Didimotiko Blues

21 posts in this topic

 Hey Soc

Tonite I was listening to one of my favorite Rock numbers  by Dalaras with Maxeritsas 'Didimotiko Blues' and still I'm having problems to decipher the whole meaning of the song.

Can you help translate this one down into english of course?   Many thanks.

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Christo, I had similar problems but I have a quite detailed interpretation of the song, written in Greek. In the evening I can try to post it here in the Club if I have no technical problems with it (the document is quite big and I hope I can transfer it from Windows). Maybe such a (trial of) interpretation is of general interest and can be useful for a translation too.

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Thanks Michael

The greek lyrics are good

but I would really like for this to be interpreted in english.

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Didimoteixo blues, one of my all time favorites will be translated for sure and it will serve not only as an interpretation but also as message to those who insist believing in the insane nonsense stupidity called "The Army"

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Allright. Let's try. Before I start with the translation let me fiil you in. Didimoteixo is a small town north of Alexandroupolis (our webmaster's town), and it would be fair to say that it is the end of Greece. It 's a very common place for the Greeks who are doing the military service and especially for those who do not have the right connections either in the Army or in politics.

A small story behind that song (and Nikolas could correct me if I am wrong) is that when it was produced the mayor of Didimoteixo got mad and wanted to ban Dalaras from any show in this town. Later he said he would allow Dalaras to play there  if he agreed not to perform the song (I guess he didn't know who he was talking to). To make a long story short Didimoteixo is considered the absolute #### for the unlucky ones who are serving there. And something else. Military service is mandatory for all men in Greece.

Didimoteixo Blues (The Blues of Didimoteixo)

In 76 (meaning 1976) just before the sunrise

I took a ship, white as a fridge

as a hospital

In a 76, as in a bad joke,

like a cold surgery, the national monster

sent me to Xios (a greek island a few miles from the Turkish coast)

A legendary walkon with my profile shred

soaking, sweaty, rotten summer,

shorn napes

Ethnic faction, parasites, harassment,

the same clientele from cine Omonoia

(popular porn theatre in Athens)

like a cheap cologne

In 76 I closed my eyes,

I smoked a cigarette end, I disapeared from the map

Dante's ####

Like a disarmed, fake revolutionist

I had my alibi, my cripple dog,

I had my mission

I faltered "Yes Sir", two months went by,

another ten were left, and here I am in Xaidari

paides en kamino

(1. "Xaidari" is a suburb of Athens with a huge army camp. There is also a rembetico song called Xaidari, sung by George.

2. Paides en kamino is a Bible story. It would translate "young people in a furnace")

I was hiding it from everybody like a smasher

I told myself: it will pass, I am the shelterer

a gift and a nightmare

(A shelterer in the army language is a man (usually the older son) whose father has died and he is supposed to take care of his mother and any younger siblings. Shelterers have "prefferential" treatment in the greek army. They serve only a year)

Didimoteixo Blues.....

Next to me, there is Athens, like an Odysseas' siren

popular show case, the world's belly button

behind me and in front of me

Many years like a tavern, like a gnome

a state of the friends of Greece, the love of emptyness

poiitiki adeia

(According to me, a state of the friends of Greece, would mean that Greece is a country with no will and no say which acts under the commands of the big forces, you name them)

In any case, back to my story

to my green unwashed clothes, to my wakeups

to my mute watchtower

To my transfer, to my crazy violin

to my hoarse morning, to my this, to my that,

here I am in front of Didimoteixo

(1. to my crazy violin: greek expression for somebody's psychological state, although it could be interpreted in many different ways

2. my hoarse morning: probably from the cigarettes, since this is what everybody 's doing there given that there is nothing else to do

Didimoteixo blues, with an untuned guitar,

Didimoteixo blues, my lost penny,

Didimoteixo blues, my dirty (disgusting) comb

my wet cigarettes, bad fruit in the containers

Didimoteixo blues

Didimoteixo blues, it's name is the reason,

Didimoteixo blues, a hole in the map,

Didimoteixo blues, an empty photograph

this absurd (reasonless) service

my stresful masturbation

(1. stresful because of the fear to be discovered. The word masturbation is usued literaly and the word used means jerk off, masturbation is the politically correct word. In the song they use the word malakia which I am sure most of you know)

Didimoteixo blues.......

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Soc, thank you very much for the translation!

As you might know from my top 10 the 'Didimotiko Blues' is one of my favourites.

First time I heard this song was in Greece, on Karpathos, and I was there for holidays. At the hotelbar, we were in a good mood, they played this song. I remember we were listening and talking about Dalaras.

But what impressed me most was one young greek guy. His reaction to this song!! So I asked the others what's going on? And they told me, he had to go to the army next month and they told me about the meaning of this song. I felt a little ashamed, because of our 'happy time'.

I think I should have placed this to ' what a song reminds you to' , because this reaction of this young guy I'll never forget.

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Thanks for posting

maun your very good at translating.

Are you also a translator by trade between Greek and Engish?  I think you definately can be.

 Now tell me why was the mayor of that town so upset with that song? And he banned Dalaras from singing it?  I remember watching the video-clip

and there were segments in their showing the soldiers with gas masks and all, but I never knew it had anything to do with relating to the army.

 Is that what the mayor dislikes about it so much because its a political controversial song.

 Or is it because of the last line reading

 'An to meni Malaki'?

 Nevertheless, lets not forget it was NOT Dalaras who wrote this song but Lavredis Meheritsas and  Yiannis Spyropoulos_Mpar

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do you know what  the Socratic method is?

The aswers to your questions are in the post.

As for being a translator by trade, LOL, my English needs a lot of work.

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I've been wanting to buy a nice map of Greece, but, being a penny-pincher by necessity as well as nationality, I needed an excuse. Having a great liking for maps is not an excuse.

So I found another.

And, yesterday,  went to the specialist map shop in Nijmegen and asked for a map of Greece. The woman gave me the one they sell most. I said 'may I test it?' and unfolded this huuuuge thing and went and looked for Didimotiko. I couldn't find it. So I said, I want a map that has Didimoteiko on it, please. She said 'that has WHAT?'. In the end I just rifled through all their maps and found one that had all of Greece on it, and showed Didimotiko. And took it home.

So now I know where Didimotiko is.

And I haven't even heard the song yet ;)

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I have been listening to this song so often since I have the complete version of it and trying to translate and understand.

First from Greek to Dutch, than from Dutch to English.

Than I suddenly thought of it that I should check first wether it has been translated before. And of course it is, before I was a member.

It's a little different the way I translated it and that's because I didn't know about the history of it and the notes that Soc added.

So now, it makes much more sense to me.

It made me read this whole topic. And guess what ? I have Didimotiko on my map.  ;)


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Talking of this song I saw the video on the TV yesterday for the first time, with Dalaras singing with Macharitsas.  It was a strange video and now I now the translation made a lot more sense then it would have done otherwise.

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After hearing it live a number of times at the Arena this winter, I thought I'd have serious go at the lyrics of this song. I've always avoided it, not only because it's really difficult from the language point of view, but mostly because it upset me really badly.

So, it still is quite difficult from the language point of view, but not half as bad as I remembered. And it still upsets me but I've found the remedy: learn the lyrics by heart and sing.

So as a first step I went and fetched the lyrics and started translating, without re-reading the older translations and comments. And since this is very definitely the kind of song where you can make ten translations, all different, and all equally correct and equally treasonable, I thought I'd post the result.

ΔΙΔΥΜΟΤΕΙΧΟ BLUES _____||_____ Didimoteicho blues

Μουσική: Λαυρέντης Μαχαιρίτσας_____||_____ Music: Lavrentis Machaitsas

Στίχοι: Γιάννης Σπυρόπουλος_____||_____ Lyrics: Giannis Spyropoulos

Το 76 λίγο πριν να φέξει_____||_____ In '76, just before first daylight,

πήρα ένα πλοίο άσπρο σαν ψυγείο_____||_____ I went aboard a ship, it was white like a fridge

σαν νοσοκομείο_____||_____ or like a hospital

Το 76 σαν χοντρό αστείο_____||_____ In '76, like a dirty joke,

κρύο χειρουργείο το εθνικό θηρίο_____||_____ the national beast by a cold surgical operation

μ' έστειλε στη Χίο_____||_____ packed me off to Chios.

Θρυλικός κομπάρσος με προφίλ κουρέλα_____||_____ Me for the legendary side-kick with the ragged profile

λούτσα στον ιδρώτα σάπιο καλοκαίρι_____||_____ bathing in sweat, the summer rotting away,

κουρεμένοι σβέρκοι_____||_____ clean-shaved necks

Εθνική διχόνοια τράκες και καψόνια_____||_____ National non-union, cadging and harassment

ίδια πελατεία απ' το σινέ Ομόνοια_____||_____ Omonia porn cinema has the same crowd

σαν φτηνή κολώνια_____||_____ like cheap after-shave

Το 76 έκλεισα τα μάτια_____||_____ In '76 I closed my eyes

κάπνισα μια γόπα σβήστηκα απ' το χάρτη_____||_____ smoked a fag and got wiped off the map

κόλαση του Δάντη_____||_____ Dante's helll

Σαν παροπλισμένος ψευτοεπαναστάτης_____||_____ Like a fake revolutionary in retirement

είχα τ' άλλοθί μου το κουτσό σκυλί μου_____||_____ I had my alibi ready, my lame dog,

την αποστολή μου_____||_____ my mission

Τραύλιζα διατάξτε έσυρα δυο μήνες_____||_____ I stuttered "at your orders", spent two months crawling

μείναν' άλλοι δέκα να 'μαι στο Χαϊδάρι_____||_____ another ten to go, to spend in Chaidari

Παίδες Εν Καμίνω_____||_____ in the burning fiery furnace

Το 'κρυβα απ' όλους σαν παραχαράκτης_____||_____ I had been hiding it from everyone like a faker

είπα θα περάσει ήμουνα προστάτης_____||_____ hoping to get off lightly, being a "protector"

Δωρ κι Εφιάλτης_____||_____ What a gift, what a nightmare

Διδυμότειχο blues_____||_____ Didimoteicho blues

Διδυμότειχο blues_____||_____ Didimoteicho blues

Διδυμότειχο blues_____||_____ Didimoteicho blues

Δίπλα μου η Αθήνα του Οδυσσέα σειρήνα_____||_____ Next to me lay Athens, like Odysseas' siren

λαϊκή βιτρίνα ομφαλός του κόσμου_____||_____ Showcase of the people, navel of the world,

πίσω μου κι εμπρός μου_____||_____ behind too, and before me

Χρόνια σαν ταβέρνα σαν καλικατζούρα_____||_____ Years like a tavern, years like goblins,

κράτος φιλελλήνων του κενού η λατρεία_____||_____ The philhellenes reigning, adoring the void

ποιητική αδεία_____||_____ Poetic license

Εν πάση περιπτώση πίσω στα δικά μου_____||_____ Anyway, back to my own business

στα χακιά άπλυτά μου στα εγερτήριά μου_____||_____ to my unwashed army green, to my reveille

στη μουγκή σκοπιά μου_____||_____ to my dumb sentry-box

Στη μετάθεσή μου στο τρελό βιολί μου_____||_____ to my transfer, to my crazed violin,

στο βραχνό πρωινό μου στο έτσι αλλιώς κι αλλιώτικο_____||_____ to my hoarse breakfast, to my this that and the other

μπρος στο Διδυμότειχο_____||_____ on to Didimoteicho

Διδυμότειχο blues με ξεκούρδιστη κιθάρα_____||_____ Didimoteicho blues, on an out-of-tune guitar

Διδυμότειχο blues η χαμένη μου πεντάρα_____||_____ Didimoteicho blues, my lost penny

Διδυμότειχο blues η λιγδιασμένη μου τσατσάρα_____||_____ Didimoteicho blues, my greasy comb

τα βρεγμένα μου τσιγάρα σάπια φρούτα στα τελάρα_____||_____ my cigarettes soaked, the fruit rotting in the crates

Διδυμότειχο blues_____||_____ Didimoteicho blues

Διδυμότειχο blues τ' όνομά του είναι αιτία_____||_____ Didimoteicho blues, your name is to blame

Διδυμότειχο blues τρύπα στη γεωγραφία_____||_____ Didimoteicho blues, a hole in the fabric of the world

Διδυμότειχο blues αδειανή φωτογραφία_____||_____ Didimoteicho blues, an empty photograph

του παράλογου η θητεία αγχωμένη μαλακία_____||_____ serving for absurdity, wanking for anxiety,

Διδυμότειχο blues_____||_____ Didimoteicho blues

Most of the notes you might want are in Socrate's earlier posts.

Let me just say that I used the term "philhellenes" because that's the term used from the beginning, by themselves as well as by others, to designate the foreign powers who acted as Greece's patrons from the time it sought to free itself from the Turkish empire in the early nineteenth century, and ever since. Mostly they seem to be of the kind "with friends like that, who the helll needs enemies".

Also, I looked up the "Fiery furnace" bit, in Greek «παίδες εν καμίνο»:

(Daniel 3:14-20) «Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated. And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. » (And so on and so forth.........

I couldn't resist quoting it, it's so horridly old-testamentish... and it affords a nice example of English from about four hundred years ago, when they still had the "thou"/"ye"/ "thee" for "εσύ"/"εσένα", before they started to use the polite plural to everyone and, as a consequence, it stopped being polite (in economics they call this inflation, I think).

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Oh, Geske,what are you doing now?

I think you have to serve to the Greek army now that you learned to sing Didimoteiho blues!!!!!

Besides, you made me remember my years in the army!!!.....

I have to add my knowledge about this particular song and make a few corrections to your (very good) translation.I will do this because I want to make you better understand the history of this particular song.

It was written by Laventis Mahairitsas while serving his military duty in Didimoteicho, a small town near the Greek - Turkish border.He was then a soldier in a signal troop battalion.(That's why the lyrics say "μείναν' άλλοι δέκα να 'μαι στο Χαϊδάρι_____||_____ another ten to go, to spend in Chaidari"

Chaidari is the training camp of the signal troops,a suburb of Athens).He was transferred to Didimoteiho after completing his training.When the song was released,it became an instant hit for all Greek soldiers serving their duty,because of the following verses:

Διδυμότειχο blues τ' όνομά του είναι αιτία_____||___ Didimoteicho blues, its name is to blame

Διδυμότειχο blues τρύπα στη γεωγραφία_____||___ Didimoteicho blues, a hole in the map (of Greece)

Διδυμότειχο blues αδειανή φωτογραφία_____||_____ Didimoteicho blues, an empty photograph

του παράλογου η θητεία αγχωμένη μαλακία_____||__(military) duty sacrificed to absurdity, wanking for anxiety,

Διδυμότειχο blues_____||_____ Didimoteicho blues

When a soldier wanted to tell another fellow soldier that he was in very difficult situation he didn't like at all, he usually referred to it as "being in (a) Didimoteiho blues (situation)".

As a result,the song was forbidden to be played in all army barracks and it caused much irritation to the people that live in Didimoteicho because of the insulting lyrics about it.The mayor of Didimoteiho even forbid Dalaras to give any concert in the area!

Having done my duty in the same place made me understand the feelings Mahairitsas had and wanted to write on paper.


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Gianni, thanks for the comments, but you could have saved yourself a lot of typing if you'd read soc's earlier posts...

Apart from that, nothing personal, but I'd rather be shot at dawn than be made to serve in any army whatsoever.

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(Did you hear the sound of my boot,I have to make it louder)

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

I could have saved my typing,but you made me recall lots of memories of Didimoteicho....only if you have been there as a soldier and the situations in the army day and night ,you will understand the song and the reason it was written.It's not just one of my favorite songs,it is a part of my military duty memories!!! Before going there as a soldier, I remember singing it and the main reason was that I liked the voice of Dalaras,two years later, having been through the absurd situations I faced,I began to love it more because of the lyrics of Lavrentis.


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Οι στιχοι δεν ειναι του Μαχαιριτσα αλλα του Γιαννη "Μπαχ" Σπυροπουλου, οπως και η εμπειρια.

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