Nane tsoxa – I’ve no skirt

[First posted in November 29th, 2016. Reblogged now, out of nostalgia, after listening to this music again. To the few who still follow this blog and were not here back then, in 2016, I just recommend to enjoy the nerve of the music, the spell of the Rromani language, the flare of a person now physically gone, but forever present in spirit to a few of us. – Lixie F]


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The French group “Bratsch” has played quite a few Rromani 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 Rromani, 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.]

 

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

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

.Meaning:

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’.”

   “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; Nov 2016

[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 girl from Uzbekistan: Schachlo, dances this other Romani-Russian tradicional tune -which has the same accelerated tempo and ends being just as fast] :

 

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


 

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