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Original lyrics and translations of some of the songs on the album "Echoes of Qiyan"

(All translated by Josefine Liftig, unless otherwise stated)


CD 1:

Kol dodi  (trad. Sephardic song) 

Kol dodi, kol dodi
kol dodi hineh ze ba
M'daleg al heharim
m'kapetz al hagva'ot

Voice of my lover
voice of my lover and behold he comes!
Leaping on the mountains
skipping on the valleys. 

Translation: George Jakubovits

Etz harimon (Sephardic song)
Composer: Yedidia Admon
Lyrics: Yaakov Orlandt 

Etz harimon natan recho
ben yam hamelach ad Y'richo
Shav chomati g'dudech mindod
Shav tamati dodech midod

Otzrot Ofir utzri Gilad
Rechev mitzrayim shalati lach, bat
Elef hazemer etle lach magen
min hay'or ad hayarden

Pomegranate tree has emanated its fragrance
between the Dead Sea and Jericho,
My fortress, your regiment returned from patrol,
My innocent your lover returned from wondering.

Treasures of Ofir and fragrance of Gile’ad,
Chariots of Egypt I sent to you, girl
Thousand songs I will hang for your shield
From the Nile to the Jordan. 

Translation: Hagai Halamish

Kuando veyo ijo ermozo (trad. Sephardic song)

Kuando veyo ijo ermozo ayi me vo yoKon las paras, sin las paras
Si me dan, si no me dan,
me yo lo vo tomar

When I see a handsome boy, I go to him
With money, without money
Whether they give it to me or not
I will take him

Och när som jag var på mitt artonde år (trad. Swedish ballad)/
Una mática de ruda
Sephardic song)

Och när som jag var på mitt artonde år
det var en vacker pojke som föll uti min håg
en tänkte jag för evigt att älska
Men denna min tanke rätt snarligt försvann:
Det var en annan flicka som lades i hans famn
Den kallar han för "rosende blomma"

And when I was going on eighteen
there was a handsome boy whom I fancied
I thought that I would love him forever
But this my intention soon vanished:
It was another girl who was lain in his arms
He calls her "rosy blossom"

Una mática de ruda, una mática de flor
hija mia querida
dime a mi quien te la dió

Una mática de ruda, una mática de flor

Me la dió un mancevico
que de mi se enamoró
Hija mia querida, no te eches a perdición
Más vale un mal marido
que es mejor de nuevo amor
Mal marido, la mi madre, no hay más maldición
Nuevo amor, la mi madre

la manzana y el buen limón 

A branch of rue, a flowering branch
My darling daughter
tell me who gave it to you
A branch of rue, a flowering branch
A young man gave it to me
because he fell in love with me
My darling daughter, do not ruin your life
A bad husband is more worth
He is better than a new lover
A bad husband, mother, is a real curse
A new lover, mother
is like the apple and the good lemon

Mi yitneni of (trad. Sephardic song)

Lyrics: David Shimoni

Mi yitneni of
tzi por kanaf k'tana
Habindude en sof
nafshi ma mitana
Ah, bindude en sof 
nafshi ma mitana

Oh, that I had wings
like those of a little bird!
I wander endlessly
to find shelter for my soul

 Eshet chayil (trad. Hebrew song)  

Eshet chayil mi yimtsa
verachok mip'ninim michra
Batach ba lév bala
veshalal lo yechsar
Gemalathu tov velora
kol yemé chayeha
darsha tsemer ufishtim
vata'as bechéfets kapeha
Haita kaoniot sochér
mimerchak tavi lachma
vetakam beod laila
vatitén teref leveitah vechok lena'roteiha
zamma sade vatikachéhu
mipri chapeiha nat'a kare
chagra beoz motneiha
vateaméts z'rooteha

A worthy wife is more precious than corals.
Her husband trusts her,
he will not want for anything.
She does him good and no evil
every day of her life.

She makes arts and crafts from wool and flax.
Like the trade ship, she fetches the bread from far
She gets up before the sun rises
and feeds her household and her servants.
She plants vineyards with her own hands.
She girds her loins, and her arms are strong.

Adió, querida (trad. Sephardic song)

Lyrics by Isaac Levy/Oshik Levy/Roni Eran

Tu madre, cuando te parió

y te quitó al mundo

corazón ella no te dió

para amar segundo 

Adió, adió querida

no quero la vida

me la amargates tú

Va, buxcate otro amor

Aharva otras puertas

Aspera otro ardor

que para mí sos muerta

When your mother gave birth to you

and put you into the world

she didn't give you a heart

to love another

Goodbye, goodbye, my love

I don't want my life

You have made it bitter

Go, find yourself another love

Knock on other doors

Seek another ardour

because for me you are dead

Yedí Kulé (Trad. Sephardic lament)

The fortress Yedí Kulé ("seven towers") in Istanbul has been used for defence, as a treasury and as a prison.

When prisoners were beheaded there, their heads were thrown down into the sea…

Yedí Kulé verás empaseando

De altas murallas saradeado

En la prisón esto' por tí atado

En el budrúm lloro desmasalado

Me quitaron la luz, esto' sufriendo

y la muerte, niña, sto viendo

Yo sto en la prisión, tú en las flores

Sufro de corazón, quiero que llores

Por el Yedí Kulé ven paseando

Mira en que hali yo sto pasando

Fostanico preto cale hacerte

y a la quehilá echar aceite

You can sight Yedí Kulé when you walk by

It is surrounded by high walls

I am in prison, in chains for your sake

I cry in the dungeon in despair

They took away the light, I am suffering

and I see death approaching, girl

I am in prison, you among the flowers

I suffer in my heart, I want you to cry

Come, walk by the Yedí Kulé

See the misery I have to endure

Let a black dress be made for you

and make an offering of oil in the Synagogue

Alta es la luna (trad. Sephardic song)

Alta, alta es la luna

cuando empeza a esclarecer

Hija ermoza y sin ventura

nunca llegue a nacer

Mis ojos se me hincheron

de tanto mirar la mar

Vaporicos van y vienen

letra para mi no hay

Mi querido es hermoso

dos taras tiene con él

La una que arroja dados

la otra que echa ses bes

Mi querido es alto y vano

y una vara de espander

Mi madre hizo colada

lo metió a detener

High, high is the moon

when dawn is breaking

A beautiful, hapless girl

should never have been born

My eyes have swelled up

from gazing so much at the sea

Steamboats come and go

There is no letter for me

My beloved is handsome

He has two weaknesses:

One is that he shoots craps

the other that he plays backgammon

My beloved is tall and vain

just like a clothes line pole

My mother hung up her laundry

and let him hold the line

Ben n'har prat (trad. Hebrew/Sephardic song)

Ben n’har Prat unhár Chidékel
Al hahar m'tamér dekel
Uvadekel ben afaav
Tishkon la duchifat zahav

Between the Euphrates and the Tigris,
on a mountain, stands a palm tree
Amidst its leaves
dwells a golden peacock

Avram Avinu (trad. Sephardic song)

Abraham is regarded as the founding patriarch of Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike.

In this song, king Nimrod foresees his birth and decides to kill all pregnant women…

The text is from the period of King Alphonse X of Spain (1245-1289)

Cuando el rey Nimrod al campo salía

vido en el cielo y en la estrellería

Vido luz santa en la judería

que havía de nacer Avram Avinu

Avram Avinu, padre querido

Padre bendicho, luz de Yisrael


La mujer de Térah quedó preñada

Día en día en día él la preguntava:

"De qué teneij la cara tan demudada?"

Ella ya savía el bien que tenía

Al fin de los mueve mezes, parir quería

Iva caminando por campos y viñas

Y a su marido tal no le descuvría

Topó una m'ará, allí parería

When king Nimrod went out into the fields

he looked at the sky and at the stars

He saw a holy light from the Jewish Quarter

and knew that our father Abraham would be born

Our father Abraham, beloved father

Blessed father, light of Israel


Térah's wife became pregnant

Day after day he asked her:

"Why do you look so worried?"

She already knew what treasure she was carrying/shielding

At the end of the nine months, she wanted to give birth

She wandered through fields and vineyards

so that her husband wouldn't find her

She came to a cave where she could give birth

CD 2:

Dja da kall (trad. from 14th century Al-Andalus, in the rhytmic mode 6/8 called Darij , which means "popular")

The lyrics are part of a Sufi poem by Lisan Ibn Al-Khatib.

Sufism can be said to be the inner, mystical dimension of Islam, and it had a strong base in

Al-Andalus. The Sufis created their own symbolic language, because according to them, one cannot reach God through the ordinary five senses. Thus, Sufi poetry can be hard to fully understand.

Lisan Aldin Ibn Al-Khatib, 1313-1374, a philosopher, historian, poet, politician, and doctor, was influential in 14th century Al-Andalus. Ibn Al-Khatib was a great sufi poet and a prolific writer: Suffering from insomnia, he is said to have written all night while others slept.

Poems by him adorn several mosques as well as the Alhambra Palace in Granada.

Some of Ibn Al-Khatib's poetry was put to music as muwashahat - text adorned with music - an Al-Andalusian song form in which the lyrics decide the rhythmic structure which can be very intricate.

Ibn Al-Khatib occupied high political positions with the Nasrid dynasty in Granada, and was called “double minister”, “dhul-wizaratayn”. He made powerful enemies and fled to Morocco. But he was imprisoned, his works were burned for political/religious reasons, and he was finally assassinated for his Sufi "heresy".

Love is pouring down like rain

Oh, season of love in Andalusia!

You were a mere dream, sneaking into my sleep

You live in Wadilghada, but you dwell in my heart

The vast wilderness is less wide than my heart

You, with your bottomless eyes and saliva like honey

you fill my bosom, like my breath.

You shot an arrow from your eyes, right into my heart


I svensk översättning:

Det regnar kärlek, det öser ner

Å, kärleksfulla tider i Andalusien

Du var väl inte mer än en skugga eller en dröm

som smög in i min sömn

Du som bor i Wadilghadha,

du bor i själva verket i mitt hjärta


Hela vildmarken är trängre än mitt hjärta

Det har varken öst eller väst

Du med becksvarta ögon (ögon som brunnar) och saliv som honung

Du går runt i min själ som mitt andetag

Du riktade dina ögons pil och sköt i mitt hjärta

en skott av en skicklig jägare 


Hemingen og Gygri (trad. Norwegian medieval ballad)

Heming tog bogjen på sin bak

Og pilekorgi ved side

So mundi han seg åy fjölle gå

Han visste eit bjönnehie

Hemingen unge kunne på skiom renne

Han rende bå’ bratt og flatt

So lett han på skio flyge

Då blei han var i bergje inn

Bjartan elden lyse

Er inne sat den gamle Gygri

Og kara med naso i elde


Kor vil du av du usseldreng

Som kjerne so seint om kvelde

Er du komen i bergje ut

Å blive her dagane alle

So vil eg reise meg upp i land

Og lata vårt bryllaupe kalle


Gygri seg moy aust munde snu

Soli ho skeib i augo

Då blei ho i flintestein

Standane neri haugo

Heming took his bow and arrows

and put on his skis, and went bearhunting.



Young Heming was a good skier

He flew on his skis

He then saw a fire burning inside a mountain



In there sat the old witch Gygri,

poking in the fire:


"Where are you going so late at night, silly boy?

You shall stay here for the rest of your days,

and I will now go and invite guests to our wedding!"




Gygri went outside,

the sun shone in her eyes

and she turned to stone down in the field

Margjit Hjukse (trad. Norwegian medieval ballad)

Stolt Margjit ho reidde seg til kyrkja å gå

Tidi fell meg longe
Så tok ho den vegen til fjølle låg

Det er eg som ber sorgi so tronge

Og som ho no kom fram med bergjevegg
Då kom Bergjekongen med det lange, kvite skjegg

Og Bergjekongen tukka fram sylvforgylte stol:

"Set deg der, stolt Margjit, og kvil din fot!"

Så var ho i berget i åri dei ni
Og ho fødde sønir og døtrar tri


Og Margjit ho sat med sit handtein og spann

Då høyrde ho Bøherads kyrkjeklokkur klang
Stolt Margit ho tala til Bergjekongen so:
"Å må eg få lov til min fader å gå?"
"Å du må få lov til din fader å sjå
du må kje vera burte hot ein time hell tvo"


Å då som ho kom der gangand' i gård

hennar saele fader ute for henne står

So leidde han inn stolt Margjit med glede og gråt

So sette han henne i sin moders sto
Men då kom bergjekongen snøgt som ein eld
"Kjeme du inkje heimatt til bonni i kveld?"

"Fare no vel då alle i min heim
no kjeme eg alli til dikkon meir"

Stolt Margjit ho sette seg på gangaren grå

Ho greit fleire tårir hell hesten ha håt

Stolt Margjit got ready to go to church

Time drags on

She then took the road to the mountain

It is I who is burdened by sorrow


And when she came to the mountain wall

the Mountain King appeared with his long, white beard

And the Mountain King took out a gilded silver chair:

"Sit down, Stolt Margit, and rest your foot!"

She stayed in the mountain for nine years

And she had tree sons and daughters


And Margjit sat with her distaff and spun

She then heard the church bells of Bøherad chime

Stolt Margjit said to the Mountain King:

"Can I get permission to go to my father?"

"You may get permission to go to your father

But you must not be gone for more than one or two hours"


And as she entered the homestead,

her dear father went out to greet her

He led Stolt Margjit in, with joy and tears

He sat her down in her mother's chair

But then came the Mountain King, swift as a fire

"Will you not come home to the children tonight?"


"Farewell, then, all of you in my home

Now I will never come back to you again"

Stolt Margjit mounted the grey stead

She cried more tears than the horse had hairs.

Las tres hermanicas (Trad. Sephardic romance)

Tres hermanicas eran

blancas de rosa y ramas de flor

tres hermanicas eran, tres hermanicas son

Las dos eran casadas,

la chica en perdición


Su padre con vergüenza

a Rodas la envió

En medio del camino

castillos la fraguó

Ventanas hizo altas

pa´ que no sube varón

Varón es que lo supo

a la mar ya se echó

There were three sisters

white roses and branches of flowers

There were three sisters, three sisters they are

Two of them were married,

the youngest one had fallen into perdition


Her father, in shame,

sent her off to Rhodes

Halfway there

he had a castle built for her

He made windows so high

that no man could get in

The man heard about it

and threw himself into the sea

Ädiril (Anonymous Iraqi song, Bagdad, 1960-ies)

Sung rhythmically free, as a mawal, which is a slow vocal recitative over a few poetic lines

I am a stranger here, without my dear ones around

who would see me and love me and cry for my sake

Woe is me, I am in such distress! My whole world has crumbled


I svensk översättning:

Jag ser mig omkring, men jag ser inga kära

En främling är jag här utan mina nära

Som kan se på mig och ge mig ömhet

och gråta för min skull

Ve mig, vilken svår belägenhet jag hamnat i

Ve mig, ve mig

Jag orkar inte mer, min tillvaro har rasat ihop

Lamma Bada Yatathanna (trad. Arab-Andalusian, from the 12th century)

This well beloved piece, a muwashah , is in a 10/8 rhythmic mode called sama'i thaqil  

which originated in Al-Andalus.

Lamma bada Yatathanna
Hubbi jamalu fatanna
Aman' Aman' Aman' Aman

Aw ma bi LaHzu asarna
Ghusnu thana Hinamal 

Lamma bada yatathanna
Hubbi jamalu fatanna 

Waadi wa ya Hirati
Man li shafeeashak wati
Illa maleekul jamal
Fil hubbi min lawaati

Lamma bada yatathanna
Hubbi jamalu fatanna

She walked with a swaying gait

her beauty amazed me


Her eyes have taken me prisoner 

Her stem folded as she bent over


Oh, my promise, oh, my perplexity

Who can answer my lament of love and distress

but the graceful one, the queen of beauty?