|THE BALKANARAMA SHEET MUSIC ARCHIVE|
|Songs of the Jászság|
|Collected by Mike Gordon and the Kárpátok
I learned these songs, among others, as a musician with the Kárpátok Ensemble of Los Angeles during a month-long tour of Hungary in 1985, during which we spent a week with the Jászsági Ensemble in Jászberény. The lyrics reflect both the martial traditions of the Jászság and the lachrymose self-pity that seems to characterize so many Hungarian songs. Hey, life is tough all over. But the songs also display a healthy streak of contempt for the cops and the Russians, neither of which was a risk-free attitude in the 1980s.
The Hungarian language is not Indo-European and so has little in common with other European languages, though it is a distant cousin of Finnish. It's spelled phonetically and so is pronounced exactly as written, once you know what sounds the letters represent. If you don't and are interested, see my Hungarian pronunciation guide.
One interesting aspect of Hungarian is that it doesn't have separate words for "he" and "she," so most lyrics can apply to either sex. This may be politically correct today, but it reflects a traditional culture in which men's and women's roles were so sharply delineated that there was no need to distinguish between "he" or "she," "him" or "hers" -- the context of a conversation normally left no doubt as to gender.
Lyrics within double slashes ( // ) are repeated.
UGRÓS (Jumping dance)
Esik az esö, ázik a heveder
It's raining, the saddle girth is getting wet
Megjött a levél fekete pecséttel
I got a draft notice with a black seal on it
VERBUNK or LASSÚ CSÁRDÁS (men's recruiting dance or slow couple dance)
Gödöllöi sorozoház fel van virágozva
The recruiting center in Gödöllö is decorated with flowers
LASSÚ CSÁRDÁS (slow couple dance)
Jászkunsági gyerek vagyok, Jászberényben születtem
I'm a kid from the Jászkunság, I was born in Jászberény
Kilenc zsandár kisért engem a jászberényi föutcán
Nine cops escorted me down Jászberény's main street
Még akkor is azt kiáltja, betyár gyerek, gyere be
Even so, my sweetheart will call out to me: You bandit's child, come on in
Ez a tábla kukorica de sárga, talán bizony esöbe lett kapálva
This cornfield is yellow, maybe it was hoed while it was raining
Harmatos a kukorica levele, talán bizony a szeretöm járt benne
There's dew on the corn leaves, maybe my lover walked through them
FRISS CSÁRDÁS (fast couple dance)
Szentandrási birónak jó négy lovat mondanak
The judge in Szentandrás has four good horses, so they say
Kezd a hajnal hasadni, jön két zsandár vasalni
The dawn is breaking, two cops are putting me in handcuffs
Egyesböl a kettesbe, kettesböl a négyesbe
From solitary to a cell with two people, from a cell with two to a cell
Translations by the Kárpátok Ensemble.
|Orthographic note: Hungarian has two forms of
umlauts, short (ö, u) and long. The long umlaut makes the same sound as the
short, but is stressed or lengthened slightly. The long umlaut can't be shown
using the standard ASCII character set, or if it can I don't know how, so I've
used standard umlauts here. Instead of two dots over the vowel, the long umlaut
looks like two accute accents over the character. For those who like things done
just right, here are the words where the long umlaut should be inserted:
Ugros verse 1, line 1, ö in esö. Verbunk line 1, third ö in Gödöllöi. Lassu csárdás verse 2, line 1, ö in föutcán; verse 3, line 1, ö in esöbe; line 2, ö in esö, ö in szeretömmel; verse 5, lines 1 and 2, ö in szeretöm. Friss csárdás verse 3, line 1, ö in egyesböl and kettesböl.