Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday music: Misirlou / Miserlou (classic re-post)

This comes from May of 2009, and is among my favorite MM posts, evar.
I know. Strangest Title Ever. But I like to start the week with something light and fun if possible, and This is That.

Strange title, yes. But you know it, probably by the spelling "Miserlou."

"I don't know it at all," you say? Give THIS a listen. It's a recording titled "Mousourlou," by Greek bandleader Michaelis Patrinos, from around 1930.

Didn't do it for you? How about this sultry version from around 1947, sung in Greek by a crooner named Danai? Here are the lyrics, according to Wikipedia
Μισιρλού μου, η γλυκιά σου η ματιά
Φλόγα μου 'χει ανάψει μες στην καρδιά.
Αχ, για χαμπίμπι, αχ, για λε-λέλι, αχ,
Τα δυο σου χείλη στάζουνε μέλι, αχ.

Αχ, Μισιρλού, μαγική, ξωτική ομορφιά.
Τρέλα θα μου 'ρθει, δεν υποφέρω πια.
Αχ, θα σε κλέψω μέσα από την Αραπιά.

Μαυρομάτα Μισιρλού μου τρελή,
Η ζωή μου αλλάζει μ' ένα φιλί.
Αχ, για χαμπίμπι ενα φιλάκι,άχ
Απ' το γλυκό σου το στοματάκι, αχ.

My Misirlou (Egyptian girl), your sweet glance
Has lit a flame in my heart.
Ah, ya habibi, Ah, ya leh-leli, ah (Arabic:
Oh, my love, Oh, my night‎)
Your two lips are dripping honey, ah.

Ah, Misirlou, magical, exotic beauty.
Madness will overcome me, I can't endure [this] any more.
Ah, I'll steal you away from the Arab land.

My black-eyed, my wild Misirlou,
My life changes with one kiss
Ah, ya habibi, one little kiss, ah
From your sweet little mouth, ah.
I bet you're getting it now.

Here's the version you're likelier to know.

Pretty funny, in some ways. My, rock videos have changed. Dale himself looks like he's having fun, but the band... yikes. Double-yikes on the drummer. He seems troubled. I thought drumming was fun. And - no idea what the saxophonist is doing.

Back to the song. What you may not have known — as I did not know — is that the song is very old, not American  and probably was written in the 1800s. It is (as you see) about an enchanting little Egyptian girl.

But then in the 1960s, a ten-year-old kid challenged Dick Dale (King of the Surf Guitar) to play a song on just one string. Dale told him to come back the next day. Dale was actually Lebanese-American, born Richard Mansour; he thought of music he'd heard at weddings, picked Misirlou/Miserlou, and decided to ramp up the speed. Hence, Miserlou.

Here's a more recent version, by Dale. Music begins at 1:25.

Dinosaur Gardens (which says the Wikipedia article contains many errors)

1 comment:

Mizz Harpy said...

The guys in the band have the same shy grin and bashful gaze as a wall flower who's too shy to ask a girl for a dance. The drummer is probably the football coach or something.