Los Kaminos de Sirkedji

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.


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.

2019 Update:

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.

When we begin to get together
with beers and soft drinks,
in the end, we took our leave
words cold as ice.