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

Σεράχ
(Serah)

(Serah)

 

This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to the popular Greek rebetiko song "Serah" (Σεράχ), which was sung by Marika Ninou, Yiannis Salasidis, Athanasios Giannopoulos, and Vasilis Tsitsanis. Also included is a pronunciation guide for the Greek lyrics so you can sing along if you like.

Although the lyrics of this song are sad, it could still be appropriate to use it when performing tsifteteli (belly dance).

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 Marika Ninou

Marika Ninou was one of the original quartet of musicians who debuted this song.

Marika Ninou was an Armenian-Greek rebetiko singer. She began her musical training as a child in school, learning to play the mandolin and becoming a chanter at the Armenian church. After she married Nikos Nikolaides in 1944, the couple became known as the Duo Nino. As others in the music industry heard her sing, she was offered additional opportunities to advance her career. By 1949, Ninou was working with Vasilis Tsitsanis at Fat Jimmy's, a club that provided continued opportunities for both. Tragically, Ninou became ill with cancer. Although she was still recording new music as of 1955, her health was already declining, and she died in 1957 at the young age of 39.

Marika Ninou

About Vasilis Tsitsanis

Vasilis Tsitsanis was the composer and lyricist for this song, and also one of the quartet of original artists that introduced the song to the world.

Tsitsanis was a versatile musician who learned to play violin, mandola, mandolin, and bouzouki. He collaborated with a number of singers to record the songs he had composed, with him accompanying them on bouzouki. His music helped launch several of his collaborators to fame and successful careers.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: Vasilis Tsitsanis as a young man.

Vasilis Tsitsanis

Song: Serah - Serah, 1946

Lyrics: Vasilis Tsitsanis

Music: Vasilis Tsitsanis

Original Artists: Marika Ninou, Yiannis Salasidis, Athanasios Giannopoulos & Vasilis Tsitsanis

Has Also Been Recorded By:

  • Eleftheria Arvanitaki

Dance Style: Tsifteteli

Τραγουδι: Η Σεράχ, 1946

Στίχοι:  Βασίλης Τσιτσάνης

Μουσική:  Βασίλης Τσιτσάνης

Πρώτη εκτέλεση:  Μαρίκα Νίνου, Γιάννης Σαλασίδης, Αθανάσιος Γιαννόπουλος & Βασίλης Τσιτσάνης

 

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Lyrics

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

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Verse

Verse

Verse

Πίσω στα πυκνά τα καφάσια piso sta pikna ta kafasia Behind the thick crate
Σαν τη δαιμονισμένη γυρνάει san ti demonismeni girnai like someone possessed, she wanders
Χρόνια το γλυκό παλληκάρι hronia to gliko palikari for years, the sweet lad
Περιμένει τη Σεράχ κι αγρυπνά perimeni ti Serah ke agripna waits for Serah and remains awake
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

Αστράφτει το σπαθί του καβαλάρη astrafti to spathi tou kavalari Shining is the sword of the horseman
Σαν τη φωτιά, σαν φωτιά san ti fotia, san fotia like fire, like fire.
Τα σίδερα λυγίζουν και σπαράζονται ta sidera ligizoun ke sparazonte The irons bend and tear to pieces
Τα κορμιά, τα κορμιά ta kormia, ta kormia the bodies, the bodies.
     
Και αρπάζει τη Σεράχ ke arpazi ti Serah And he grabs Serah
Και αρπάζει τη Σεράχ ke arpazi ti Serah And he grabs Serah
κι όλες λέν’ Αλλάχ, Αλλάχ ke oles len Allah, Allah and they [the women] say Allah, Allah (1)
Εϊ γκιουλέ ολσούν Ey güle olsun (2) Farewell, farewell.
Εϊ γκιουλέ ολσούν Ey güle olsun Farewell, farewell.
     

Verse

Verse

Verse

Κλαίνε στα χαρέμια οι σκλάβες klene sta haremia ee sklaves The slaves cry in the harems
Τρέμουν την οργή του Πασά tremoun tin oryi tou Pasa They tremble in fear of the Pasha's wrath
Κλαίνε στο σεράι οι αγάδες klene sto serai ee agades The masters cry in the palace
Ποθούσαν της Σεράχ την ομορφιά pothousan tis Serah tin omorfia because they desired Serah's beauty.
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

Αστράφτει το σπαθί του καβαλάρη astrafti to spathi tou kavalari Shining is the sword of the horseman
Σαν τη φωτιά, σαν φωτιά san ti fotia, san fotia like fire, like fire.
Τα σίδερα λυγίζουν και σπαράζονται ta sidera ligizoun ke sparazonte The irons bend and tear to pieces
Τα κορμιά, τα κορμιά ta kormia, ta kormia the bodies, the bodies.
     
Και αρπάζει τη Σεράχ ke arpazi ti Serah And he grabs Serah
Και αρπάζει τη Σεράχ ke arpazi ti Serah And he grabs Serah
κι όλες λέν’ Αλλάχ, Αλλάχ ke oles len Allah, Allah and they [the women] say Allah, Allah
Εϊ γκιουλέ ολσούν Ey güle olsun Farewell, farewell.
Εϊ γκιουλέ ολσούν Ey güle olsun Farewell, farewell.
  1. "Allah" is the word for "God" in both Turkish and Arabic.
  2. The words "Ey güle olsun" are Turkish, not Greek.

 

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Translations of Songs Composed by
Vasilis Tsitsanis On This Site

Other translations of songs composed by Vasilis Tsitsanis 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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