Yemen Türküsü: Lamentation over Yemen

December 4, 2007

First a word of explanation: this song is extremely well known in Turkey. It is a folk song or rather a lamentation over the lost souls in Yemen. Back in the days of the Ottoman Empire, Anatolian youth was sent in great numbers to Yemen. Almost every single one of them perished. Somehwere along the line this song was created. Because of its anonymous nature, and its ubiquitous nature, there are many different versions of this song. I will translate the most common parts and add some less known bits as well. When I find the time I will give more information about the Yemen factor.

YEMEN SONG
It’s a clear sky, what is this smoke?
Nobody in the neigbourhood died, what is this lamentation?
How terrible are the lands of Yemen?

Lo, yonder is Yemen, its roses are bitter
Those that go there do not return, I wonder why
This place here is Muş, its paths are steep
Those that leave do not retun, I wonder why

There is the sound of conscripts at the barracks
Go and look what he [i.e. the conscript] has in his bag
A pair of shoes and his fez

Lo, yonder is Yemen, its roses are bitter
Those that go there do not return, I wonder why
This place here is Muş, its paths are steep
Those that leave do not retun, I wonder why

Accordeon is being played, did you think it was a wedding?
Did you mistake the red and green banner for a bride?
Did you think that those who go to Yemen return?
Come back my lord, come back, I can not carry on
Sleep and ignorance are pressing I can not wake up
My lord, I can not believe that you have died

YEMEN TÜRKÜSÜ
Havada bulut yok, bu ne dumandır
Mahlede ölen yok, bu ne figandır
Şu Yemen elleri ne de yamandır

Ano Yemendir, Gülü çemendir
Giden gelmiyor, Acep nedendir
Burası Muş’tur, Yolu yokuştur
Giden gelmiyor, Acep ne iştir

Kışlanın önünde redif sesi var
Bakın çantasında acep nesi var
Bir çift kundurayla bir de fesi var

Ano Yemendir, Gülü çemendir
Giden gelmiyor, Acep nedendir
Burası Muş’tur, Yolu yokuştur
Giden gelmiyor, Acep ne iştir

Mızıka çalınır düğün mü sandın
Al yeşil bayrağı gelin mi sandın
Yemen’e gideni gelir mi sandın
Dön gel ağam dön gel dayanamiram
Uyku gaflet basmış uyanamiram
Ağam öldüğüne inanamiram

As soon as I have time I will polish up this post and add some more information. This song is so important and rich that I feel I should give some information about the context.

One Response to “Yemen Türküsü: Lamentation over Yemen”

  1. Amel CHIHEB said

    I feel like I have come across a treasure… this blog is a fountain :)

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