Filler
Photo of Shira

 

 

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

Τα Καβουράκια
(Ta Kavourakia)

(The Little Crabs)

 

 

This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to the popular Greek song "Ta Kavourakia" (Τα Καβουράκια), which was sung by Vasilis Tsitsanis and Marika Ninou. 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 this Song

Although Eftihia Papayiannopoulou is credited for writing the lyrics for many of Vasilis Tsitsanis' songs, for this song specifically it has been said that they both contributed. This song made headlines when they were battling for proper credit.

This song has also been made into a popular children's song, with small children singing it on the Greek television program Zouzounia (Ζουζούνια).

There is a joke among the adults asking, "Where is Mrs. Crab, and why is she wandering away from her home?" It was code word for back then. Well-to-do women wouldn't be wandering away from their home in that era!

Regardless of its meaning, this is a beloved song in Greece among all ages. Many who know the lyricist Eftihias story, know she was never a children's song writer. She mostly wrote about her life and experiences.

Others say Tsitsanis was inspired by seeing a crab one day where he worked as a singer, in a place called Asimakis Tavern. The song is known as Ta Kavourakia and Tou Asimaki Ta Kavouria (Του Ασημάκη τα Καβούρια).

The song originally appeared in the Greek movie Piasame Tin Kali (Πιάσαμε Την Καλή). The segment was filmed in the famous tavern of Tzimis O Hondros (Τζίμης ο Χονδρός). This venue was where all of the greatest legendary singers made their debuts. The film setting is not at a studio, but the actual tavern, as it was in that time. Untouched.

About Marika Ninou

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. By the time she recorded this song with Athanasios Giannopoulis and Yiannis Salasidis in 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, one of the lyricists, and one of the singers for this song.

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

About Eftihia Papayiannopoulou

Eftihia Papayiannopoulou, whose nickname was EE Gria (the old lady), was a very famous lyricist during the rebetiko era.

The legendary Eftihia Xatzigeorgiou (Papayiannopoulou) was born in 1893, in the city of Aydin, which is close to Smyrna (today known as Izmir in Turkey). As a Greek Anatolian refugee, she felt the life, pain and suffering. Her talents as a lyricist in the 1950s through 1960s drew the attention of some of the greatest Laiko – Rebetes of that time. Her collaborations Apostolos Kaldaras, Stelios Kazandzidis, Vasilis Tsitsanis and Manos Hadjidakis, Manolis Hiotis, Babis Bakalis, to name a few.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: Eftihia Papayiannopoulou.

Eftihia had a falling out with Stelios Kazandzidis and Vasilis Tsitsanis regarding lyrics and intellectual property rights. In this era, women were not highly regarded and respected. The man always dominated and had the final word. Many of these men did not want others to know that there was a women behind their succuessful songs.

There is much judgment and criticism againt Eftihia Papayiannopoulou because she was an avid tzogadora (gambler). She lost her husband and daughter all within a close period, which led her to turn to it. Gambling is an addiction, and they should not be judged. In her desperation to have fast money she felt the need to sell the rights to her songs as opposed to retaining the rights to obtain a commission.

In December 2019, a new Greek movie was released about her life story. It sold large numbers of tickets, and was very popular.

Eftihia Papayiannopoulou

Song: Ta Kavourakia (The Crabs), 1955

Lyrics: Eftihia Papayianopoulou and Vasilis Tsitsanis

Music: Vasilis Tsitsanis

Original Artists: Vasilis Tsitsanis and Marika Ninou

Has Also Been Recorded By:

  • Stelios Kazantzidis and Marinella, 1960

Dance Style: Aptalikos

Album: Piasame Tin Kali (We Caught The Good One)

Τραγούδι: Τα Καβουράκια, 1955

Στίχοι: Ευτυχία Παπαγιαννοπούλου, Βασίλης Τσιτσάνης

Μουσική: Βασίλης Τσιτσάνης

Πρώτη Εκτέλεση: Βασίλης Τσιτσάνης & Μαρίκα Νίνου

Χορός: Απτάλικος

Άλμπουμ: Πιάσαμε Την Καλή

 

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

Lyrics

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

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Στου γιαλού τα βοτσαλάκια stou yialou ta votsalakia By the pebbles on the seashore
κάθονται δυο καβουράκια kathonde dio kavourakia two little crabs are sitting together,
έρμα παραπονεμένα erma paraponemena completely complaining,
κaι όλο κλαίνε τα καημένα ke olo klene ta kaimena and the poor things are constantly crying.
     
Κaι η μαμά τους ke ee mama tous And their mother
η κυρία καβουρίνα ee kiria kavourina Mrs. Crab
πάει τσάρκα pai tsarka is going out (1)
με το σπάρο στη' Ραφήνα me to sparo sti' Rafina with the sparos (2) in Rafina (3)
     
Κaι η μαμά τους ke ee mama tous And their mother
η κυρία καβουρίνα ee kiria kavourina Mrs. Crab
πάει τσάρκα pai tsarka is going out (1)
με το σπάρο στη' Ραφήνα me to sparo sti' Rafina with the sparos (2) in Rafina (3)
     
Kaι όλο κλαίνε ke olo klene And they are always crying,
τα καβουράκια ta kavourakia the little crabs,
στου γιαλού, στου γιαλού stou yialou, stou yialou by the seashore, by the seashore,
τα βοτσαλάκια ta votsalakia the pebbles.
     
Πάει ο κάβουρας το βράδυ pai o kavouras to vradi Mr. Crab returns at night,
βρίσκει το τσαρδί ρημάδι vriski to tsardi rimadi finds the shack (4) a mess.
ψάχνει για τη' φαμελιά του psahni ya ti' famelia tis He is looking for his family,
και τραβάει τα μαλλιά του ke travai ta malia tou and he is pulling his hair.
     
Βάζει πλώρη vazi plori He sets sail,
κούτσα κούτσα στη' Ραφήνα koutsa koutsa sti' Rafini slowly, slowly (5) heading towards Rafina (3)
να πετύχει την κυρία καβουρίνα na petihi tin kiria kavourina to run into Mrs. Crab.
Βάζει πλώρη vazi plori He sets sail,
κούτσα κούτσα στη' Ραφήνα koutsa koutsa sti' Rafini slowly, slowly (5) heading towards Rafina (3)
να πετύχει την κυρία καβουρίνα na petihi tin kiria kavourina to run into Mrs. Crab.
     
Kaι όλο κλαίνε ke olo klene And they are always crying,
τα καβουράκια ta kavourakia the little crabs,
στου γιαλού, στου γιαλού stou yialou, stou yialou by the seashore, by the seashore,
τα βοτσαλάκια ta votsalakia the pebbles.
     

Instrumental

Instrumental

Instrumental

     
The next 2 paragraphs were omitted from the children's version!
Το ξημέρωμα ροδίζει to ximeroma rodizi The dawn is turning pink,
και ο κάβουρας γυρίζει ke o kavouras yirizi and the [male] crab returns [home]
δίχως τη' συμβία πάλι dihos ti' simvia pali without his wife again.
κούτσα κούτσα στ' ακρογιάλι koutsa koutsa st' akroyiali Slowly, slowly (5) to the seashore.
     
Με το σπάρο me to sparo With [Mr.] Sparos (2)
τον ξενύχτη στη' Ραφήνα ton xenihti sti' Rafina staying up until morning in Rafina (3)
παίζει τώρα στα ρηχά η καβουρίνα pezi tora sta riha ee kavourina [Mrs.] Crab is now playing in the shallow end.
Με το σπάρο me to sparo With [Mr.] Sparos (2)
τον ξενύχτη στη' Ραφήνα ton xenihti sti' Rafina staying up until morning in Rafina (3)
παίζει τώρα στα ρηχά η καβουρίνα pezi tora sta riha ee kavourina [Mrs.] Crab is now playing in the shallow end.
     
Kaι όλο κλαίνε ke olo klene And they are always crying,
τα καβουράκια ta kavourakia the little crabs,
στου γιαλού, στου γιαλού stou yialou, stou yialou by the seashore, by the seashore,
τα βοτσαλάκια ta votsalakia the pebbles.
  1. The word "tsarka" is a Turkish word used in the Greek language.
  2. A "sparos" is a type of shallow water fish belonging to the family of the bream (Sparidae) that lives off the coast of Greece.
  3. Rafina is a port city in Greece, and the surrounding area.
  4. The word "tsardi" refers to a home that isn't fully built, made from sticks of trees.
  5. "Koutsa, koutsa" is slang for "slowly, slowly".

 

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

Translations of
Marika Ninou's Songs On This Site

Other translations of songs composed by Marika Ninou on this web site include:

 

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

Translations of Songs Composed by
Vasilis Tsitsani On This Site

Other translations of songs composed by Vasilis Tsitsanis on this web site include:

 

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

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 |