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

Κόκκινο Ποτάμι
(To Kokkinou Potami)

(The Red River)

 

 

This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to the popular Greek song "To Kokkinou Potami" (Κόκκινο Ποτάμι), which was sung by Eleonora Zouganeli. Also included is a pronunciation guide for the Greek lyrics so you can sing along if you like.

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 the Television Series

This is the theme song for a hit drama series in Greece, Kokkinou Potami. The title means "red river", but in this case it also means "blood". It's played on mainstream Greek television and directed by Manousos Manousakis (Μανούσος Μανουσάκης).

ABOUT THE PHOTO: The photo is one of the promotional photos used in connection with the television show.

This synopsis of the story has been translated from its official page:

The story begins in Ak Dag Maten (Ακ Νταγ Ματέν), a part of Akira (νομού Άγκυρας), Turkish city in May 1895.

An engagement party was thrown by the family of Georgiou Pavlidi (Γεωργίου Παυλίδη) for their 12-year-old son Miltos (Μίλτο) with 9-year-old Ifiyenia (Ιφιγένεια). Ifiyenia is the daughter of Michalis and Sofias Nikolaidis (Μιχάλη και Σοφίας Νικολαΐδη).

It was very common in those days among the Anatolian Greek communities for children to get engaged at such a young age. One of the biggest reasons was because, according to Islamic traditions, if a young girl was already engaged, she was not considered pure enough to become the wife of a Muslim man.

Various socio-political events begin to affect the Anatolian Greek community of present-day Turkey. Many former Hellenic regions were affected; however, this series is focused mostly on the Pontian events. There are a few other popular drama series that were based on southern Asia Minor.

Fanatic Turks begin to attack the Pontian community of the Black Sea region also known as Karadeniz. This in turn causes the families Pavlidi and Nikolaidi to flee their homes, along with everyone else in the entire region.

Miltos and Ifiyenia reunite by chance at an older age, eleven years later in Konstantinoupoli (Κωνσταντινούπολη), which is known as Istanbul today. This random love at first sight takes place without them even knowing the family promise that was given years ago.

The series is based around this epic love story while at the same time giving us step-by-step insight into the tragic events that took place.

Many friends, colleagues, and relatives of mine are featured in this drama series. It has been both welcomed and criticized by the Pontian community, both in Greece and in the diaspora.

Regardless of opinions, it is great that we Pontians finally occupy a spot on mainstream televised air time. I highly recommend all to watch it. Subtitles or not, you will see and understand what is happening.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: Panayiota wears a Pontian costume and holds a daouli, which is a traditional Pontian drum.

This series is hosted on the television station called Open TV. This station is very important because it provides many opportunities for Pontian Anatolian Greek artists to feature their work. The channel is owned by the highly respected entrepreneur businessman and politician Ivan Savvidis (Ιβάν Σαββίδης), a Roso-Pontian born in Georgia. We call those whose families had fled to Russia or other Eastern European countries Roso-Poniti, although many from there prefer to simply be referred to as Pontian. In 2019, Savvidis made the Forbes list as the wealthiest man, along with three other Greeks.

It is thanks to Savvidis' generosity and care that have brought forth many great things. Many Pontians are very grateful to him!

About Eleonora Zouganeli

Eleonora Zouganeli, the original artist for this song, was born in Athens in 1983. Her first professional opportunity arose in 2004 when she participated in a competition. This led to her being part of an album titled Second Hearing of the Little Bear. In the years that followed, she participated in compilation albums and concerts with other artists. In 2019, she was selected to serve as a coach on the Greek version of The Voice.

Song: To Kokkinou Potami (The Red River), 2019

Lyrics: Kostas Balahoutis

Music: Hristos Papadopoulos

Original Artist: Eleonora Zouganeli

Dance Style: Just listening, not dance

Supporting Band:

  • Hristos Papadopoulos (Guitar, Oud, Bass)
  • Yiorgos Theodoridis (Kemence, also known as Pontian Lyre)
  • Stamatis Hristou (Keyboard)
  • Athena Kouki (Kanoun)
  • Vasilis Soukas (Violin)
  • Asterios Pouftis (Cello)

Τραγούδι: Κόκκινο Ποτάμι, 2019

Στίχοι: Κωστας Μπαλαχούτης

Μουσική: Χρήστος Παπαδόπουλος

Πρώτη Εκτέλεση: Ελεωνόρα Ζουγανέλη

Παπαδόπουλος Χρήστος: Κιθάρες Ούτι, Μπάσο
Γιώργος Θεοδωρίδης: Λύρα Ποντιακή
Σταμάτης Χρήστου: Πλήκτρα
Αθηνά Κούκη: Κανονάκι
Βασίλης Σούκας: Βιολί
Αστέριος Πούφτης: Τσέλο

 

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Lyrics

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

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Πριν σε βρω, σε έχασα prin se vro, se ehasa Before I found you, I lost you
μια στιγμή, δεν ξέχασα mia stigmi, den xehasa Not for a moment, I didn't forget
το ποτάμι μάτωσε to potami matose the river bled,
η αγάπη δάκρυσε ee agapi dakrise love shed tears. (1)
     
Η ζωή μας όλη ee zoi mas oli All of our lives,
ένας ποταμός enas potamos a river,
αλλιώτικος Θεός aliotikos Theos a different God
που μας χωρίζει pou mas horizi that divides us.
μια όχθη εδώ mia ohthi edo A [river] bank here,
στην άλλη το θεριό stin ali to therio over there a wild beast,
σαν δάκρυ στο καιρό san dakri sto kero like a tear in the time
που με ορίζει pou me orizi that defines me.
     
Η φωνή μου όλη ee foni mou oli All of my voice
έγινε κραυγή eyine kravgi became a scream —
το αίμα στη' πληγή στο νου αφρίζει to ema sti' pliyi sto nou afrizi the blood on the wound foams in the thoughts.
μια όχθη εδώ mia ohthi edo A [river] bank here,
στην άλλη το θεριό stin ali to therio over there a wild beast,
σαν δάκρυ στο καιρό san dakri sto kero like a tear in the time
που με ορίζει pou me orizi that defines me.
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

Μη' μου λες γιατί mi' mou les yati Don't tell me why —
γίνε ουρανός και γη yine ouranos ke yi become the heaven and earth.
με' στη' σκοτεινιά me' sti' skotinia In the darkness,
φώτισε μου τα κελιά fotise mou ta kelia light up my cells.
πριν σε βρω, σε έχασα prin se vro, se ehasa Before I found you, I lost you.
μια στιγμή, δε' ξέχασα mia stigmi, de' xehasa Not for a moment, I didn't forget.
το ποτάμι μάτωσε to potami matose The river bled,
η αγάπη δάκρυσε ee agapi dakrise love shed tears. (1)
     

Instrumental

Instrumental

Instrumental

     
Σαν το ναυαγό san to navago Like a castaway,
αφού δεν είσαι εδώ afou den ise edo since you are not here,
που να βρω ουρανό pou na vro ourano where will I find a sky
και που πατρίδα ke pou patrida and where a homeland?
μέσα στη' βροχή mesa sti' vrohi In the rain,
σαν το τρελό σκαρί san to trelo skari like the crazy vessel,
που σκίζει το νερό pou skizi to nero that rips [through] the water
χωρίς ελπίδα horis elpida with no hope.
     
Νιώσε τη' στιγμή niose ti' stigmi Feel the moment
πριν έρθει η αυγή prin erthi ee avgi before dawn comes,
με μίσος και οργή me misos ke orgi with hate and rage.
σαν καταιγίδα san kateyida Like a storm,
σαν το ναυαγό san to navayio like the shipwreck,
αφού δεν είσαι εδώ afou den ise edo since you are not here,
που να βρω ουρανό pou na vro ourano where will I find a sky
και που πατρίδα ke pou patrida and where a homeland?
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

Μη' μου λες γιατί mi' mou les yati Don't tell me why —
γίνε ουρανός και γη yine ouranos ke yi become the heaven and earth.
με' στη' σκοτεινιά me' sti' skotinia In the darkness,
φώτισε μου τα κελιά fotise mou ta kelia light up my cells.
πριν σε βρω, σε έχασα prin se vro, se ehasa Before I found you, I lost you.
μια στιγμή, δε' ξέχασα mia stigmi, de' xehasa Not for a moment, I didn't forget.
το ποτάμι μάτωσε to potami matose The river bled,
η αγάπη δάκρυσε ee agapi dakrise love shed tears. (1)
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

Μη' μου λες γιατί mi' mou les yati Don't tell me why —
γίνε ουρανός και γη yine ouranos ke yi become the heaven and earth.
με' στη' σκοτεινιά me' sti' skotinia In the darkness,
φώτισε μου τα κελιά fotise mou ta kelia light up my cells.
πριν σε βρω, σε έχασα prin se vro, se ehasa Before I found you, I lost you.
μια στιγμή, δε' ξέχασα mia stigmi, de' xehasa Not for a moment, I didn't forget.
το ποτάμι μάτωσε to potami matose The river bled,
η αγάπη δάκρυσε ee agapi dakrise love shed tears. (1)
  1. Literally, "love teared [up]".

 

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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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