Greek Language Blog

Time for a Greek song! Posted by on Aug 29, 2019 in Culture


Γεια σας! It is time to explore Greek music, so the topic of this post is Με γέλασαν τα πουλιά, a Greek folk song from Thrace (Θράκη).
The version I chose to present is by Θανάσης Ζήκας (Thanasis Zikas) and Εύη Σεϊτανίδου (Evi Seytanidou), known as Καντινέλια (Kadinelia). If you ever have the chance to see one of their concerts in Greece, don’t miss it!


By Didgeman via Pixabay

Με γέλασαν τα πουλιά,
I was fooled by the birds
της άνοιξης τ’ αηδόνια.
the nightingales of spring
Με γέλασαν και μου `πανε,
They fooled me and told me
ποτέ δε θα πεθάνω.
I will never die

Κι έφτιασα το σπιτάκι μου
And I built (made) my little house
ψηλότερο από τ’ άλλα.
taller than the others.
Μ’ εφτά, μ’οχτώ πατώματα,
With seven, with eight floors
μ’ εξήντα παραθύρια.
with sixty windows.

Στα παραθύρια στέκομαι,
I stand by the windows
τους κάμπους αγναντεύω.
I gaze at the plains.
Βλέπω τους κάμπους πράσινους
I see the green plains
και τα βουνά γαλάζια.
and the blue mountains.

Βλέπω το Χάρο που ’ρχεται
I see Charon coming
πα στ’άλογο καβάλα
riding on his horse
Με γέλασαν τα πουλιά,
I was fooled by the birds
της άνοιξης τ ’ αηδόνια.
the nightingales of spring.

Με γέλασαν τα πουλιά,
της άνοιξης τ’ αηδόνια.


γελάω means to laugh. Γελάω κάποιον means to fool someone.
το σπιτάκι: σπίτι means house. Σπιτάκι means “small house” but in this case it is a term of endearment.
παραθύρια: from παραθύρι (παράθυρο, window), a word used mostly in folk poetry.
Χάρος (Charon) carries the souls of the dead people to the Underworld.
πα: from πάνω (on, on top of).

About Greek folk poetry:

#1. It is an oral form of poetry, so the term “Greek folk poems” is not accurate. We talk about folk songs (δημοτικά τραγούδια).
#2. Usually, the metric form is ιαμβικός δεκαπεντασύλλαβος ή πολιτικός στίχος (political verse), deriving from ancient Greek poetry. Πολιτικός is no related to politics. It refers to the verses used by common people.
#3. One of the most common topics is death. In this song, the hero believes that he will never die and builds a tall house, so that he cannot be found by Χάρος (Charon, death). However, he cannot change his fate.
#4. In general,there are no rhymes.
#5. The language is simple.

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About the Author: Ourania

Ourania lives in Athens. She holds a degree in French Literature and a Master’s degree in Special Education for Children. Since 2008, she has been teaching Greek to foreigners.