Jovano Jovanke is a traditional song from North Macedonia in 7/8 rhythm. This song is about unrequited love of a young man for a young woman named Jovana. Her name is a kind of chorus, a constant that is driving the song forward and we should hear his love and yearning through the calling of her name on the beginning of every part – Jovano, Jovanke (which is a pet name, diminutive from Jovana). Jovano is the girl’s name in vocative.
Vardar is the river in Macedonia that runs through Skopje, main city of North Macedonia. We had a pleasure of performing the song in front of Macedonian National Theater and below the plateau runs the river – magical evening! Visit North Macedonia if you have a chance, go to lake Ohrid.
In the song, Jovana is washing the clothes on river Vardar. Maybe this is the place where the young man saw her first, or had a chance to see her. He sings that her mother doesn’t let her come to him and he is waiting for her, but she is not coming. Many songs from Balkans are about impossibility of relationship, because of different social status or some other social (un)written laws.
Music of North Macedonia and Bulgaria is mostly in irregular rhythm, which has a different drive than regular and that is a reason we love to perform it and teach it.
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Kraj Vardarot sedish, mori
Belo platno belish
Belo platno belish, dusho
Se na gore gledash
Tvojata majka, mori
Tebe ne te pushta
So mene da dojdesh, dusho
Jas te tebe chekam, mori
Doma da mi dojdesh
A ti ne doadjash, dusho
Srce moje, Jovano
You are sitting by river Vardar
And bleaching the white linen
And looking up
Your mother is not letting you
Come to me, my sweet soul, Joan
I am waiting for you to come to me
But you are not coming
My sweet soul, Joan