Gordon Bok Gordon Bok 2 12 2010-03-30T15:29:00Z 2010-03-30T15:29:00Z 1 218 1248 Timberhead 10 2 1532 9.6926

Hatu Khara Ols'n

(The Hard Black Rope)

Traditional

 

This is a song from the Khalmyk (Buryat Mongol) people who came to live in Philadelphia and New Jersey beginning in the 1950s.  I learned it from my friends Sara Stepkin Goripow and Nadja Stepkin Budschalow during the winters that I worked in Philadelphia and sang with them and played in their dance-orchestra.

 

They told me it was "a very young song song (less than 200 years old, probably) and very Russian."  It came from a time when they were hauling boats up rivers – by hand.  Nadja said, "You could call it our 'Volga Boat Song.'" Many of the words are lost to present day Khalmyk, but (loosely) it goes:  "I pull the hard, black rope (and I sing) Mother/ Father/ my People/ my Country: I do not forget you."  I have the 3rd verse in Nadja's writing : "While this river runs, while you work here, don't forget your people."

 

Ordinarily I would never harmonize a Khalmyk song, but wherever the Stepkin sisters sang this one, they sang it in harmony… so I have it a Russian flavor here for the Quasimodals, and have tried to teach them the Khalmyk sounds that are not so easy to remember from all those years ago. 

 

The Quasimodal Chorus

 

Hatuya khara olsigen

Hakurun badje tatulav

Hakurun badje tatulav

 

Hakurun badje tatushen

Harm stele edje minye sanugdna

Harm stele edje minye sanugdna

 

Idjelinye irgede kudlagen

Izhe lan biche martite

Izhe lan biche martite

 

Idjelinye irgede kudlushen

Inyegem ondzin nandan sanugdna

Inyegem ondzin nandan sanugdna

 

 

 

Hatu Khara Ols'n is recorded on the albums Dear To Our Island and Seal Djiril's Hymn, and is also in the songbook Time and the Flying Snow