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

Σουλτάνα
(Soultana Pilea)

(Sultana of Pilea)

 

 

This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to the popular Greek song "Soultana Pilea" (Σουλτάνα), whose original artist is unknown. 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 song "Soultana" goes with the karsilama 9/8 rhythm and dance. Its roots trace back to Greek Macedonia, to a town called Pilea (Πυλαια) which lies up north near Thessaloniki. "Soultana" is considered an old traditional song and dance. "Soultana" means queen, but it is also a Greek female name. The exact origins of the music and lyricist are unknown because the song dates back at least several centuries!

 

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Lyrics

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

Greek Lyrics

Pronunciation

English Translation

Ήβγα Σουλτάνα μου Ivga Sultana mou sto parathiri Come out, my Sultana (1)
στο παραθύρι sto parathiri by the window.
Ήβγα Σουλτάνα μου Ivga Sultana mou sto parathiri Come out, my Sultana (1)
στο παραθύρι sto parathiri by the window.
     
να δεις τον ήλιο na dis ton ilio To see the sun
και το φεγγάρι ke to fegari and the moon.
να δεις τον Τούρκο na dis ton Tourko To see the Turk
που θα σε πάρει pou tha se pari that will take you [away to marry you].
να δεις τον ήλιο na dis ton ilio To see the sun
και το φεγγάρι ke to fegari and the moon.
να δεις τον Τούρκο na dis ton Tourko To see the Turk
που θα σε πάρει pou tha se pari that will take you [away to marry you].
     
Δεν τουν ηθέλω den toun ithelo I don't want him.
δεν τουν ηπαίρνω den toun iperno I won't take him.
Δεν τουν ηθέλω den toun ithelo I don't want him.
δεν τουν ηπαίρνω den toun iperno I won't take him.
Ρωμιά γεννήθ'κα Romia yenithika I was born Romia. (2)
Ρωμιά πεθαίνω Romia petheno I will die Romia.
τον Τούρκο άντρα ton Tourko andra The Turk for a husband —
΄γω δεν τοuν παίρνω 'go den toun perno I will not take him.
Ρωμιά γεννήθ'κα Romia yenithika I was born Romia. (2)
Ρωμιά πεθαίνω Romia petheno I will die Romia.
τον Τούρκο άντρα ton Tourko andra The Turk for a husband —
΄γω δεν τοuν παίρνω 'go den toun perno I will not take him.
Πάρτοuν Σουλτάνα μου Partoun Sultana mou Take him, my Sultana —
έχει καίκι ehi kaiki he has a little fishing boat. (3)
πάρτοuν Σουλτάνα μου Partoun Sultana mou Take him my Sultana —
έχει καίκι ehi kaiki he has a little fishing boat. (3)
θα σε πηγαίνει tha se piyeni He will take you
στη Σαλονίκη sti Saloniki to Saloniki. (4)
θα σε πηγαίνει tha se piyeni He will take you
στη Σαλονίκη sti Saloniki to Saloniki. (4)
     
Πάρτοuν Σουλτάνα μου Partoun Sultana mou Take him, my Sultana,
Έχει βαπόρι ehi vapori he has a steam boat.
Πάρτοuν Σουλτάνα μου Partoun Sultana mou Take him, my Sultana,
Έχει βαπόρι ehi vapori he has a steam boat.
θα σε γυρίζει tha se yirizi He will take you around
Σμύρνη και Πόλη Smirni ke Poli to Smyrna and Poli (4)
θα σε γυρίζει tha se yirizi He will take you around
Σμύρνη και Πόλη Smirni ke Poli to Smyrna and Poli (4)
     
Δεν τουν ηθέλω den toun ithelo I don't want him.
δεν τουν ηπαίρνω den toun iperno I won't take him.
Δεν τουν ηθέλω den toun ithelo I don't want him.
δεν τουν ηπαίρνω den toun iperno I won't take him.
Ρωμιά γεννήθ'κα Romia yenithika I was born Romia. (2)
Ρωμιά πεθαίνω Romia petheno I will die Romia.
τον Τούρκο άντρα ton Tourko andra The Turk for a husband —
΄γω δεν τοuν παίρνω 'go den toun perno I will not take him.
Ρωμιά γεννήθ'κα Romia yenithika I was born Romia. (2)
Ρωμιά πεθαίνω Romia petheno I will die Romia.
τον Τούρκο άντρα ton Tourko andra The Turk for a husband —
΄γω δεν τοuν παίρνω 'go den toun perno I will not take him.
     

λαι, λαι, λαι, λαι λα λα
λαι λαι λαι λαι λα λα
λα λα λα λα λα λα λα

lai lai lai lai lai lai
lai lai lai lai lai lai
lai lai lai lai lai lai lai
la la la la la la
la la la la la la
la la la la la la la
  1. This could either mean "Queen" or be a woman's name.
  2. The Greeks never really called ourselves Greek. This is a colonizer term. We are Hellenes, and Greece is called Hellas. We were also referred to as Rum / Romios / Romia.
  3. The lyrics don't actually mention the word "fishing", but that's the kind of boat a kaiki is.
  4. This is a reference to the town of Thessaloniki, which is some distance from Pirea.
  5. "Poli" refers to Constantinople.

 

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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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