Ruse kose New Balkan Rhythm Workshop

Ruse kose is a traditional song from Serbia. What is controversial about it is the origin of the song is not known. Many neighboring nations from Balkans have claimed it as their tradition and heritage. Turks, Albanians, North Macedonians, Bosnians, Greek and Bulgarians alike dispute that it is their own. There is even a movie shot about the song named Who’s is this song? It is a documentary movie of Macedonian author Adela Peeva. But the dispute doesn’t end there! You can here there is as well a Syrian song with similar melody. You can find it performed here by Hilda Hrekes and Serbian vocal group Constantine.

We perform the song on our concerts with Serbian/Turkish/Greek lyrics mixed, hoping to make peace in art with the heritage of nations followed by militant relations. In the workshop we used only first verse of Serbian song.

The story line of the song in Serbian is a dialogue between a young man and a woman. In the beginning of every verse he is admiring different attributes of the girl: her hair, her beautiful pale tone of the facial skin and her sweet honey mouth. The man is asking her is she going to hold all this treasure form herself. The young woman replies that if she wanted to keep it for herself she wouldn’t have shared all this treasures with him.

Original lyrics
Ruse kose

Aj, ruse kose curo imaš (imash)
Žališ li gi ti? (je t’aime)
Aj, ruse kose curo imaš
Žališ li gi ti?
Aman, da gi žalam
Ne bi ti gi dala
Da ih mrsiš ti (mrsish)
Aman, da gi žalam
Ne bi ti gi dala
Da gi mrsiš ti

Aj, belo lice curo imaš
Žališ li gi ti?
Aj, belo lice curo imaš
Žališ li gi ti?
Aman, da gi žalam
Ne bi ti gi dala
Da gi ljubiš ti (lyubish)
Aman, da gi žalam
Ne bi ti gi dala
Da gi ljubiš ti

Aj, medna usta curo imaš
Žališ li gi ti?
Aj, medna usta curo imaš
Žališ li gi ti?
Aman, da gi žalam
Ne bi ti gi dala
Da gi piješ ti (pijesh)
Aman, da gi žalam
Ne bi ti gi dala
Da gi piješ ti

Lyrics translation
Red hair

Such rich red hair you have, girl
Do you keep it for yourself?
Such rich red hair you have, girl
Do you keep it for yourself?
If I would keep it for myself
Then I wouldn’t
Let you tangle it
If I would keep it for myself
Then I wouldn’t
Let you tangle it

Such beautiful pale face you have, girl
Do you keep it for yourself?
Such beautiful pale face you have, girl
Do you keep it for yourself?
If I would keep it for myself
Then I wouldn’t
Let you kiss it
If I would keep it for myself
Then I wouldn’t
Let you kiss it

Such sweet honey mouth you have, girl
Do you keep it for yourself?
Such sweet honey mouth you have, girl
Do you keep it for yourself?
If I would keep it to myself
Then I wouldn’t
Let you drink from it
If I would keep it to myself
Then I wouldn’t
Let you drink from it

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