Nane tsoxa – I’ve no skirt

The French group “Bratsch” has played quite a few Romani songs during decades. Soon, next December they will give up performance.
I want to share a favourite old standard of our traditional folk music as a memory of them and a farewell to them: ‘Nane tsoxa’ (I’ve no skirt)*. It’s sung in a North Russian dialect of Romani, called Xaladikta. And it’s a lovely song, which speaks of a girl who has no skirt (tsoxa) and no blouse (gad) to dress nicely, and, somewhat blatantly, asks her father to buy them for her.

*[The word “tsora” in the video’s title (and in the disc’s) is not rightly transcribed using the latin alphabet and following the best accepted convention among Romani people to use “x” to represent a more o less aspirated “h” depending on the dialect.]


This is a transcription of the lyrics as Bratsch sing them:

Nane tsoxa, nane gad,
Me kinel mange jo-dad!
Sir vidtjala palorrom,
Me kinel mange jo-rrom!

Dado, kin mange chenja,
O chenja sumnakune.
Na kinesa o chenja,
Na beshava dro chjaja!

Zagejom me drej da sado,
Zriskirdjom me cveto,
Prekirdjom les ke shero,
Te kames miro ilo. (TWICE)

Nane tsoxa, nane gad,
Me kinel mange jo-dad!
Sir vidtjala palorrom,
Me kinel mange jo-rrom!


I’ve no skirt, I’ve no blouse / Buy them for me, dad! / If I get married, / Buy them for me, husband!

Daddy, buy me earrings, / Earrings of gold. / If you don’t buy the earrings, / I won’t be maiden for long!

I went into a garden, / I picked up a flower, / I fixed it to my head, / For you to want my heart.

I’ve no skirt, I’ve no blouse / Buy them for me, dad! / If I get married, / Buy them for me, husband!

   “This post, with the lyrics -but without a translation into English-, was published twice by my sister in G+; the first time nearly a year ago, and later -with a different comment-, very soon after becoming engaged. Just then she said to me: “The day I marry I will sing and dance ‘Nane Tsoxa’ as it should be sung and danced: wearing no ‘tsoxa’ and no ‘gad’; while my ‘rrom’ plays the guitar … as far as he is able to -I really expect he won’t reach the last stanza and will rush to hold me instead of his guitar!-.”

   “Let me explain that my sister did not get a proper skirt until she was eleven or twelve years old, and even then she got them second hand -and quite worn out- through one of her school mates, and paid for them with a couple of her favourite Tintin albums; and afterwards had to adapt them to her narrower waist and hips. Blouses, she had some, but not at all like she liked, so she had to trade more comics and diverse stuff at school to obtain nicer ones. I mean that this lyrics did really seem likeable and coherent to her, in spite of us not being wharfs, indigent children or something alike.”

   “May you be merrily dancing this with the angels, sweetheart!”

   – Li Fontrodona

[A last word about how to dance this song… I’m not expert, but as far I saw Ariel dance it, she did it more or less like this other Romani-Russian tradicional tune (‘Schachlo’) -which has the same accelerated tempo and ends being just as fast]:


-The featured image at the header is an oil painting by Christopher Clark, called “The Gypsy Dancer”

4 thoughts on “Nane tsoxa – I’ve no skirt

  1. It’s hard to speak; this brought tears and a smile. I can only imagine, not to play without my dancer, inspiration has escaped me with the muse naught to be found. Thank you for sharing this beautiful prose, art and music, and most of all feelings, phral ! God bless you dear Ariti, cosmic dancing firefly:)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I share very deeply the tears and the smile, John . She was listening to that song once and again past spring, and you may easily imagine who played the guitar in her mind.
    As for the dance and the dancer in the second video, I discovered it yesterday looking for a good example to illustrate the kind of dancing I had in my memory. And this one not only matched it perfectly, but also matched the image at the heading (look at the skirt!), and the very looks of Ariel when she dressed that way and danced these Romani tunes . It impressed me very much and brought many tears to my eyes too .
    And furthermore, this “cosmic dancing firefly” you’ve written here is just lovely and I bow to it !
    Finally, let me tell you that besides being a phral, she made you my ‘zhamutro’ (brother-in law -when being a sister’s husband) as well.
    Ach Devlesa !


    1. Yes, I was acutely aware of my place in the picture, dancing in my mind. Ari had shared the first video with me previously, and mentioned dancing for me. Thank you for the share, and for these comments, phral !

      Liked by 1 person

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