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This song is a somewhat unusual inclusion here as my focus is Alevi deyiş while this is an anonymous türkü (folksong) from Erzincan. Not withstanding the fact that türkü is sometimes used as an all embracing term that includes deyiş, structurally they are different. This türkü has a metre of seven syllables while deyiş commonly have eleven or eight syllables. There is the refrain (bağlantı) which is more common in türkü and the absence of a mahlas. That said, the personal quality of this lyric suggests that a mahlas would not be out of place should an additional verse turn up. It is interesting that this is the opening song on the first of the renowned and influential Muhabbet series of recordings instigated in the mid-1980s by Arif Sağ, who also sings this song on that recording. On the evidence of his recordings Sağ has a particular fondness for songs from the Erzincan region, especially those from the Çayırlı (Erzincan) aşık Davut Sulari – and indeed he has said himself that even at the age of six he exerted himself to see Sulari (Değirmenin Bendine p. 40). This is perhaps not surprising given that Sağ is from Aşkale on the Erzincan side of Erzurum. By opening the Muhabbet series with this song Sağ declares his roots and the sound, mood and performance style of these recordings. This is one of the most bleak and beautiful Turkish folksongs, certainly as performed by Sağ. The source of the song, Erzincanlı Şerif (Tanındı) – although Bekir Karadeniz published a version with Sulari given as the source (Ela Gözlüm Türküler, p. 229) – performs it with a bit more swagger and with and instrumental colour (clarinet, violin, percussion etc). But it is in Sağ’s version that the stark and haunting qualities of the song are truly revealed.

This video shows Arif Sağ and Belkıs Akkale  performing the song in 1982.

Küstürdüm barışamam (dert bende)

Translation: Paul Koerbin

I caused offence and cannot be reconciled

I have parted and cannot meet again

I opened my eye and I saw you

I cannot speak among strangers

I am suffering, I am unfortunate

I am suffering, I am unfortunate

Nothing can be done for the pain within

Like the birds without a nest

I’ve become scattered and confused

I pursued her to this mountain’s end

I awoke to the voice of my love

She is a partridge and I a hunter

And so I followed after her

I am suffering, I am unfortunate

I am suffering, I am unfortunate

Nothing can be done for the pain within

Like the birds without a nest

I became scattered and confused

I am estranged, my mate is estranged

My mate my fellow traveller is estranged

I do not grieve for my dying

My stone on the grave is abandoned

I am suffering, I am unfortunate

I am suffering, I am unfortunate

Nothing can be done for the pain within

Like the birds without a nest

I became scattered and confused

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Küstürdüm barışamam

Ayrıldım kavuşamam

Göz açtım seni gördüm

Yad ilen konuşamam

Dert bende kara bende

Dert bende kara bende

Eylenmez yare bende

Yuvasız kuşlar gibi

Olmuşum perâkende

Bu dağın ensesine

Uyandım yar sesine

Yar kekliktir ben avcı

Düşmüşüm ensesine

Dert bende kara bende

Dert bende kara bende

Eylenmez yare bende

Yuvasız kuşlar gibi

Olmuşum perâkende

Ben garip eşim garip

Eşim yoldaşım garip

Öldüğüme gam yemem

Mezarda taşım garip

Dert bende kara bende

Dert bende kara bende

Eylenmez yare bende

Yuvasız kuşlar gibi

Olmuşum perâkende