------NEW: TRANSLATED LYRICS for "As the winds die down" (not included in the album booklet)-----

On this album I challenged myself to compose melodies in the strict folk forms of Cretan music as well as to explore the treasures of Cretan poetry and its idiomatic expression. The poetic form, called mantinada, is almost exclusively iambic 15-syllable couplets that rhyme (with the exception of a freer form used for Rizitika) and these lyrics are sung on traditional or original melodies which also serve to accompany specific Cretan folk dances (syrto, pentozali, maleviziotis etc).

I composed 8 songs in collaboration primarily with Mitsos Stavrakakis, a much loved and very acknowledged Cretan poet (mantinadologos, as they are called), as well as with two other poets, Giorgos Dagalakis and the deceased Nikos Andreadakis. The two singers, Vassilis Stavrakakis and Giorgos Manolakis are two of Crete’s foremost singers today.

In the liner notes of this album I chose not to include translations of the mantinades for two reasons. Firstly, because I never thought that this very idiomatic project would attract the interest of people outside of Crete, let alone outside of Greece, but mainly because I find it almost impossible to transmit the atmosphere and the connotations of these words, some of which have no corresponding ones in English.

Translating poetry is anyway an extremely difficult task, let alone when the poetry is folk, very idiomatic and talks mainly about love, flowers, lemon trees, weather conditions, shepherds’ life or trimming vegetable fields …However, the way these common or seemingly ordinary topics are transformed into symbols of very strong feelings, or complex philosophical thoughts, the humor often hidden behind combinations of words and the images and colors that are revealed by the use of such simple concepts, is to me somewhat magical. The words denoting love are numerous, depending on at what stage of the relationship one finds oneself, or if it is a fruitful or a desperate one, there are also specific flowers for specific types of women, just as the names of various winds, depending on if they blow from the South or the North, relate to different feelings…So the task becomes very complicated and the mission quite impossible, at least for me…

Despite these difficulties, I decided to try…
In the translations below I did my best not to change too many words or try to beautify or disguise their simplicity into something intellectual, because the beauty and the wisdom of Cretan poetry reveals itself in its very naivety.

1.AS THE WINDS DIE DOWN (lyrics: Mitsos Stavarakakis, *Nikos Andreadakis)

Woe to those who love and then reject. May they never sow or reap
nor collect a single grape from the vineyard of joy

*I felt joy that I thought I would never know
but now I have so much that I can offer to others

As the winds die down and the storms pass
I will come to you, my flowered garden, to prune you

2.RAIN (lyrics: Mitsos Stavarakakis)

It's raining. The soil is wet, and the flowers are fresh
but I am still burning with a fire of pain and suffering

That which is written in the soul, both good and bad, can never be erased
and the responsibility weighs eternally on the hand of the writer

I chased after excess and I lost what little I had
and now I am encircled by pain with no escape

3.THE TREE’S SONG (lyrics: Kelly Thoma)

Tell me tree, how do you bear your roots
how are you not jealous of the birds and of the travelers
who come to rest on your branches and under your fresh shade
singing in whispers what they’ve seen
recalling as they narrate the suns and the moons
before departing to beautiful faraway places.
But you have these fetters planted in the earth
and you are waiting all alone

4.MY HEART IS TREMBLING (lyrics: Mitsos Stavarakakis)

My heart is trembling with fear that you might
get used to foreign lands and never come back, my little bird

The pain of longing for you, grew roots in the first layer of my heart
that pain which our separation planted in me

5.KONTYLIES OF ARMANOGEIA (lyrics: Mitsos Stavarakakis, *Giorgos Dagalakis)

In the garden of my heart a little flower is blooming
and I’ll be damned if I know what its scent is …

Violet, you needed no water, so why did I water you?
and now I can’t leave you dry, not even for one hour

Your love is a wild and tempestuous river
and whoever is in its way loses heart and mind

Take care of the fire of love so that it never dies
because my life would be full of darkness without it

When someone is in love, he can’t express his joy
he won’t exchange his girl for the whole world

Come this night again inside my embrace
and let’s steal another ten days from Death

Uninvited like the rain, which suddenly bursts
your love has started a crazy dance inside my heart

Like an angry wind descending from the mountains
your love sweeps away all in its path

*Thousands and thousands of colors adorn the dusk
at the moment that the darkness and the light unite and separate

I am washed by the very first light of sunrise and the last of the sunset
the moment you look at me in the eyes, miracle of nature

6.YOUR DARK SIDE (lyrics: Mitsos Stavarakakis)

Your graceful body is washed by the light of a full moon
and you have the glow of love and the look of a lily

Let me see your dark side
and if you hide a secret I will not reveal it

7.MADNESS AND REASON (lyrics: Mitsos Stavarakakis)

The line between madness and reason is as thin as a hair
they blossom in the same garden and they are watered by the same hand

Death takes the souls and love takes the hearts
would you be young without a heart or old with a soul?

8.THREAD (lyrics: Kelly Thoma)

Your steps are small and the way is long
but I will be waiting here for you to finally arrive

Take the one end of the thread and I will hold the other
and let’s together weave a silken embrace