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Chaje Shukarije

PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 11:15 am
by zee
After I played Chaje Shukarije by the Bulgarian singer, Sissy Atanassova, on both BBC London and the World Service a few weeks ago, an avalanche of appreciative emails poured in from listeners who grew up in the former Yugoslavia, for whom the song brought back precious memories.



Hi, Charlie,

I am from Romania and a big fan of your programme.

Incidentally, I can help you with "Chaye Shukariye". You got it almost right.

It does have an Indian connection, insofar as it is a Gypsy song in the Gypsy (Romany Balkan) language, and the gypsies are originally from India, their language also being Indic.

"Chaye Shukariye", means quite simply "Pretty Girl". AFAIK, it was first sung by Esma Redzepova [FYROM], then by other Gypsy and non-Gypsy singers from ex-Yugoslavia (Vera Zivkovic, Ljubisa Stefanovic-Luis etc.) in the 1980-s. I myself haven't heard it since 1990.

Best regards, Cristian Mocanu


This mail is in reference to the song you played earlier today that you thought was probably of Indian origin but you said was sung by a Bulgarian artist...

I believe it is from an artist from former Yugoslavia...Esma Redzepova.

There is a history to this song.

Maria Drinovac


I’m Bulgarian and I’ve listened to your program today and heard a song called Chaje Shukarije. U weren’t sure whether song has an Indian origin. Well u’re quite close – this is a very popular Bulgarian gypsy tune and clarinet solo (called “taksimâ€

PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 12:11 am
by Tino

does anyone knows the translation of text?

Chaje Shukarije

PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 10:23 pm
by BR Giri
I love world music, and I have got The Sounds of The World double CD, many reviewer have said what Chaje Shukarije means. I was just wondering its literal meaning was sweet tea, I would think Chaje means tea, and Shukarije means just sqeezed/unrefined form of suger. Of course its meaning now could well be sweet girl as gypsy people have lived in the Balkans for so many years.
BR Giri

PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 1:05 am
by Jason Shaw
You can find the original lyrics and a translation at though I could not vouch for the accuracy of either; the original lyrics sound about right and seem to be the same on both Sissy and Esma's recordings. I'm not an expert in Romani (Russian is my area really which is why I thought it might be about sweet tea too for a moment then thought it doubtful that Esma Redzepova's haunting howl at the start of the song could be about tea however thirsty) but I checked some of the words against a Romani lexicon (Romlex) and it would seem to fit with a Macedonian dialect but safe to say it is definitely Romani and not Slavic or Albanian.

I've been trying to find the words to Otkako sam tudja zena by Lilianna Buttler. Can anyone help? Cheers.

PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 8:04 pm
by garth cartwright
I've interviewed Esma several times and she claims CS is her song - written by her and first recorded by her. Unless anyone can find an earlier recording I believe this should stand - Esma was a whirlwind of creativity in the 1960s and 70s and recorded many fine songs, most of which she - or her husband Stevo - wrote. Ask her about Bregovic's appropriation of said song - it appears on his massive selling album with the limp Polish singer (credit "Gypsy folklore/arangement Bregovic" - he's to Balkan music what Led Zep were to blues/Brit folk: blatant thieves) - and she gets very upset.

CS has become very popular across the Balkans and I have heard it performed by restaurant musicians, brass bands, turbo folk pop singers etc - it's a bit like Mojo Working, everyone has it in their repertoire. Sissy's version is a straight cover of Esma's - like the Stones early covers of Muddy and co also played it straight. Oddly, I've never met a Bulgarian who knows of Sissy - the album u champion Charlie is on an Italian label and I wonder if she is part of the large Bulgarian diaspora based in Italy? Anyway, play some Esma! She's the queen so let's hear it for her.

PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 9:40 pm
by NormanD
garth cartwright wrote:(Goran Bregovic)..he's to Balkan music what Led Zep were to blues/Brit folk: blatant thieves)
Has he not done a similar thing with the Gypsy anthem Ederlezi? There was an interview in SLines or fRoots a while back with Nigel Kennedy after he cut the album with Kroke. They did a version of "Ederlezi", but first he had to get permission from G B, or his publishers. I'm sure he called him something choice, like an effing b....

PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 12:38 pm
by garth cartwright
yes Norman, Bregovic is outrageous - he copywrites traditional Balkan tunes (or tunes written by Esma, Saban and other Balkan Rom artists he knows have no understanding of copyright/publishing etc) and claims they are his own (and sues when other people try and use them). Back in the 70s he lead the most successful Yugoslav rock band White Button (dull prog rock) and Yugo friends tell me he did the same thing with Western pop songs ie took the tune, sang the song in Serbo-Croat and claimed copyright. A most insidious individual.

PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 3:38 pm
by NormanD
garth cartwright wrote:...he did the same thing with Western pop songs ie took the tune, sang the song in Serbo-Croat and claimed copyright. A most insidious individual.
I'll look for his version of Lee Dorsey's "Ya Ya" from the "Underground" OST (great version, I have to admit, in spite of) and see what the writers' credits say