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Τσιφτετέλι
(Tsifteteli)

(Greek Belly Dancing)

 

 

This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to the popular Greek song "Tsifteteli" (Τσιφτετέλι), which was sung by Eleftheria Arvanitaki. Also included is a pronunciation guide for the Greek lyrics so you can sing along if you like.

This song appeared in a Greek film called Loufa Ke Paralayi (Λούφα και Παραλλαγή) which received four awards at the Thessaloniki film festival. The film was by Nikos Perakis who also wrote the lyrics to the song.

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 Eleftheria Arvanitaki

Eleftheria Arvanitaki, the original artist for this song, is a Greek folk singer known for singing rebetiko, laiko, and jazz musical styles. Born in 1957, she started her singing career as a member of the ensemble Opisthodromiki Kompania (Retrograde Company) that performed rebetiko music. She then spun off to launch a solo singing career in 1984 with an album that bore her name. She has toured extensively to perform at festivals and other live music events. Arvanitaki performed in the closing ceremony for the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens.

Song: Tsifteteli (Greek Belly Dancing), 1986

Lyrics: Nikos Perakis

Music: Nikos Mamangakis

Original Artist: Eleftheria Arvanitaki

Dance Style: Belly Dance

Album: Loufa Kai Paralayi

Τραγουδι: Τσιφτετέλι, 1986

Στίχοι: Νίκος Περάκης

Μουσική: Νίκος Μαμαγκάκης

Πρώτη Εκτέλεση: Ελευθερία Αρβανιτάκη

Χορός: Οριεντάλ, Χορό Της Κοιλιάς, Ανατολίτικος Χορός, Τσιφτετέλι, Χανούμικο, Κελικός Χορός

Άλμπουμ: Λούφα Και Παραλαγή

 

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Lyrics

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

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

'Αιντε, χόρεψε κουκλί μου aide horepse koukli mou Come dance, my doll.
κούνα το κορμάκι σου το λάγνο kouna to kormaki sou to lagno Shake your sexy body
με' στο κουτούκι meh' sto koutouki inside the small traditional nightclub (1)
να γίνει σεισμός na yini sismos so an earthquake can happen.
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

'Ας τους μαγκες as tous manges Leave the mangas (2)
γύρω να τη βρίσκουν yiro na ti vriskoun to find themselves, (3)
να βαρυγκομάναι na varigomane to form their heavy macho opinions
και όλα να τα σπάνε ke ola na ta spane and to break everything.
Παίξε μου το ντέφι σου pexe mou to defi sou Play for me your tambourine,
Μικρό μου mikro mou my little one (4)
Ρίχτω το τσιφτετέλι rihto to tsifteteli dance that tsifteteli (5)
Το δικό μου to diko mou of mine.
     
Άιντε, χόρεψε Πασα μου Aide, horepse Pasa mou Come dance, my King
Κάνε τα τσαλίμια kane ta tsalimia do your fancy tricks [in dance]
Και τα κορδελάκια ke ta kordelakia

and the kordelakia. (6)

Τύφλα να ΄χει η Αραπιά tifla na 'hee ee Arapia May the Arabian lands be blind. (7)
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

'Ας τους μαγκες as tous manges Leave the mangas (2)
γύρω να τη βρίσκουν yiro na ti vriskoun to find themselves, (3)
να βαρυγκομάναι na varigomane to form their heavy macho opinions
και όλα να τα σπάνε ke ola na ta spane and to break everything.
Παίξε μου το ντέφι σου pexe mou to defi sou Play for me your tambourine,
Μικρό μου mikro mou my little one (4)
Ρίχτω το τσιφτετέλι rihto to tsifteteli dance that tsifteteli (5)
Το δικό μου to diko mou of mine.
     
'Αιντε, χόρεψε ντερβίση aide, horepse dervisi Come on, dance, dervisi, (8)
άσε τα τραπέζια να στεναξουν ase ta trapezia na stenaxoun let the tables take a breath [moan]
και τα ποτήρια να αρπάξουν φωτία ke ta potiria na arpaxoun fotia and the cups to catch on fire.
     

Chorus

Chorus

Chorus

'Ας τους μαγκες as tous manges Leave the mangas (2)
γύρω να τη βρίσκουν yiro na ti vriskoun to find themselves, (3)
να βαρυγκομάναι na varigomane to form their heavy macho opinions
και όλα να τα σπάνε ke ola na ta spane and to break everything.
Παίξε μου το ντέφι σου pexe mou to defi sou Play for me your tambourine,
Μικρό μου mikro mou my little one (4)
Ρίχτω το τσιφτετέλι rihto to tsifteteli dance that tsifteteli (5)
Το δικό μου to diko mou of mine.
  1. Or any other small, cute, and cozy restaurant, tavern, or music spot.
  2. The term mangas refers to "real men", "macho men", or "manly men". See the translation for "Oi Manges den Yparhoun Pia" for a more detailed description of the word mangas and its history in Greek culture.
  3. Or could be translated as, "to figure it out".
  4. Here, "little" could mean either "petite size" or "young".
  5. Literally, "drop that tsifteteli", similar to drop that beat. The word "tsifteteli" is the Greek word for belly dancing, and it also refers to a musical style that is appropriate to use for belly dancing.
  6. The word kordelakia refers to ribbons and bows. The previous line of the lyrics mentions fancy tricks in dance, so this is probably referring to a traditional Greek dance in which people dance around a tall pole (like a maypole) with ribbons hanging down from it, weaving into formations that cause the ribbons to intertwine. That would be the "fancy tricks".
  7. This means something like, "We'll show them" in a competitive way. Such as "We'll show them that we're better." In Greek, "tifla na 'hee" is a common saying that means "we do it better".
  8. Dervisi is a rebetiko slang word referring to a certain type of person, similar to a manga (see footnote 2 above).

 

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Translations of Songs Recorded by
Eleftheria Arvanitaki On This Site

Translations on this web site of songs performed by Eleftheria Arvanitaki 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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