Balkanarama Anthems 24th October, 2014


This weekend sees the return of Balkanarama to The Art School. A full venue riot of song, dance and live performance, a celebration of the music and culture of the Balkans. Here, Balkanarama organiser Saska contextualises the event, as well as choosing and translating some Balkan anthems for the uninitiated:

The Balkans have for centuries been a crossroads for numerous civilisations, cultures and peoples, creating an amazing diversity in all aspects of human activity, including arts and music. Traditional Balkan music – the soundtrack to centuries of celebrations and rituals – incorporates anything from haunting polyphonic singing and wonderful sevdah – which tells tales of hate and love – to rhythmical circle dances and raucous gypsy tunes. Yet all these forms of musical expression have a common identity, a shared spirit – of celebrating all sides of life and the vastness of human emotion – utter happiness as well as emotional anguish, and, importantly, that melancholic feeling of teetering on the edge between the two. When we invite people to Balkanarama we invite them to come along and “dance, jump, scream, cry, sing, drink, laugh and sigh!” as this Balkan music provides the backdrop for people to let loose, celebrate life, invoke their sorrows and purge them, to indulge in indulgence — experience catharsis and partake in the joy of sound and movement, the joy of sharing that experience with fellow human beings. Tunes like Ciganka Sam Mala speak of exactly that: sharing important moments with people of different backgrounds, and bridging the gap between different ethnicities through simply (and utterly) falling in love…

– Saska (Balkanarama)

Da Zna Zora
(If the dawn knew)

The dawn would have never dawned if it knew what a sweet darling I have been kissing.
Day and night, and night and day, I drink rosy wine. And just before the break of dawn I go home drunk.


There is no more sun
There is no more moon
There’s no me
There’s no you
There’s nothing left
We’ve been covered by the darkness of war
And I wonder oh my dear
What shall happen to us?

Moonlight oh moonlight ooooh
Sun is shining oh sun is shinig ooooh
From the heavens a ray is streaming
No one knows what it is that shines

Ciganka Sam Mala (& Evo Banke cigane moj medley)
(I’m a little gypsy girl)(& Here’s a coin oh my gypsy boy medley)

I’m a little gypsy girl, there’s a glint in my eye
I play and sing and dance all night, until the break of dawn

When you look into my eyes you forget all sorrows of yours
Your heart wants one but your reason wants another

If only sooner our eyes have met
you would have remained a bachelor for your entire life

I am your little dark-haired black gypsy girl
And all is because of your little dark-haired black gypsy girl

* * * * * * *
Here’s a coin oh my gypsy boy, play for me
I will sing for you, you will play for me
Here’s a coin oh my gypsy boy, play for me

The champagne we will cool down, open and drink
And when the right moment has come the champagne will topple us
Here’s a coin oh my gypsy boy, play for me