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Slovenian folk song

Posted: 2013-08-04, 17:47
by sid lozzo
I have just joined after a long search for the meaning of a fantastic Slovenian folk song. It is called Komur se dremlje. I love the tune and this version by Katalena. I speak no Slovenian, I'm sorry to say. I have tried Google translation and some others but they are not much use.

I think it might be a lullaby (children's bed time song), but then it goes on to talk about drunk wedding guests. This does not seem to be a good subject for children at bed time or any other time. Then near the end it seems that cooking carrots is important! I am so confused. But I'd love to know. ... -f1fe.html

Thank you if anybody can help.


Re: Slovenian folk song

Posted: 2013-08-04, 21:44
by miae
Never heard this song before, so I'm glad you posted this. It's not a lullaby, but I get why you might think that, it's is a typical Katalena sound. The story is quite morbid actually. Young Anzel is cheating on his fiancé Lenčka and telling about this to the wedding guests. Lenčka overhears him and gets very angry, so she (or they, it's quite ambiguous) cooks him to death in a pot with carrots. If I understood the lyrics correctly, that is.

I translated it below, not completely literally. (We have an expression in Slovenian "umetiniška svoboda" which would translate to "artist's freedom" and I translated it in this manner. Does a similar expression exist also in English?) So, the language is very poetic and quite archaic at times. I've never heard of expressions "dati na pare" nor "zavírati" in such context before; now I found out that the first means "to kill", about the second I'm not sure what it means (hence the question mark). Perhaps Ashucky or someone else on the forum will contribute more on this and correct me.

By the way, I don't know anyone who'd be named Anzel, might be somehow related to today more common name Anže?

Komur se dremlje, naj gre spat, kakor je storil Anzel mlad.
Do polnoči je sladko spal, po polnoči je svate zbral:
»Svatje nikar ne vriskajte, kadar čez Mengeš jezdite,
da ne bo Lenčka slišala, moja ta prva ljubica.«

Let the one who is sleepy go to bed, like the young Anzel did.
He slept like a baby until the midnight, then he gathered the wedding guests:
»Wedding guests, don't shout when you're riding across Mengeš,
so that Lenčka, my first lover, won't hear you.«

Svatje so se upijanili, pa so čez Mengeš vriskali.
Lenčka vse dobro slišala, je Anzelnu zažugala:
»Čakej, le čakej Anzel mlad, ki si h'tel mene goljufat.
Predno bo jutri beli dan, te bodo že na pare djal!«

Wedding guests got drunk, they were rejoicing across Mengeš.
Lenčka heard it all and said to Anzel angry:
»Wait, young Anzel, you wanted to cheat me.
Before the morning comes, they will kill you!«

Lenčka se pa zavrti, lonček s korenčkom obloži.
»Kuhaj se, kuhaj, korenjé, brez vsazga ognja in vodé, brez vsake božje milosti!«
Koren začne zavírati, Anzel mlad pa umirati.
Komaj se j' storil beli dan, Anzel je bil na pare djan.

Lenčka turns around, puts carrots in the pot.
»Boil, boil, carrots, without fire and water, without mercy of god!«
Carrots start boiling :?: and young Anzel was dying.
Soon as sun came up, Anzel was dead.

Re: Slovenian folk song

Posted: 2013-08-05, 22:18
by sid lozzo
Thank you so much, Miae. You have made me so happy. The overview you wrote made sense though all the detailed translation doesn''t make complete sense, just like fairy stories, folk songs and nursery rhymes in English don't, so that's no problem. I think it's a kind of cautionary tale. Though there a few themes for the advice - don't be unfaithful, don't get drunk and shout your mouth off.

You asked about umetiniška svoboda. I think you mean 'poetic licence' or yes, 'artistic licence'.

I'm looking forward to seeing if anybody else has any interpretations to offer, but that's great. Thanks again, you are my favourite person at the moment!


Re: Slovenian folk song

Posted: 2013-08-06, 13:58
by miae
The pleasure is all mine! And I have few updates. "Zavírati" does in fact mean what I thought it means ("to boil"), so you can ignore that question mark there. By the way, it's not very common to put acute accent on letters in Slovenian. "Dati na pare" (in the song: "na pare djan") literally means "to put on a bier" but figuratively probably means, as I wrote in my previous post, "to kill".

I got my interpretation little wrong, though. Because I also asked my grandmother what she thinks about it. She says that Anzel had two girlfriends and went to propose to another one with his friends (wedding guests). This custom I am familiar with: a man had to sing a serenade to his girlfriend a night (or two?) before their wedding, under her window. But then Lenčka heard them, got angry and enchanted him, so he died.

How did you even find out this song? Because not even my grandmother knows it but we don't live close to Mengeš, so that makes some sense. Do you like or know any other folk songs?

Re: Slovenian folk song

Posted: 2013-08-11, 21:05
by sid lozzo
And now thanks are due to your grandmother too, Miae
I like the latest version better. It gives a better reason for Lencka to be angry.
You asked me where I found the song. Well, I first heard it on English radio about two years ago! There is a late night show that plays folk music and jazz from around the world (including England). it came from a CD called Etno Slovenia. I think this explains it. ... venia-2011
I must be honest though, I love the Katalena version so much because it blends the central/eastern European folk sound with a blues-kind of guitar and slightly crazy percussion. I would like my band in England to try it. They know I want to but I have to convince them so all the information I have about the story etc should help.

You helped me.