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Vangelis and Irene Papas lyrics - Odes lyrics (English translation)

 Vangelis and Irene Papas: Odes (lyrics)

  1    Les 40 Braves    5:14        Cover from: Odes (Irene Papas) lyrics
2 Neranzoula (Le Petit Oranger) 5:51
* 3 La Danse Du Feu 6:03
4 Les Kolokotronei 3:16
5 Le Fleuve 6:44
* 6 Racines 8:47
7 Lamento 8:29
8 Menousis 6:37
Total playing time 51:24

* = instrumental (composed by Vangelis)

Arranged, performed and produced by Vangelis
(Greek) Lyrics: Irene papas and Arianna Stassinopoulos.
Based on traditional vocal material (about [among other things] the Greek resistance to the Ottoman Empire in the beginning of the 19th Century).
Recorded at Nemo studios London (1978).
Copyright owned by: Spheric B.V. Holland

See also:  Greek Odes lyrics and transliteration

Lyrics transcribed from CD recording (lyrics not available on sleeve or in booklet).


Les 40 braves lyrics (40 Pallikaria) [40 young men]

[40 young men form Levadeia go to conquer Tripolitsa. In their way they meet an old man.]

- "Good day to you, old man"
- "Welcome, my youths; where are you going, young men?
"Where are you going, my youths?"
- "We are going to conquer Tripolitsa"

[This is one of the best-known traditional songs, and refers to an incident during the last years of 18th century or early 19th; Lebadeia is in central Greece, Tripolitsa in the center of the Peloponnese. The geography does not make sense, but I have read that the song refers to a small village near Lebadeia, called Drombolitsa, which is abandoned now and only confused with Tripolitsa because of the similar names. The poem is longer: The 40 were caught by the authorities, and when the old man heard it, he went to the bey of the place and demanded their release:]

- "I am Tzavellas, the leader of the klephts, and if you don't give them to me, I will burn your village"

[Klephts were the guerilla fighters against the Ottomans]


Neranzoula lyrics (Le petit oranger) [Little bitter-orange tea]

"Bushy Neratzoula, where are your flowers, neratzoula? where is your former beauty? where is your beauty?" *
"The North Wind blew and shook them off, neratzoula. I beg you, my North Wind, blow quietly, neratzoula"

*[there are different words for the two "beauty"s]
[The repetition of a word (here "neratzoula") is quite usual in folk songs, although it is simply parenthetic and is not connected with the rest of the phrase. After all, the North wind stuff is told by the tree to the passer-by]


Les Kolokotronei lyrics [The Kolokotronis family]

"The sun shines on the mountains; it shines on the valleys. That's how the klepht family of the Kolokotronis shines, who have the large amounts of silver, the silver swords. They don't deign to set foot on the ground. They go to church on horseback; they worship the icons on horseback; they take the sacred bread from the priest's hand on horseback."

[The Kolokotronei were so important that they didn't simply have riches; they had *THE* riches. The use of the definite article emphasizes their singular place in the folklore, as does their outrageous behavior in church, which among other things is impossible, since people worship the icons by bowing and kissing them; how could they do it while riding a horse?). Kolokotronis was an important family of klephts, several generations of them were famous, and the most famous was Theodore Kolokotronis who was the greatest hero of the War of Greek Independence in the 1820's, but they were not particularly rich. But there are many legends about the family. According to one of them, the name (which sounds as if it contains the words kolos (meaning ass) and kotroni (meaning stone) came from an incident when one of them was shot in the ass during a battle and since the spectacle was not exactly dignified he sat on a stone to hide his bloodied ass!).]


Le fleuve lyrics (To potami) [the river]

"River, {tzanem} my river {hai, hai}, my river, when you swirl and beat and wave, take me, tzanem my river, hai hai, take me with your waves and your turns, my river."

[The words in {} have no meaning in Greek (tzanem sounds turkish), but as usual, they are there for the sound, plus you have constant repetitions.]


Lamento lyrics (Miroloi) [Lament]

- "Little white fisherman's boat, why are you decorated?"
- "His mother has decorated me, and she sends me into the black earth."
- "Don't cover me, sky; don't press me, soil; because I am not done enjoying my youth yet"
- "Which sky, which sea, which fountain doesn't turn dark? Which mother loses her child and doesn't melt from sorrow?"

[Oh boy I'm not sure who says what to whom here. It seems somebody asks the boat; the boat answers, and then the dead fisherman asks the sky and the earth not to be buried, and then somebody makes the general remark that the entire nature mourns the guy and a mother whose child dies will melt from sorrow. I left the word construction as close to the original as possible.]


Menousis lyrics

[Menousis, Mpirmpilis and Mehmet-aga, went to the wine-seller's to eat and drink. While they were eating, while they were drinking, While they were rejoicing, somebody started talking about beautiful women.]

- "What a beautiful wife you have, Mehmet-aga!" *
- "Where have you seen her? How do you know her and speak about her?"
- "I met her yesterday by the well while she was drawing water, and I asked her for a little kiss and she gave it to me" [see note below]

[Menousis, drunk, went to his house and killed her. Next morning, sober, he was lamenting her:]

- "Get up, my duck; get up, my goose, get up and change your clothes, so that the youths will see you and rejoice!"

*[There is a mistake here, because the song is about Menousis and his wife; it should be Menousi-aga, the "aga" simply a polite addition and not the actual title of Aga]

[NOTE: Vangelis has taken liberties here; the words should be: "I met her yesterday by the well while she was drawing water, and I asked her for water and she gave me, and I gave her my handkerchief and she washed it, and I asked her for a little kiss and she gave it to me", and later, it should be "so that the youths will see you and burn [presumably from desire], and I will see you and rejoice" and the kissing part is doubtful; because according to the standards of the time he would have been quite justified in killing her if she had kissed another guy and he bragged about it, and of course he wouldn't want other young men to enjoy her beauty! (I read recently that in folk poetry, giving a handkerchief and having it washed was a euphemism for having sex). The song must refer to a real incident, and the existence of the Turkish Mehmet-aga means it was before 1820]


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Transcribing of the Greek lyrics, translation and additional comments by PERICLES KONDOS (received via Fergus Lalor)

For more information, go to Movements, Odes page and 

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