Mondays Need a Little Music: “Üsküdara Gİderİken”

Welcome to my first music feature!

Weekly I’m going to post a specific song that catches my heart and my mind in some way. Whether it be a song I’ve had on repeat, one that’s impacted my life, or something new I’ve discovered.

Today’s feature song is the classic Turkish song “Üsküdara Gideriken.” This is a song that, like all young Turkish children, I grew up singing non-stop, and the melody still runs through my mind and out of my lips on occasion. It was such a pleasure when I began diving into 1930s-1960s music to find Eartha Kitt’s cover of this classic and iconic Turkish song. Although she has a strong accent and takes some artistic liberties, it’s amazing to see a piece of Turkish (and Ottoman) culture brought to the light for audiences in the United States. This song went on to be a Top 40 hit of Eartha’s in 1953 but hasn’t seemed to have survived in the same way other hits of hers have. The song tells of a woman and a scribe, and their journey together to Üsküdar across the Bosphorus.

I’m attaching a fabulous video of Eartha performing the song live in the ’60s as well as a version sung by Safiye Ayla – a famous singer of Turkish Classical Music – so you can hear the original tone, sound, feel and pronunciation of the song.

Hope you enjoy!

Love, Miss Lark Bahar

“Üsküdar’a gider iken aldı da bir yağmur,
Kâtibimin setresi uzun eteği çamur.
Kâtip uykudan uyanmış gözleri mahmur.
Kâtip benim ben kâtibin el ne karışır,
Kâtibime kolalı da gömlek ne güzel yaraşır.
Üsküdar’a gider iken bir mendil buldum,
Mendilimin içine lokum doldurdum.
Kâtibimi arar iken yanımda buldum.
Kâtip benim ben kâtibin el ne karışır,
Kâtibime kolalı da gömlek ne güzel yaraşır.”

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