Hey, you young klephts,
you sons of Samarina,
if you go up to the mountains, the Samarina way
[don’t fire off shots, don’t belt out songs].
And if my mum and cunning sister ask you
don’t tell them I got killed and that I am dead,
just tell them I got married and that lam wed.
I took my tombstone for mother-in-law,
the black earth for wife.
Translated by Michael Eleftheriou
Eσείς, μωρέ, παιδιά κλεφτόπουλα,
παιδιά της Σαμαρίνας, μωρέ, παιδιά καημένα,
παιδιά της Σαμαρίνας, κι ας είστε λερωμένα.
Κι αν πάτε απάνω στα βουνά κατά τη Σαμαρίνα,
[ντουφέκια να μη ρίξετε, τραγούδια να μην πείτε],
κι αν σας ρωτήσει η μάνα μου κι η δόλια η αδερφή μου,
μην πείτε πως σκοτώθηκα, πως είμαι σκοτωμένος,
[μόν’ πείτε πως παντρεύτηκα, πως είμαι παντρεμένος,
πήρα την πλάκα πεθερά, τη μαύρη γης γυναίκα].
A song of the Aromuni / Vlachs of Northern Pindus which is sung in Greek.
Samarina is a mountain village in the prefecture of Grevena, one of the highest in the Balkans. Home to shepherds, it flourished in the late 19th century. Although the provenance of the hero varies from version to version, popular tradition links the song to the men of Samarina who, during the struggle for national independence which began in 1821, fought at the siege of Mesolonghi and were killed as the Greek forces withdrew (1826). The lyrics express their dying wish: that their loved ones should not learn of and be saddened by their death. Formerly sung as a lament or a slow and sad wedding song, it was never danced.
The song was widely known and much-loved. Between 1927 and 1936, it was recorded six times in Greece and the US, and it is always played and danced at celebrations. The dance is a syrtós with three steps to a 4/4 rhythm.
Miranda Terzopoulou (2018)
Studio recording, 1979.
Watch a different version of the song by Domna Samiou