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Mourning Song


      Ntourou Ntourou

  When I was young, some people came and burned my village. 
I left and found a city, new and crowded, big and loud
Ntourou, ntourou was the city’s sound
So many people, so much noise.  What is this all about?
Ah, ntourou, ntourou, it rings in the new country
The young girls sing it to pass the time
Ah, sing! Sing! This ntourou makes me dizzy
Yet the girls embrace it without a thought
This ntourou that the people found, it seduced them
They followed the fashion. The girls bobbed their hair!
Oh, Mothers, give them a generous dowry
Or your daughters must sit on the shelf.



My branches tilted 
on the earth and withered 

And all the birds 
flew far, far away 

All the branches dried out 
nowhere to build my nest 

The remedies are used up 
nothing left with which to cure my heart love



There was one day long ago, 
a young girl named Vienoula, 
who claimed she wasn’t afraid of Death. 
When Death heard this he became enraged. 
He turned into a black swallow 
and sang her a song: the song of death. 
The doctors were trying to save her and her mother too. 
“You are dying my daughter, what is your last wish?” 
“Mother, farewell, please dress me as a bride. 
My love is coming back and I will not be alive. 
Please, when he comes, don’t tell him right away 
but give him food to dine. 
Then, take the ring from my finger 
and give it to him as a gift. 
A gift to love another. 
For I am getting married, 
I am taking Death as my husband.” 



A Minor from Smyrna


If you love me, and it’s a dream, better never to wake.  
In this sweet dawn, my God, may I die. 



In the far away land of dreams 
don’t be afraid, alone again to be. 
In the far away land of dreams 
may you see your most beautiful grace.



Photos | Fotini Chora