Ladino

Los kaminos de Sirkedji
Son yenos de arena;
Yo vo pasar y vo tornar
Por ver a ti morena.

Morena tu, moreniko yo,
Ven mos frekuentaremos;
Si no te plaze frekuentar,
Ven mos espozaremos.

El tu papa me prometio
Kampos y vinyas;
Yo no te tomo a ti pasha
Ni por tapon de pila.

English

The roads of Sirkedji
Are full of sand;
I’m going to pass by and come back
To see you, my dark-complected beauty.

You are dark-complected,
      I am dark-complected;
Come, let’s meet together;
If you don’t want to meet together,

Come, let’s get engaged.
Your father promised me
Fields and vineyards;
(But) I wouldn’t have you, my dear,
Not even for a sink-stopper.

Description

Map of Sirkedji | credit: nona.net
Map of Sirkedji | credit: nona.net

Sirkedji is a district in Istanbul, Turkey, on the Golden Horn, the European side of the city. The train station there is the southeastern terminus of the Orient Express. Nearby is the famed Topkapi palace. This song, which we learned from a recording by retired cantor Isaac “Ike” Asoze, from Seattle, is not particularly Jewish in content, but that can be said of many songs in the Sephardic repertoire, and the fact that it’s in Ladino makes it automatically Sephardic.

Topkai Place, credit: worldwanderista.com
Topkai Place |  credit worldwanderista.com

Ike, whose parents immigrated to Seattle, Washington, from Turkey in the 1920s learned this song from Karen Gerson Sarhon of Istanbul, whose group, Los Pasharos Sefardis, was the first professional ensemble in Turkey to focus solely on Sephardic songs.

Source: Karen Sarhon via Isaac Azose
I am not aware of any published versions of this song, but a great many versions can be found on YouTube.