Spiros Peristeris / Σπύρος Περιστέρης

The Mangkas* of Votanikos**
music: Spiros Peristeris
lyrics: Haralambos Vasiliadis
vocals: Zacharias Kasimatis

A mangkas in Votanikos
lightning swift, real cool
in the games and in the cabarets
and at Perdikaki’s joint***

He smokes and gets high
with his lady at the joint
and Angel lights
the fires of the water pipe

He’s a mangkas feeling the blues
the toughest guy in Votanikos
all the other guys respect him
but he doesn’t care about that****

He smokes and gets high
and always puffs for free
because he got his pension
from the Mentrese*****

“To your health, you Zeimbekli!”******
“Ach, how I feel joy in the sound of the Bouzouki!”*******

(translation: Eva Johanos
*mangkas- an ideal of a cool guy who is intelligent, has a free spirit
and is not afraid to live by his own lights
**Votanikos- a district of Athens, named for a nearby Botanical Garden
***”tekke”- a small Sufi shrine for devotional practice, and for the
Rembetiko culture a hash den or joint in the underground
culture of early 20th-century Greece, among the population
of Greek refugees from Asia Minor who were discriminated
against and oppressed politically and socially
****the other guys “tremble” before him- they recognize that they
would be wise not to mess with him, but he doesn’t “feel the
burning of a nail”- a colloquial expression that means it means
nothing to him
*****Mentrese- a former Islamic school in the area of the Plaka (ancient
city of Athens below the Acropolis) which was transformed into a
prison after the Greek War of Independence, during the reign of
the first Greek king Otto. Rembetes- men who participated in this
marginalized subculture- were often imprisoned for smoking hash,
and given stiff sentences
******Zeimbekli- a master of the singing of Zeimbekiko song, a style loved for its emotion and inspiring a dance releasing sorrow and frustration
*******The singer respond by appreciating the player of the bouzouki: this back and forth in performance reflects the Rebetiko tradition of appreciation between musicians)

Ο μάγκας του Βοτανικού
Μουσική: Σπύρος Περιστέρης
Στίχοι: Χαράλαμπος Bασιλειάδης(τσαντας)
ερμηνεία – Ζαχαρίας Κασιμάτης
Αθήνα, 1933

Ένας μάγκας στο Βοτανικό
πι και φι ξηγιέται στο λεπτό
στα παιχνίδια και στα καμπαρέ
και στου Περδικάκη τον τεκέ

Τη φουμάρει, μαστουριάζει
με τη γκόμενά του στον τεκέ
κι η Αγγέλω του πατά
φωτιές στον αργιλέ

Είναι μάγκας, είναι μερακλής
στο Βοτανικό ο πιο νταής
τόνε τρέμουν όλες οι μαγκιές
μα δεν του καίγεται καρφί που λες

Τη φουμάρει, μαστουριάζει
και μπαφιάζει πάντα βερεσέ
γιατί πήρε σύνταξη
από το Μεντρεσέ

-Γεια σου ζεϊμπεκλή μου, Ζαχαρία!
-Ε ρε να χαρώ μπουζούκι!

Yiorgos Koutoulakis and “Cafe Aman” perform the song The Mangkas of Votanikos in the tv series “Greece of the Dream,” Season One Γιώργος Κουτουλάκης και το “ΚΑΦΕ ΑΜΑΝ” του Κώστα Φέρρη ερμηνεύει το τραγούδι “Ενας μάγκας στον Βοτανικό” στην τηλεοπτική σειρά “Ονείρου Ελλάς” Α΄περίοδος

See also

Sotiria Bellou Σωτηρία Μπέλλου

The minor song of the dawn
You are my man

Polly Panou Πόλυ Πάνου

The seagulls

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