Description of Dirlada ke teza oli

The version of Pandelis Ghinis

The following description comes from the CD by Lykeion ton Hellnidon"

24. O DIRLADA KAI TEZA OLOI (couplets)

The song which is superbly rendered by "Captain" Pandelis Ghinis, is based on the well known "Dirlada", that it has been popular on Kalymnos for a very long time. However the verses of this particular version are - as is generally admitted - the singer's own.

"Dirlada", which we encounter in several versions and in a number of variants, is a work song, which might be sung oil-press to hearten the workers tolling at the hand-press of the time, or in the boats during the processing of sponges, or when pulling the oars.

The tune but also the name, seem to be related to similar songs of the peoples of North Africa, with whom the Kalymnians long maintained - and still maintain - close relations, owing to the islanders' sponge-diving activities along the coasts of Egypt and Cyrenaica.

The musicologist Samuel Baud-Bovy speaks of tunes that are common to the peoples of the Mediterranean. We encounter such tunes in Kalymnos, as well (see the Smuggler's Song. CD Lyceum Club of Greek Women, Kalymnos Annex).

In the years after the last world war, it began to be danced on Kalymnos in a manner reminiscent of Arabic dances, "arapika", as they were called; that is, it was danced by couples, as a face-to-face, and the steps were quick and springy. The song is begun by one singer, the rest of the group joining in at the "break" and repeating the words.

"Kapetan Pandelis" Ghinis was discovered in the '60s by Domna Samiou, under whose directions were recorded the outstanding songs, the "Aghanda Yialessa' and the "Dirlada", which were recorded by Polygram. Today, as Domna Samiou herself confesses, she no longer remembers the names of the musicians who accompanied the song. Vivid in her memory, on the other hand, remains the extraordinary personality and fine voice of the late lamented "Kapetan Ghinis". P.M.

(translator note): The lyrics are practically impossible to translate, as they are mostly of a topical nature. The place-names mentioned, the mocking references to certain individuals and events can only be understood and appreciated by an audience who is "in the know".

Our note: Read our translation and explanation of the lyrics  

Song: Captain Pandelis Ghinis and a group of men directed by Domna Samiou.

dirlada description 1st page dirlada description 2nd page

CDs by Lykeion ton Hellinidon

  • Telephone - Fax: 0030-22430-24465


Lykeion ton Hellnidon CD 2001 republication of a 1982 recording with some new additions. Totally 48 songs in 2 CDs.

It includes a small book with rare and very interesting photos, description of the songs and their lyrics both in Greek and in English.

In this CD you will find the pre-recording version of DIRLADA along with the first recording of it by captain Pandelis Ginnis.


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Kalymnos Island