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





This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to the popular Greek song "Masai" (Μασάι), which was sung by Elli Kokkinou. 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 this Song

The original version of this song was in Greek in 2003; however, since then versions have also been released in Turkish and Arabic.

In 2004, a Turkish version was released under the title "Yıkılıyo", sung by Ayça Tekintor (Αιτσα Τεκιντορ). The album on which it appeared uses the same title as the song.

Another version of this song with Arabic lyrics called "Men Eyouni" (Μεν Αιγιουνι) was released in 2006 by the Lebanese singer Bassem Moughnieh (Μοασεμ Μουγνιε).  Bassem is not only a popular singer, but also a highly successful actor and director.

There was also collaboration between Elli Kokkinou and Giorgos Mazonakis in a duet mixed song that was VERY popular!

The song's lyrics reference the Masai, an ethnic group found in eastern Africa, in Tanzania and Kenya.

About Elli Kokkinou

Elli Kokkinou is the stage name for Ellie Papathanasopoulou, the original artist who popularized this song. As a child, she grew up in a family that loved music, so from a young age she began to learn ballet and take guitar lessons. She was also athletic, winning many gold medals in water skiing.

Kokkinou began her music career performing backup vocals in the clubs that featured prominent artists of the day. She also sang backup vocals on some albums. From 1992-1994, she lived in the United States, studying voice and piano, then moved back to Greece.

Her recording career began in 1998 with the release of her first CD single. Albums soon followed, with Sto Kokkinou reaching double platinum status in 2003. This album also became a hit in Turkey. She has done many concert tours, as well as performing in the Greek club scene.

About Fivos (Phivos, Phoebus)

Fivos is the stage name for Evangelos-Phoebus Tassopoulos, the prominent Greek songwriter who wrote the music and lyrics for this song. His name is sometimes written as "Phivos" or "Phoebus". He is one of the most successful Greek songwriters of the 1990's and early 2000's.

Fivos was born in 1971. During his school years, he drummed in a band. He started writing songs while studying music at a conservatory, and signed his first contract with a record label at age 22. Over the next 10 years, his songs enjoyed spectacular success in Greece and Cyprus. He began to gain international recognition starting in 2001. In 2004, he signed a deal with Coca Cola to write the music that would be featured in Coca Cola's ads as part of their Olympics sponsorship, and in 2005 he created a new anthem for the Athens football team.

Song: Maasai (Masai), 2003

Lyrics: Evangelos Tassopoulos (Fivos/Phoebus)

Music: Evangelos Tassopoulos (Fivos/Phoebus)

Original Artist: Elli Kokkinou with backup vocals by Akis Deixmos, Vagelis Siapatis, and Fivos

Dance Style: Belly Dancing

Album: Sto Kokkino (In The Red)

Τραγούδι: Μασάι

Στίχοι: Ευάγγελος Τασσόπουλος (Φοίβος)

Μουσική: Ευάγγελος Τασσόπουλος (Φοίβος)

Πρώτη Εκτέλεση: Έλλη Κοκκίνου

Συμμετέχουν: Άκης Δείξμος, Βαγγέλης Σιαπάτης, Φοίβος

Άλμπουμ: Στο Κόκκινο




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

Greek Lyrics


English Translation

Θέλω να φύγω thelo na figo I want to leave.
θέλω να τη' κάνω thelo na ti' kano I want to jet, (1)
γιατί αν δε' φύγω yiati an de' figo because if I don't leave,
νιώθω θα πεθάνω niotho tha pethano I feel I will die.
θέλω να πάω thelo na pao I want to go
να μείνω σ' άλλη χώρα na mino s' ali hora live in another country,
σ' άγνωστη γη s' agnosti yi in an unknown land.
να φύγω θέλω τώρα na figo thelo tora I want to leave now.
Στην Αφρική θα πάω stin Afriki tha pao To Africa I will go,
με τους Μασάι me tous Masai with the Masai [people],
που Eλληνικά κανείς τους δε' μιλάει pou Ellinika kanis tous de' milai none of whom speak Greek.
να συμφωνούν na simfonoun For them to agree
την ώρα που θα λέω tin ora pou tha leo the moment when I tell them
πως αν θα σε σκοτώσω pos an tha se skotoso that if I kill you
δε' θα φταίω de' tha fteo I won't be at fault.
Και θα 'μαι ke tha 'me And I will be
σ' άλλη χώρα s' ali hora in another land.
και άλλα χέρια τώρα ke ala heria tora Other hands now
θα μ' έχουν αγκαλιά tha m' ehoun agalia will hold me in their arms.
και μ' άγνωστους παρέα ke m' agnostous parea with strangers as companions.
θα περνάω ωραία tha pernao orea I will have a good time
χωρίς εσένα πια horis esena pia without you any more.




Θα 'μαι η θεά τους tha 'me ee Thea tous I will be their [Greek] Goddess
και το είδωλο τους ke to idolo tous and their idol.
και θα τα φτιάξω ke that a ftiaxo I will become intimate
με τον αρχηγό τους me ton arhigo tous with their leader.
στα πούπουλα θα μ' έχουν στα sta poupoula tha m' ehoun sta

They will have me on feathers (2)

ώπα ώπα opa opa Opa opa! (3)
όπως κaι εσύ, μωρό μου opos ke esi, moro mou Just like you, my baby,
μ' είχες πρώτα m' ihes prota you had me before.
Και θα 'μαι ke tha 'me And I will be
σ' άλλη χώρα s' ali hora in another land.
και άλλα χέρια τώρα ke ala heria tora And other hands now
θα μ' έχουν αγκαλιά tha m' ehoun agalia will hold me in their arms.
και μ' άγνωστους παρέα ke m' agnostous parea And with strangers as companions,
θα περνάω ωραία tha pernao orea I will have a good time
χωρίς εσένα πια horis esena pia without you any more.
  1. Slang for go away, get out, leave.
  2. It's a very common Greek saying, to say you have someone on feathers. It's similar to the English expression of putting someone on a pedestal or treating them like royalty. It means the person is extremely well taken care of and looked after, loved etc.
  3. I'll have anything I want, the best time, the best experience.



Translations of
Elli Kokkinou's Songs On This Site

Translations on this web site of songs performed by Elli Kokkinou include:

  • Ola Lathos (All Wrong). Released in 2018.
  • Masai (Masai). Released in 2003.
  • Sex (Sex). Released in 2005.
  • Taxe Mou (Promise Me). Released in 2019.



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.





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