 Pontus

This song's lyrics were created in the the Pontian Anatolian dialect of Greek, whose roots lie in the language of ancient Greece rather than the Modern Greek spoken in the country of Greece today. Pontian was the language spoken in Pontus. The Modern Greek language was never spoken in Pontus. In addition to having their own language, the majority of Pontian Anatolian Greeks (including my great-grandparents) were also fluent in Ottoman Turkish.

Pontus is a region within modern-day Turkey that lies on the south side of the Black Sea. Since ancient times, Pontus covered a large mountainous region, and possessed great wealth, including silver mining. The Turkish people call this region Karadeniz.

Historically, Pontus consisted of a primarily Hellenic (Greek) population, although some other ethnic groups lived there as well. Due to invasion in the 17th century, this primarily Greek region became part of the Ottoman empire and remained part of it until the fall of the Ottoman regime after World War I. The overthrow of the empire led to the forced mass exodus of millions of Anatolian Greeks and other Christians.

To this day, there are many crypto Christian Pontians. If you visit the region, you will encounter many who still speak the Pontian Anatolian Greek language!

About this Song

This traditional Pontian song is considered by many Greeks in the diaspora to be the national anthem for not only Pontians, but also all other Greek diasporans. This song has been recorded by countless Pontian singers, and it is always played at all Pontian Anatolian Greek gatherings. Stelios Kazantzidis also recorded a version in Modern Greek language. Translations for both the Pontian version and the Modern Greek version appear on this page.

Translator's Note

Although I am of Pontian Anatolian Greek heritage and grew up with the culture, arts and language, sadly I am not 100% fluent in the ancient Pontian Anatolian Greek language. I do, however, understand a lot, and I know our songs because I grew up with them. I like to ensure my translations are precise, so I collaborated with my Pontian Anatolian Greek mother, Evangelia Symeonidou-Bakis (Ευαγγελία Συμεωνίδου-Μπακη) to cross check, allowing me to provide you with the best accuracy!

About the Omal Dance Style

The dance style that is appropriate for this song is "omal", a folk dance that comes from Pontus. Both the rhythm and the dance done to it are called "omal".

Traditionally, this and other Pontian Anatolian Greek dances were done in a closed circle. Today, people dancing it often leave the circle open, though if the mood feels right, they still might close it.

Omal is danced at all kinds of occasions by both men and women where dancing would be appropriate. The mood of the dance is typically inspired by the mood of the song and its lyrics.

About Stelios Kazantzidis

The legendary Stelios Kazantzidis was born August 29, 1931 in Athens Greece, specifically Nea Ionia. He is among the most beloved musicians of our time. His music and words never get old. He was of Asia Minor and Pontian (Greek Anatolian) descent. Stelios or, as many love to call him, Stelara, was also loved due to his character and simplicity in life. Sadly, he did not make much profit from his career as he was taken advantage of.

Stelios' music is all about love, immigration, pain, refugee, and poverty as is most music of this time. He is considered one of the fathers of Laiko music. Stelara has touched many people's lives. He remained so humble and simple until cancer took his last breath in 2001.

“I sing for the poor, the immigrants and the suffering people… generally for the lower social classes. They can’t go to the expensive night clubs. They buy my discs and they regard them as their Gospels.” – Stelios Kazantzidis

Personal notes by the translator:

The music of Stelios Kazantzidis is very dear to my heart. My grandmother and grandfather were often referred to as the young Kazantzidis and Marinella, while singing at family gatherings. Marinella was Stelios' first wife, and his biggest love.

If you want to impress Greeks, you need to remember Stelios' name. As much as Princess Diana was loved, so was Stelios. People cry black tears to his music.

Stelios Kazantzidis

Song: Sa Xena Ime Ellinas (In Foreign Lands I'm A Greek), 1997

Also Known As: Patrida M Araevose (I'm Looking For My Country)

Lyrics: Hristos Andoniadis

Music: Kostas Siopis

Original Artist: Stelios Kazantzidis

Instrumentals on Kemence: Hristos Hrisanthopoulos

Dance Style: Omal

Τραγούδι: Σα Ξένα Είμαι Έλληνας (Πατρίδα Μ Αραεύω Σε), 1997

Στίχοι: Χρήστος Αντωνιάδης

Μουσική: Κώστας Σιώπης

Πρώτη Εκτέλεση: Στέλιος Καζαντζίδης

Κεμεντζέ/Λύρα: Χρήστος Χρυσανθόπουλος

Χορός: Ομάλ

 

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

Lyrics

The original language for this song was Pontic Greek, a dialect of Greek that was spoken in Pontus. For more background about Pontus, see my article "Musical Traditions of Pontus, the Black Sea Region of Present-Day Turkey".

 

Pontic Greek Language to English Version

Pontian Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Πέντε οσπίτεα έχτισα pende ospitia ehtisa I built five homes,
κι ας ολεα ξεσπιτούμαι ke as olea xespitoume and I've been evicted from all of them.
Πέντε οσπίτεα έχτισα pende ospitia ehtisa I built five homes,
κι ας ολεα ξεσπιτούμαι ke as olea xespitoume and I've been evicted from all of them.
     
Πρόσφυγας είμαι ασο κουνίμ Prosfigas ime aso kounim I've been a refugee since [the] days [I was] in my crib
Θεέμ θα παλαλλούμε The-em tha palaloume My God, I will go crazy.
Πρόσφυγας είμαι ασο κουνίμ Prosfigas ime aso kounim I've been a refugee since [the] days [I was] in my crib
Θεέμ θα παλαλλούμε The-em tha palaloume My God, I will go crazy.
     

Chorus #1

Chorus #1

Chorus #1

Πατρίδα μ αραεύω σε patrida m araevose se My country, I'm searching for you
άμον καταραμένος amon kataramenos like [someone who is cursed]. (1)
Πατρίδα μ αραεύω σε patrida m araevose se My country, I'm searching for you
άμον καταραμένος amon kataramenos like [someone who is cursed]. (1)
     

Chorus #2

Chorus #2

Chorus #2

Σα ξένα είμαι Έλληνας sa xena ime Ellinas In foreign lands I'm Greek,
και σην Ελλάδαν ξένος ke sin Elladan xenos and in Greece [I'm] a foreigner.
Σα ξένα είμαι Έλληνας sa xena ime Ellinas In foreign lands I'm Greek,
και σην Ελλάδαν ξένος ke sin Elladan xenos and in Greece [I'm] a foreigner.
     
Οσπίτεα εφέκα ανάμεσα ospitea efeka anamesa I left homes in between
σ ορμήν και ποταμάκρή s ormin ke potamakri the woods and rivers.
Οσπίτεα εφέκα ανάμεσα ospitea efeka anamesa I left homes in between
σ ορμήν και ποταμάκρή s ormin ke potamakri the woods and rivers.
     
Πεγάδεα μαρμαρόχτιστα pegadea marmarohtisa Wells made of marble,
νερόν άμον το δάκρυν neron amon to dakrin water like tears.
Πεγάδεα μαρμαρόχτιστα pegadea marmarohtisa Wells made of marble,
νερόν άμον το δάκρυν neron amon to dakrin water like tears.
     

Chorus #1

Chorus #1

Chorus #1

Πατρίδα μ αραεύω σε patrida m araevose se My country, I'm searching for you
άμον καταραμένος amon kataramenos like [someone who is cursed]. (1)
Πατρίδα μ αραεύω σε patrida m araevose se My country, I'm searching for you
άμον καταραμένος amon kataramenos like [someone who is cursed]. (1)
     

Chorus #2

Chorus #2

Chorus #2

Σα ξένα είμαι Έλληνας sa xena ime Ellinas In foreign lands I'm Greek,
και σην Ελλάδαν ξένος ke sin Elladan xenos and in Greece [I'm] a foreigner.
Σα ξένα είμαι Έλληνας sa xena ime Ellinas In foreign lands I'm Greek,
και σην Ελλάδαν ξένος ke sin Elladan xenos and in Greece [I'm] a foreigner.
     
Κι ατώρα αδακές διψώ ke atora adakes dipso And now here, I'm thirsty.
νερόν να πίνω κ έχω neron na pino k eho I don't have water to drink.
Κι ατώρα αδακές διψώ ke atora adakes dipso And now here, I'm thirsty.
νερόν να πίνω κ έχω neron na pino k eho I don't have water to drink.
     
Εντρέπουμαι να ψαλαφώ edrepoume na psalafo I'm embarrassed to ask
τα χειλόπαμ να βρέχω ta hilopam na vreho to wet my lips.
Εντρέπουμαι να ψαλαφώ edrepoume na psalafo I'm embarrassed to ask
τα χειλόπαμ να βρέχω ta hilopam na vreho to wet my lips.
     

Chorus #1

Chorus #1

Chorus #1

Πατρίδα μ αραεύω σε patrida m araevose se My country, I'm searching for you
άμον καταραμένος amon kataramenos like [someone who is cursed]. (1)
Πατρίδα μ αραεύω σε patrida m araevose se My country, I'm searching for you
άμον καταραμένος amon kataramenos like [someone who is cursed]. (1)
     

Chorus #2

Chorus #2

Chorus #2

Σα ξένα είμαι Έλληνας sa xena ime Ellinas In foreign lands I'm Greek,
και σην Ελλάδαν ξένος ke sin Elladan xenos and in Greece [I'm] a foreigner.
Σα ξένα είμαι Έλληνας sa xena ime Ellinas In foreign lands I'm Greek,
και σην Ελλάδαν ξένος ke sin Elladan xenos and in Greece [I'm] a foreigner.
     

Chorus #2

Chorus #2

Chorus #2

Σα ξένα είμαι Έλληνας sa xena ime Ellinas In foreign lands I'm Greek,
και σην Ελλάδαν ξένος ke sin Elladan xenos and in Greece [I'm] a foreigner.
Σα ξένα είμαι Έλληνας sa xena ime Ellinas In foreign lands I'm Greek,
και σην Ελλάδαν ξένος ke sin Elladan xenos and in Greece [I'm] a foreigner.
  1. Literally, "like a cursed one".

 

Modern Greek to English

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

Modern Greek

English Translation

Πέντε σπίτια έχτισα I built five homes
και απ όλα ξεσπιτώνομαι and I've been evicted from all of them.
   
Πρόσφυγας είμαι από κούνια I've been a refugee since [the] days [I was] in my crib
Θεέ μου θα τρελαθώ My God, I will go crazy.
   

Chorus

Chorus

Πατρίδα μου σε ψάχνω My country, I'm searching for you
σαν καταραμένος - like a cursed one like [someone who is cursed]. (1)
στα ξένα είμαι Έλληνας In foreign lands I'm Greek,
και στην Ελλάδα ξένος and in Greece [I'm] a foreigner.
   
Σπίτια άφησα ανάμεσα I left homes in between
στα δάση και τις ποταμάκρες the woods and rivers.
   
Πηγάδια μαρμαρόχτιστα Wells made of marble,
νερό σαν το δάκρυ water like tears.
   

Chorus

Chorus

Πατρίδα μου σε ψάχνω My country, I'm searching for you
σαν καταραμένος - like a cursed one like [someone who is cursed]. (1)
στα ξένα είμαι Έλληνας In foreign lands I'm Greek,
και στην Ελλάδα ξένος and in Greece [I'm] a foreigner.
   
Και τώρα εγώ εδώ διψώ And now here, I'm thirsty.
νερό να πιω δεν έχω I don't have water to drink.
   
Ντρέπομαι να ζητήσω I'm embarrassed to ask
τα χείλια μου να βρέξω to wet my lips.
   

Chorus

Chorus

Πατρίδα μου σε ψάχνω My country, I'm searching for you
σαν καταραμένος - like a cursed one like [someone who is cursed]. (1)
στα ξένα είμαι Έλληνας In foreign lands I'm Greek,
και στην Ελλάδα ξένος and in Greece [I'm] a foreigner.
  1. Literally, "like a cursed one".

 

 

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

Translations of
Stelios' Kazantzidis' Songs on This Site

Translations on this web site of songs performed by Stelios Kazantzidis include:

 

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

Pontian Anatolian Music Resources

Resources on this web site for Pontian Anatolian music and culture include:

Articles

Translations of Songs from Pontian Anatolian Greek Dialect into English and Modern Greek

  • Mana En Krion Neron (Mother Is Like Cold Water). By Giannis Tsanakalis. Many people consider this song to be a hymn to motherhood. Includes information about the traditional Pontian Anatolian folk dance known as "tik".
  • Sa Xena Ime Ellinas (In Foreign Lands I'm a Greek). By Stelios Kazantzidis. Unofficial anthem of the Greek diaspora. Includes information about the traditional Pontian Anatolian circle dance known as "omal".
  • Tin Patrida M' Ehasa (I Lost My Homeland). By Giannis Kourtidis & Ahileas Vasiliadis.

Translations of Songs in Modern Greek with Pontian References

  • Tou Pontou Panagia (The Virgin Mary of Pontus). By Themis Adamantidis. Includes cultural information about Monastery Panagia Soumela located in the Pontian mountains at Trapezounda.

Mainstream Greek Music with Pontian Influences

 

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

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

 

 

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

Copyright Notice

This entire web site is copyrighted. All rights reserved.

All articles, images, forms, scripts, directories, and product reviews on this web site are the property of Shira unless a different author/artist is identified. Material from this web site may not be posted on any other web site unless permission is first obtained from Shira.

Academic papers for school purposes may use information from this site only if the paper properly identifies the original article on Shira.net using appropriate citations (footnotes, end notes, etc.) and bibliography. Consult your instructor for instructions on how to do this.

If you wish to translate articles from Shira.net into a language other than English, Shira will be happy to post your translation here on Shira.net along with a note identifying you as the translator. This could include your photo and biography if you want it to. Contact Shira for more information. You may not post translations of Shira's articles on anybody else's web site, not even your own.

If you are a teacher, performer, or student of Middle Eastern dance, you may link directly to any page on this web site from either your blog or your own web site without first obtaining Shira's permission. Click here for link buttons and other information on how to link.

 

 

Explore more belly dance info:

Top >
Belly Dancing >
Middle Eastern Culture >
Index to Middle Eastern Music Section

 

Share this page!

On Facebook
 

 

 Top > Belly Dancing > Middle Eastern Culture > Index to Middle Eastern Music Section

| Contact Shira | Links | Search this Site |