Filler
Photo of Shira

 

 

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

Τι είν’ αυτό
(Ti Ein’ Afto Pou to Lene Agapi)

(What Is Love?)

 

Here is the English translation for the beautiful Greek love song, "Ti Ein' Afto". The title is sometimes written as "Ti'ne Afto Pou to Lene Agapi" or "Tien Afto" or "Tin Afto". Also include is a pronunciation guide for the Greek lyrics so you can sing along if you like.

This song has been popular among belly dancers for many years. Its lyrical rhythm makes it especially well-suited for veil work.

The vocalist who introduced this song to the world was Keti Denis, in 1955. She taught Sophia Loren to sing it for the 1957 motion picture Boy on a Dolphin.

Lyrics: John Fermanoglu
Music: Takis Morakis

Sophia Loren

Song: Ti Ein’ Afto Pou to Lene Agapi, 1955

Lyrics: Danai Stratigopoulou (Yiannis Fermanoglou)

Music: Takis Morakis

Original Artist: Keti Denis

Appeared in films:

  • Boy on a Dolphin. Sung by Sofia Loren, 1957
  • The Greek Woman and the Love. Sung by Nadia Konstantopoulou, 1962

Τραγουδι: Τι είν' αυτό που το λένε αγάπη, 1955

Στιχοι: Δανάη Στρατηγοπούλου (Γιάννης Φερμάνογλου)

Μουσικη: Τάκης Μωράκης

Πρώτη εκτέλεση: Καίτη Ντένις

Κυκλοφορία σε ταινίες:

  • Το Παιδί και το Δελφίνι – Σοφία Λόρεν, 1957
  • Η Ελληνίδα και ο Έρωτας - Νάντια Κωνσταντοπούλου, 1962

 

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Listen to MP3 Clips of This Song

Note Sung by Harry Saroyan
Note Instrumental by Mediterranean Raqs Band (Saqra)
Note Sung by John Bilezikjian

 

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Lyrics

Note from Shira: Two different translations of this song have been contributed to this web site. I have decided to make both available. Song lyrics are poetry, and it can be challenging for a translator to communicate nuances of meaning. By having multiple translations to use, you can explore different people's ideas on how to convey these nuances.

Panayiota's Version

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Τι είν' αυτό που το λένε αγάπη tee in’afto pou to lene agapi What is this thing called love?
τι είν' αυτό, τι είν΄αυτό tee in’afto, tee in’afto What is it? What is it?
που κρυφά τις καρδιές οδηγεί pou krifa tis kardies odigi that secretly our hearts it drives (drives our hearts)
κι όποιος το 'νιωσε το νοσταλγεί  ke opios to ‘niose to nostalgi and who ever felt it is nostalgic (for love)
     
Τι είν' αυτό που το λένε αγάπη tee in’afto pou to lene agapi What is this thing called love?
τι είν' αυτό, τι είν΄αυτό tee in’afto, tee in’afto What is it? What is it?
γέλιο, δάκρυ, λιακάδα, βροχή  yelio, dakri, liakada, vrohi laughter, tear, sunshine, rain
της ζωής μας, και τέλος κι αρχή  tis zois mas ke telos ke arhi our life, our ending and our beginning
     
Ποτέ, ποτέ κανένα στόμα  pote, pote kanena stoma never, never has a mouth
δεν το 'βρε και δεν το 'πε ακόμα  den to ‘vre ke den to ‘pe akoma ever found it and ever said it yet
     
Τι είν' αυτό που το λένε αγάπη tee in’afto pou to lene agapi What is this thing called love?
τι είν' αυτό, τι είν΄αυτό tee in’afto, tee in’afto What is it? What is it?
που σε κάνει να λες το σκοπό  pou se kani na les to skopo whom it make you to say the views/verse
σ' αγαπώ, σ' αγαπώ, σ' αγαπώ  s’agapo, s’agapo, s’agapo I love you, I love you, I love you!
     
Τι είν' αυτό που το λένε αγάπη tee in’afto pou to lene agapi What is this thing called love?
τι είν' αυτό, τι είν΄αυτό tee in’afto, tee in’afto What is it? What is it?
στο λεπτό που σου δίνει φτερά  sto lepto pou sou dini ftera in a second it give you wings
κι είναι λύπη μαζί και χαρά  ke ine lipi ke hara and it is sadness together/along with joy
     
Τι είν' αυτό που το λένε αγάπη tee in’afto pou to lene agapi What is this thing called love?
τι είν' αυτό, τι είν΄αυτό tee in’afto, tee in’afto What is it? What is it?
γέλιο, δάκρυ, λιακάδα, βροχή  yelio, dakri, liakada, vrohi laughter, tear, sunshine, rain
της ζωής μας, και τέλος κι αρχή  tis zois mas ke telos ke arhi our life, our ending and our beginning
     
Ποτέ, ποτέ κανένα στόμα  pote, pote kanena stoma never, never has a mouth
δεν το 'βρε και δεν το 'πε ακόμα  den to ‘vre ke den to ‘pe akoma ever found it and ever said it yet
     
Τι είν' αυτό που το λένε αγάπη tee in’afto pou to lene agapi What is this thing called love?
τι είν' αυτό, τι είν΄αυτό tee in’afto, tee in’afto What is it? What is it?
που σε κάνει να λες το σκοπό  pou se kani na les to skopo whom it make you to say the views/verse
σ' αγαπώ, σ' αγαπώ, σ' αγαπώ  s’agapo, s’agapo, s’agapo I love you, I love you, I love you!

 

Harry Saroyan's Version

What is this thing called love, what is it?
What is it that secretly drives our hearts
With so much nostalgia?
What is this thing called love, what is it, what is it?
It's a smile, a tear, sun and rain and
The end of the start of our lives.
Never, never has a wise man found the answer
And the explanation to give us yet.
What is this thing called love, what is it, what is it?
That makes us to sing the song ...

I love you
I love you
I love you

 

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Where to Get Recordings of this Song

Saroyan Sings an Oriental Bouquet Album Cover

Note

Listen to Clip

Artist: Harry Saroyan
CD Title: Saroyan Sings an Oriental Bouquet

Raqs Band

Note

Listen to Clip

Artist: Mediterranean Raqs Band (Saqra)
CD Title: Saqra's Dances
Ecstasy in Belly Dancing

Note

Listen to Clip

Artist: John Bilezikjian
CD Title: Ecstasy in Belly Dancing

 

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About the Translator Harry Saroyan

Many thanks to my late friend, Harry Saroyan, for providing this translation to this web site! Harry, the founder of Saroyan Mastercrafts, Inc., was a master craftsman who made finger cymbals and costume coins. In addition, he was a popular recording artist.

With his popularity and expertise in the belly dance communities, he was continually invited to perform music and be the Master of Ceremonies for events, as well as judge belly dance competitions. Harry's love, devotion and contributions to Middle Eastern arts made him very popular with belly dancers worldwide who have enjoyed his finger cymbals, coins, and music.

Harry passed away September 27, 2016. However, as long as dancers continue using his music and playing the finger cymbals he designed, he'll remain a treasured part of our dance community. Rest in peace, Harry.

Photo of Harry Saroyan

 

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About the Translator Panayiota Bakis Mohieddin

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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