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

 Vangelis and Irene Papas: Odes (lyrics)

  1    Les 40 Braves | 40 Braves    5:14        Cover from: Odes (Irene Papas) lyrics
2 Neranzoula | Le Petit Oranger | Little Orange tree 5:51
* 3 La Danse Du Feu | Fire dance 6:03
4 Les Kolokotronei  | The Kolokotronei 3:16
5 Le Fleuve | The river 6:44
* 6 Racines | The roots 8:47
7 Lamento 8:29
8 Menousis | Menoussis 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).
Background vocals: Loa Paraschou, Sotiris Zalidis, Stathis Zalidis, Kyriacos Kajourakis, Vasilis Kapetaniannis

Engineer: Keith Spencer - Allen
Assisted by Marlis Duncklau
Recorded at Nemo studio London, 1978
Artwork: Vangelis, Alwyn Clayden
Photos: Véronique Skawinska

Copyright owned by: Spheric B.V. Holland

See also:  Greek Odes lyrics and transliteration

The music of Odes is inspired by and mostly based on traditional Greek folk songs.

Irene Papas (or Pappas) (born near Corinth as Irini Lelekou (September 3 1929  - September 14, 2022) was a Greek actress and singer with a career spanning more than 50 years!
She performed in many plays and movies. For some of the plays Vangelis provided the score.
Irene Papas sings on the last Aphrodite's Child album "666" (1971) the song 'Infinity' (oo).
The first album they made together was "Odes" (recorded in 1978).
The second album they made together was "Rapsodies" (recorded in 1986).
Lyrics transcribed from CD recording (lyrics not available on sleeve or in booklet).

Sleeve notes by Irene Papas (printed on album sleeve an cd booklet)
Son distillé et poètes anonymes
Essence éternelle d'une ancienne colonne toujours droite
Condensé d'émotions de chaque race et de chaque pays
Chansons de mon enfance
Premier son aimé et chant de ma vie
Hymne aux cycles de la cellule palpitante
Odes àl'humanité
Mémoire collective et art sélectif
Qui survivent aux siècles et traversent l'espace
Chants de temps ancient et nouveaux
Chants à partager
Chants à unir
Racine commune, mortel destin commun
Alors je les ai chantés

Irène Papas
English translation:
His distilled and anonymous poets
Eternal essence of an ancient column that is still straight
Digest of emotions of each race and each country
Songs from my childhood
First loved sound and song of my life
Hymn to the pulsating cell cycles
Odes to humanity
Collective memory and selective art
Who survive centuries and cross space
Songs of old and new times
Songs to share
Singing songs
Common root, deadly common destiny
So I sang them 

Irène Papas


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]


La danse du feu (sleeve notes:  Irene papas and Arianna Stassinopoulos

Danse, danse
Tourmoie dans l'espace, avec l'espace.
Au-delà de l'espace
Tes racines enforcées dans la terre, momtent jusqu'au ciel.
Seule, éternelle, danse
Danse les années, les siècles de passion humaine.
Danse au pouls de la terre
Spirale jusqu'au fond du ciel
Tes pas sont ceux de ta mère et de ton père
Mais tes pieds sont à toi
Ici, maintenant, insiste, persiste.
Danse la danse du feu
English translation:
Dance, dance
Swirls in space, with space.
Beyond space
Your roots in the ground, stretch to the sky.
Alone, eternal, dance
Dance the years, the centuries of human passion.
Dance to the pulse of the earth
Spiral to the bottom of the sky
Your steps are those of your mother and your father
But your feet are yours
Here, now, insist, persist.
Dance the fire dance


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.]


Racines | The roots (sleeve notes:  Irene papas and Arianna Stassinopoulos)

Espace, Souvenirs, bergers et rêves,
murmures de la plante qui pousse
cigales et libellules.
Le son des lèvres, aimées, des mères, des amants:
la racine du souffle.
l'attente tremblante de l'âme.
les ailes d'Hephaistos, coquelicots dans les blés de Pâques
Les cordes d'Apollon, ruisseaux argentés et ancienne rosée..
Et Vangelis se souvient...
English translation:
Space, Memories, shepherds and dreams,
whispers of the growing plant
cicadas and dragonflies.
The sound of lips, loved ones, mothers, lovers:
the root of the breath.
the trembling expectation of the soul.
the wings of Hephaistos, poppies in the Easter wheats
The strings of Apollo, silver streams and ancient dew.
And Vangelis remembers ...


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.

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