language

Georgian folksong “Tu Ase Turpa Ikhavi”

I learned this song during my travels in Azerbaijan/Turkey/Georgia, and it has remained with me.

Since you were so lovely,
Why did I stay away?
Why did I not open
my heart to such a love?

Was there another way of loving you
you who woke me tenderly
whispered sweet words
and took me in your arms?

© Carla Seidl

(original loose translation building in turn off of an Azeri translation from the original Georgian)

Gül Senin Tenin

Your skin is a rose and I am in a cage among roses.
My homeland is by your side…
I have but one soul and it is for you.

I listened to and adapted Mahsun Kırmızıgül’s version of this song while living in Azerbaijan from 2006 to 2008. This recording is off of my debut album Under My Skin (2009).

English translation of the original Turkish lyrics by Carla Seidl:

Your Skin is a Rose

Your skin is a rose and I am in a cage among roses
My homeland is by your side
A servant to you.

I’ve tried many times;
it doesn’t work —
I can’t forget you.
You say let’s split up;
You’ve no right to want this.
I can’t give you up.

Tell me my love, away from you
What does breathing matter?
To be forgotten is like dying, believe me.

Tell me, my love, away from you
What does breathing matter?
Look I’ve given up everything
I have only one soul and it is for you.

© 2009 Carla Seidl

Download mp3 from CDBaby here. See me improvise movement to this song here.

La Belle Vie

Song about gender equality off of my 2013 “Who Are My People?” album. The song was written for my Togolese middle school chorus as part of my work in Girls’ Education and Empowerment. Photos taken in northern Togo, West Africa.

La Belle Vie

La mère souhaite une belle vie pour ses enfants
Elle veut qu’ils soient très bien éduqués
Pour diriger une entreprise un jour
Pour être médecin ou professeur

Mais elle n’a même pas fréquenté l’école
C’est comment?

Changeons!
Réveillons-nous!

Oui les garçons peuvent balayer (et cuisiner)
Oui les filles peuvent bien étudier (et diriger)
Tout le monde peut avoir la carrière qui lui plaît (et le succès)
Si nous choisissons l’égalité
Si nous choisissons l’égalité

Changeons!
Réveillons-nous!

Tout le monde est digne de respect
Tout le monde a le droit à la santé
Tout le monde peut vivre en prospérité
Si nous choisissons l’égalité
Si nous choisissons l’égalité

Changeons!
Réveillons-nous!

Oui les garçons peuvent balayer (et cuisiner)
Oui les filles peuvent bien étudier (et diriger)
Tout le monde peut avoir la carrière qui lui plaît (et le succès)
Si nous choisissons l’égalité
Si nous choisissons l’égalité
Si nous choisissons l’égalité

A Beautiful Life (rough English translation)

A mother hopes for a nice life for her children
she wants them to have a good education
to run a business one day
to be a doctor or a teacher
But she has never been to school.

What do you think of this?

Let’s wake up, let’s change.

Yes, boys can sweep and cook
Yes, girls can study well and lead
Everyone can succeed in the career that they desire If we choose equality

Let’s wake up, let’s change.

Everyone is worthy of respect
everyone has the right to health care
Everyone can live in prosperity
If we choose equality

© 2010 Carla Seidl

Simmer 6: Coming to America

The final episode in the Simmer series combines interview with El Salvadorian immigrants in Asheville, NC, cultural reflections from Robert Kohls’ “Values Americans Live By,” and two original songs.

Luiz Antonio Alvarado came to the United States from El Salvador in 1990. Host and producer speaks with Alvarado and his nephew, Noa Herrera, about cultural difference and the challenges of immigration at Alvarado’s home in Asheville, North Carolina.

Interspersed into our interview are sections form Robert Kohls’ “Values Americans Live By.” The episode also features draft recordings of two original songs appearing on Carla’s 2013 Who Are My People? album: “Suffering Song” and “One Way.”

Learning Lama

Not gumbo but millet kernels between the teeth

TN
GB
ND
NT
koHN
TFilim,
waKR

I chomped on the Lamba language
reluctantly at first

Munching on it like
the bones
my parents said would
tear up my insides or
get stuck in my throat.

Everyone eats them here.
Not just fish bones
but chicken, guinea fowl
and dog if you are lucky.

Like the toned and chiseled bodies
Lama a more down-to-the-bones language
than decorative, excessive, lactifying
French.

Ça va aller

Over in Togo

Ça va aller. It will be all right. Just lay back and relax.
Wait all day by the side of the road to see
if a bus or truck
is going your way.
Go with the destiny.
God and the spirits control, not us. There is so much suffering; what can we do? Just bear it,
supporter.

First Day of Azerbaijani Language Training

Mənim adım Karladır.
Onun adı Mikedir.

I learn that to say, “My name is Carla,” I have to add an ending on my name that sounds like “durr,” rhyming with burr. But for Mike or Amy, the “durr” ending changes to sound like “deer.”
And the difference, which comes up frequently, doesn’t depend on gender, or length of the name. To know when to use which ending, you just have to do it by sound. This is the Azerbaijani way of making their language flow smoothly, and sound good. It’s called vowel harmony. You can’t have this vowel next to that one, so change the subsequent one to fit in with the first.

I would soon learn other rules for harmony:

Drink tea. Lots of it.
No plain water, or you’ll get sick.

Respect people older than you.
Serve them and do what they say.

Call meals “bread.”
Never leave bread upside-down.

Wipe dust off of your shoes before you leave the house.
Say, “May we always meet in cleanliness” when someone emerges from the hamam.

Hang clothes shoulders down, overlapped just so.
Slice onions and tomatoes in the hand.

Prepare national meals exactly the way you were taught.
The more butter a meal has, the better.

Females, ask permission before leaving the house.