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PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.




This page contains a translation into English of the lyrics to the popular Greek song "Mandoubala" (Μαντουμπάλα), which was sung by Stelios Kazantzidis. The Greeks will also sometimes spell it as "Mandouvala" (Μαντουβάλα). Both spellings are considered equally correct.

Also included is a pronunciation guide for the Greek lyrics so you can sing along if you like.

For more information about the laiko and rebetiko styles of music, see Introduction to Laiko / Rebetiko Music elsewhere on this web site.

The song was inspired by a beautiful Bollywood actress, Mumtaz Jehan Dehlavi, who was nicknamed Mandoubala. In English, her name is often spelled "Madhubala". She started acting in films at age 9 to help her family make ends meet. In her day, she achieved iconic status, and was considered the Marilyn Monroe of India. She was at the peak of her career around 1958-1960, and this song "Mandoubala" was released in 1959. During this period, movies from India were quite popular in Greece and Turkey, and Indian music influenced the compositions in Greece and Turkey at the time.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: The photo shows Mandoubala, the Bollywood actress who inspired this song.

Song lyrics are provided for educational purposes. If you like the song, please purchase either the album or a download from an authorized source.


About Stelios Kazantzidis, the Original Artist

The legendary Stelios Kazantzidis was born August 29, 1931 in Athens Greece, specifically Nea Ionia. He is among the most beloved musicians of our time. His music and words never get old. He was of Asia Minor and Pondian (Greek Anatolian) descent. Stelios or, as many love to call him, Stelara, was also loved due to his character and simplicity in life. Sadly, he did not make much from profit from his career as he was taken advantage of.

Stelios' music is all about love, immigration, pain, refugee, and poverty as is most music of this time. He is considered one of the fathers of Laiko music. Stelara has touched many people's lives. He remained so humble and simple until cancer took his last breath in 2001.

“I sing for the poor, the immigrants and the suffering people… generally for the lower social classes. They can’t go to the expensive night clubs. They buy my discs and they regard them as their Gospels.” – Stelios Kazantzidis

Personal notes by the translator:

The music of Stelios Kazantzidis is very dear to my heart. My grandmother and grandfather were often referred to as the young Kazantzidis and Marinella, while singing at family gatherings. Marinella was Stelios' first wife, and his biggest love.

If you want to impress Greeks, you need to remember Stelios' name. As much as Princess Diana was loved, so was Stelios. People cry black tears to his music.

Stelios Kazantzidis

About Eftihia Papayiannopoulou, the Lyricist

Many people incorrectly believe this song "Mandoubala" was written by Stelios Kazantzidis, the original artist. The lyrics were actually written by a very famous lyricist named Eftihis Papayiannopoulou, whose nickname was EE Gria (the old lady).

A book by Nearho Georgiadi called Theodore Derveniotis and the Post Civil War Music discusses lawsuits and claims filed against Kazantzidis because he did not provide proper credit to the songwriters when the song was released on a record album. Some rumors say that they began to write it together, but factual information is not available to corroborate this.

The legendary Eftihia Xatzigeorgiou (Papayiannopoulou) was born in 1893, in the city of Aydin, which is close to Smyrna (today known as Izmir in Turkey). As a Greek Anatolian refugee, she felt the life, pain and suffering. Her talents as a lyricist in the 1950s through 1960s drew the attention of some of the greatest Laiko – Rebetes of that time. Her collaborations Apostolos Kaldaras, Stelios Kazandzidis, Vasilis Tsitsanis and Manos Hadjidakis, Manolis Hiotis, Babis Bakalis, to name a few.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: Eftihia Papayiannopoulou.

Eftihia had a falling out with Stelios Kazandzidis and Vasilis Tsitsanis regarding lyrics and intellectual property rights. In this era, women were not highly regarded and respected. The man always dominated and had the final word. Many of these men did not want others to know that there was a women behind their succuessful songs.

There is much judgment and criticism againt the legendary Eftihia Papayiannopoulou because she was an avid tzogadora (gambler). She lost her husband and daughter all within a close period, which led her to turn to it. Gambling is an addiction, and they should not be judged. In her desperation to have fast money she felt the need to sell the rights to her songs as opposed to retaining the rights to obtain a commission.

Eftihia Papayiannopoulou

One of Eftihia's favorite quotes:

“Efhome stous neous na stadiodromisoun sto Laiko tragoudi, pou to opio pote den tha pethani efoson iparxoune Ellines”

(Εύχομαι στους νέους να σταδιοδρομήσουν στο Λαικό τραγούδι, που το οπίο δεν θα πεθάνη ποτέ εφόσον υπάρχουν Έλληνες).

“I hope for the young to follow careers in Laiko song/music, that in which will never die, as long as there are Hellines/Greeks”.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: Eftihia Papayiannopoulou.

Eftihia is credited for writing hundreds of songs; however, it is unknown how many additional songs she wrote that were never credited to her. In her honor, actress Nena Mendi, produced a theatrical play in Greece called The Unkown Eftihia Papagiannopoulou.

Panayiota compiled the above information from her personal library of books, music albums, videos, and magazines, as well as through conversations with musician family members.

Eftihia Papayiannopoulou

About Theodoros Derveniotis, the Composer

The composer of "Mandoubala", Theodoros Derveniotis, (nickname ‘O Hondros’), was born in 1922 in Zagora, a village in Greece. In the custom of Greeks to name children after their father's parents, O Hondros was named after his grandfather, Theodoros D. Derveniotis, a legendary folk musician.

Although the younger Theodoros appreciated folk music, he gradually fell in love with Byzantine and European music. Starting at age five, he was a Byzantine chanter at his church. Around the 1950's, Theodoros decided to try his luck as a music composer. He was self taught in several Greek instruments and reading music.

Derveniotis went on to work and collaborate with some of the biggest stars in Greek Rebetiko/Laiko music, including the great singer Stelios Kazandzidis. In 1959, this partnership came to an end due to Derveniotis deciding he'd had enough of the low income of 300 drachmas on his compositions.

When one door closes, another opens. Derveniotis moved on to his next venture of opening up a Laiko/Light musical school. His fame continued to grow, and he created countless new compositions for some of the greateast stars of Greek music. Theodoros Derveniotis passed away in 2004.

ABOUT THE PHOTO: This photo shows Theodoros Derveniotis, the legendary composer of Mandoubala and many other songs in the Greek rebetiko/laiko genre.

Theodoros Derveniotis
Song: Mandoubala – Mandoubala, 1959

Lyrics: Eftihia Papayiannopoulou

Music: Theodoros Derveniotis

Original Artist: Stelios Kazantzidis

Has Also Been Recorded By:

  • Spiros Zagoreos (1959)
  • Anna Hrisafi (1959)
  • Makis Kourtidis & Oula Baba (1959)
  • Stavros Tzouaoakis (1959)
  • Vayias Periklis
  • Poli Panou
  • Meri Linda & Manolis Hiotis (1960)
  • Fleri Dadonaki (maybe USA)
  • Giorgos Bayiokis (1965)
  • Aristidis Seisanas (Aris San)
  • John Bilezikjian
  • Mediterranean Raqs Band (Saqra)
  • Los Espanoles (Spanish version)
Τραγούδι: Μαντουμπάλα, 1959

Στίχοι: Ευτυχία Παπαγιαννοπούλου

Μουσική: Θεόδωρος Δερβενιώτης

Πρώτη εκτέλεση: Στέλιος Καζαντζίδης

Άλλες εκτελέσεις:

  • Σπύρος Ζαγοράιος, 1959
  • Άννα Χρυσάφη, 1959
  • Μάκης Κουρτίδης & Ούλα Μπάμπα, 1959
  • Σταυρος Τζουαωάκος, 1959
  • Βάγιας Περικλής
  • Μαίρη Λίντα & Μανώλης Χιώτης, 1960
  • Πόλη Πάνου, USA maybe
  • Φλέρυ Νταντωνάκη, 1965 ΗΠΑ
  • Γιώργος Μπαγιώκης
  • Αριστείδης Σεϊσανάς (Άρης Σαν)



Listen to MP3 Clips of This Song

Note Sung by John Bilezikjian
Note Instrumental by Mediterranean Raqs Band (Saqra)




Greek Lyrics


English Translation




Μαντουμπάλα, αγάπη γλυκιά μου Mandoubala, agapi glikia mou Mandoubala [a woman's name], my sweet love
λαχταρώ νά 'ρθεις πάλι κοντά μου lahtaro na rthis pali konda mou I long for you to come close to me again
Από τότε που σ' έχασα λιώνω apo tote pou s’ ehasa liono since then when I lost you I melt
τ' όνομα σου φωνάζω με πόνο to onoma sou fonazo me pono your name I shout with pain
Μαντουμπάλα, Μαντουμπάλα Mandoubala, Mandoubala Mandoubala, Mandoubala




Με μάτια κλαμένα me matia klamena with teary eyes
στους δρόμους γυρνώ stous dromous girno the streets I wander
μια χαμένη αγάπη mia hameni agapi a lost love
ζητάω να βρω zitao na vro I ask to find
μια χαμένη αγάπη mia hameni agapi a lost love
ζητάω να βρω zitao na vro I ask to find




Να σε δω κι ας πεθάνω, καλή μου na se do ke as pethano, kali mou to see you and then I can die, my dear
Αυτό μόνο ζητάει η ψυχή μου afto mono zitai ee psihi mou my soul is asking only for this
Από τότε που σ' έχασα λιώνω apo tote pou s’ehasa liono I have melted since losing you
τ' όνομά σου φωνάζω με πόνο t’ onoma sou fonazo me pono your name I shout with pain
Μαντουμπάλα, Μαντουμπάλα Mandoubala, Mandoubala Mandoubala, Mandoubala




Με μάτια κλαμένα me matia klamena with teary eyes
στους δρόμους γυρνώ stous dromous girno the streets I wander
μια χαμένη αγάπη mia hameni agapi a lost love
ζητάω να βρω zitao na vro I ask to find
μια χαμένη αγάπη mia hameni agapi a lost love
ζητάω να βρω zitao na vro I ask to find
μια χαμένη αγάπη mia hameni agapi a lost love
ζητάω να βρω zitao na vro I ask to find
μια χαμένη αγάπη mia hameni agapi a lost love
ζητάω να βρω zitao na vro I ask to find



Where to Get Recordings of this Song

Tapestry of the Dance


Listen to Clip

Artist: John Bilezikjian
CD Title: Tapestry of the Dance

Raqs Band


Listen to Clip

Artist: Mediterranean Raqs Band (Saqra)
CD Title: Music Saqra Likes



Translations of
Stelios Kazantzikis' Songs On This Site

Translations on this web site of songs performed by Stelios Kazantzidis include:



About the Translator

This page was contributed by Panayiota Bakis Mohieddin, who is happy to share her culture and music she grew up with! Here's how Panayiota describes her background:

I always love engaging with intelligent like-minded people, especially artists. I love sharing anything and everything about my Hellenic culture and upbringing, especially music and dance. A conversation with me will bring you back to America's favorite Greek-American movie by Nia Vardalos called My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

I love investigating Greek culture, history, music, and dance. Speaking of investigating, I think I missed my calling, I probably should have been an investigator. Instead, I use those skills to dig and dig and dig tirelessly, often times falling asleep on my laptop... just to find the truth. But, most importantly, accurate truth. For me personally, and other respectable folklorists, my culture and accuracy are very important. Each generation of ethnic born artists has a duty to do the best it can to pass down our traditions as was taught to us. We have been given this artistic gift to be the gatekeepers of our heritage and culture.





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