|Los kaminos de Sirkedji||The roads of Sirkedji|
|Son yenos de arena;||Are full of sand;|
|Yo vo pasar y vo tornar||I’m going to pass by and come back|
|Por ver a ti morena.||To see you, my dark-complected beauty.|
|Morena tu, moreniko yo,||You are dark-complected, as am I|
|Ven mos frekuentaremos;||Come, let’s get together.|
|Si no te plaze frekuentar,||If you don’t want to get together,|
|Ven mos espozaremos.||Come, let’s marry.|
|Kuando ‘mpezimos a frekuentar||When we begin to get together|
|Con biras i gasoses||With beer and sodas|
|A la fin fue retirasión||In the end we took our leave|
|Palabras de yelores||Words cold as ice.|
|El tu papa me prometio||Your father promised me|
|Kampos y vinyas;||Fields and vineyards;|
|Yo no te tomo a ti pasha||(But) I wouldn’t have you, my dear,|
|Ni por tapon de pila.||Not even for a sink-stopper.|
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.
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.
Recently we found a source for an additional (third) verse of the song – it’s not on the recording but you might hear us play it live.