Many have been charmed by this song and many (Greek choirs) have sung it way many time. But what do we know about it?
As the video creator, Angelos Kovotsos, says, “Franco Corliano wrote this beautiful song during the 70s. Its original title is “To klama” (cryng) and it is the story of farewell, as Franco told me during an interview. Husband is leaving the family. And his wife is crying as she doesn’t know when he will be back. It was the time of huge immigration from south Italy to the north or to the central Europe during the 60s.”
The language is the Modern Greek Language of Southern Italy known as Griko (sometimes spelled Grico) or Grecanic and the original lyrics are these:
Telo na mbriakefto na mi’ ppensefso
na klafso ce na jelaso telo arte vrai
ma mali rraggia evo e’ nna kantaliso
sto fengo e’ nna fonaso: o andramu pai!
E antropi ste’ mas pane, ste’ ttarassune
N’arti kali ‘us torume ettu s’ena chrono
E’ tui e zoi-mma? E’ tui e zoi, Kriste-mu?
Mas pa’ ‘ci sti Germania kleonta ma pono
-Tata, jati e’ nna pai? Pemma, jati
-Jati tui ene e zoi, mara pedia
O ttechuddhi polema ce tronni
na lipariasi ‘us patrunu m’utti fatia
Ste kuo ti banda ce ste kuo itto sono
steo ettu ma ‘sa ce ste penseo sto treno
penseo sto skotino citti miniera
pu polemonta eci peseni o jeno
I want to get drunk so I don’t think
to cry and laugh I want this night
with lots of anger to sing
my man has left.
– Our men go, they leave.
If everything goes well, we’ll see each other again in a year.
That’s our life, my Christ,
they go to Germany with tiers and pain.
– Dady, why should you go? Tell me why?
– Because that’s life, poor little kids.
The poor works and sweats
to fatten the bosses with his job.
I hear the band, I hear the music.
I’m here with you but I think of the train, too.
I think of the dark mine
where working the people are dying.