Smyrna, Asia Minor and Constantinople (B)



The first part of this post is at:


We continue our story about Smyrna and Asia Minor urban songs before the disaster of 1922-1923.

Two songs of the City-Constantinople

From foreign lands (Aπό ξένο τόπο )

This is one of the most famous songs of Asia Minor. It origin is Sephardic Shabbat song of the 16th century. The melody traveled through the Mediterranean and probably in Italy it got the lyrics of Fel –Shara- “The girl with beautiful dark eyes”.  The melody flew  further east to Constantinople to the suburb of Üsküdar which was the Ancient Greek Chrysopolis, and had gotten Greek lyrics. Then the melody came to Alexandria in Egypt and in the 1950s Eartha Kitt sang it in English, her famous Üskudara*

Areti Ketime , in a tribute concert to Smyrneika. (caps)


Our second song with the aroma of the City is the famous “Farewell, Holy Mary” (Έχε γεια Παναγιά) .The song was written in Constantinople and Domna Samiou, the notable folk music collector brought its popularity back in the 1970s.  Here is Glikeria in a tribute to Asia Minor (caps).**



The old and the modern-two famous songs

The following songs are amazing. They are 100 years old and more, got many versions throughout the generations and they are still hits in our days as audience from all ages reacts enthusiastically to the modern versions.

The children of your neighborhood (Τα παιδιά της γειτονιάς σου) is one of Smyrneika classics.

The first recording was in 1910 in Constantinople. The most famous version was recorded in 1926 in New York by the important Greek singer of the time Marika Papagkika  (Μαρίκα Παπαγκίκα, 1890-1943).


Eleni Tsaligopoulou brings a great modern version that combines traditional and rocky elements. , the music here begins slowly and traditionally, reflecting the drunken speaker, and then the rock  gradually dominates the scene. (caps)



I will break glasses (Θα σπάσω κούπες). The oldest version on YouTube goes as far as 1907 by Yorgos Tsanakas and Lefteris Menemenelis (Γιώργος Τσανάκας – Λευτέρης Μενεμενλής).

Almost 90 years later, in 1995 Eleftheria Arvanitaki, Ara Dinkjian and his band were exciting the young audience with a spectacular musical performance, full of passion. Twenty two years have passed since then and this song is still capturing the new young generation…

I will break cups for the words you said
And glasses for the bitter words

Aman aman, I am burning
Aman aman I love you

Yesterday night I saw in my dream
that your hair was falling freely on my neck

Aman aman, I am burning
Aman aman I love you




* Video of Fel-Shara and then Sephardic Shabbat song in Hebrew:

A video of Ertha Kitt’s Üskudara

** Domna Samiou, Yehudi Menuhin – Ehe geia, Panagia (70’s)

 See links at part A of this post


Many thanks to my friend Katerina

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: