Translation of Dirlada ke teza oli

Our effort to translate and explain the Lyrics of the Pandelis Ghinis version of Dirlada.

The "DIRLADA - DIRLADADA" is a sponge diver's song. PANDELIS GHINIS was a captain on a sponge diver's boat. Thus, to understand the lyrics, even if you know Greek, you have to know a few things about sponge divers' life and their working conditions

Sponge divers started their trip to the North African coasts (so called "Barbaria") at Easter time and returned at the end of October.

They used a big boat called "Rezerva" as a storage for supplies, to store the sponges and to meet for dinner, which was the only meal they had during a day. The sponge diving was done with smaller boats most of which were operated by oars.

So sponge divers were working under the hot African sun all day, with very little hot and rusty water, with nothing around them but the open sea.

It was normal that after a while they had little courage to continue working. Their mind was at home, at food and of course at sex that have missed for months.

The purpose of Dirlada was to encourage sponge divers and to give them the rhythm while oaring. This was done by imaginary returning them to Kalymnos and offering visions of what they mostly desired at these difficult times.


Translation and explanation presented in a table format
Geek Lyrics in latin characters Translation Explanation
Eh! dirlada dirladada, da da dirladada Eh! dirlada dirladada, da da dirladada no translation
Oh! dirlada ke teza oli Oh! dirlada everybody exhausted exhausted from the work
vre gia na paroume tin Poli, courage to get the Poli (Constantinople) the expression "to get Constantinople" also means "to conquer  woman"
Oh! dirlada dirladada, apo tin Poli tin Chali Oh! dirlada dirladada, from the Poli the Chali From the inexpugnable  Chali.
Chali is a cape at the East side of Kalymnos. It belonged to the Municipality of Kalymnos who sold it to Nikolas Vouvalis the most famous and rich sponge trader. He made it his summer resort. With the money from this sale, the old port was built. It does not exist any more.
tin Atsaina tin Kali, Oh! dirlada dirladada The Kali of  Atsa, Oh! dirlada dirladada The Calliope daughter or wife of Atsas - probably another captain 
Oh! dirlada ke teza plates vre gia xanthes gia mavromates. Oh! dirlada keep your back tight for  blondes and  black-eyed  women of course
Oh! dirlada dirladada, choro ton go pou den trava
i aderfi tou me ta mas
Oh! dirlada dirladada, I can see this guy not roaring,
well his sister is with us
This is a very insulting expression for a Kalymnian man.
Oh! dirlada vre levedonia
vre ke tis Barbarias glaronia Oh! dirlada dirladada
Oh! dirlada you upstanding man you seagull of Barbaria Oh! dirlada dirladada  
vre dirlada, vre ke vradiazi, vre ki i kouverta 'nestenazi
vre ke o mageras fonazi, Oh! dirlada dirladada
vre dirlada, the night is coming, the deck is overcrowded and the cook is screaming, Oh! dirlada dirladada  
Oh! dirlada ke teza oli vre gia na paroume tin Poli,
apo tin Poli tin Chali tin Atsaina tin Kali
Oh! dirlada everybody tight to get the  Poli,
from the Poli the Chali the Kali of Atsas
repeating previous lyrics
vre ti Chali to limionari, vre ti Maria tou Lisgari
ke pano sto aspro tis podari tha pa na deso palamari
then the little port of Chali, then Maria of Lisgaris
and on her white foot I am going to belay a cable.
Maria is the daughter or wife of Lisgaris (another captain probably), while the word cable is also used to describe the male sex
Oh! dirlada dirladada,Oh! dirlada ki irten o kombos
vre sto lemo ndos ton archondo
Oh! dirlada dirladada,Oh! dirlada and the bend has reached the lords' throats The meaning of this lyric is not quite obvious.
It might mean that we are ready to kill the lords or that the lords make so much money from us that they filled their stomach and reached their throat.
irthen o kombos to Kombali, i Katerina tou Tsagari,
vre tha ti valo mes sti plori ke tha tis kamo gio ke kori
Kombali the bend arrived, Katerina of Tsagaris,
well, I am going to put her in the bow and I am going to make her a girl and a boy
Kombali and Tsagaris are probably captains.
The meaning of the rest is quite obvious.
Oh! dirlada dirladada,Oh! dirlada vre sis levendes
vre tha sas kopso 'go violendes,
vre olonon 'po ena dyo vre ke tou Giorgou den tou dino.
Oh! dirlada dirladada,Oh! dirlada you upstanding man
I am going to cut violets for you, one or two for each one,
 but I will not give none to George
 

Confirmation

Hello Nikolas

 I have discussed the part of the song ‘kobali’ with my father Ioannis and uncles George and Panormiti.

George and Panormiti confirm that Ginis was referring to my Grandfather Kapitanios Manolis Theodosiou (and indeed changed his version when my grandfather walked in when Ginis was singing this song.   

My grandafather’s nickname was Kombali.  You are correct when referring to Kombali as a Captain – this was my grandfather.  We are proud Kalymnians and honour our grandfather and our heritage. 

I was in Kalymnos in 2004 and many of the older folk recognised me as being ‘tou Kombali’.  Younger people remembered my grandfather as the man who employed their grandfather.

Kind regards,
Emmanuel Theodosiou  MAICD
Managing Director 

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