Bedros Alahaidoyan coll. | Diyarbekir

Diyarbekir: Panorama of the city. (Source: Michel Paboudjian collection, Paris)

This recording took place in Valence, France, on the 1st of December 1984. The lady singing these native songs from Diyarbekir is Ovsanna Chalemian, who was born in Qamishli (north-east of Syria); her parents originally hailed from Diyarbekir. This was the period when Bedros Alahaidoyan used to live in Brussels where he worked for the local state radio. He had visited Valence to collect and record Armenian songs. The Armenian radio station in Valence (Radio A) had announced that they were looking for people who knew songs from their native villages and towns; Ovsanna’s family had gotten in touch with the radio station and thus a meeting was arranged between Bedros and Ovsanna. Ovsanna was 70 years old at the time.

Ovsanna was born on 12 July 1915 in Hayni/Hani, she didn’t remember the exact place, because when she was a little child, her family moved to Diyarbekir and that’s where she grew up. Ovsanna’s father had survived the Genocide thanks to his skills in saddle-making. Ovsanna learned these songs from her father’s mother who lived to be 105 years old, and who had a passion for songs.

Voice: Ovsanna Chalemian (70 years old)
Place: Valence, France
Date: December 1, 1984

Armenians in Diyarbekir, c. 1912, photographer unknown. Ready for merriment with a kanoun, a violin, a waterpipe and a bottle of arak. (Source: Project SAVE Armenian Photograph Archives, Watertown, MA, courtesy of Antranig Tarzian)

1. Inch eretsir toun eretsir | What you have done you have done

Inch eretsir toun eretsir
Poshin e klkhoud peretsir
Anerig dkhmar peretsir
Va vay le va vay le malig vera

Your sen gi kas veri vana
Yes ti vana toun ti vana
Asdvadz mezi tour mi pana
Va vay le va vay le malig vera

Your sen gi kas en tou taghen
Pats khapeng e mera baghoun 
Eresis khaytir e meghoun
Va vay le va vay le malig vera

Marhani bakhchi havouze
Vize gakhman e holdouze
Achkhs desav sirds gouze
Va vay le va vay le malig vera

Your sen gi kas houshig houshig
Vodkd mdav varti poushig
Bak mi i das inch anoushig
Va vay le va vay le malig vera

Panorama of Diyarbekir. The famous "chardakh"s of the city can be seen on the roof tops of some of the houses. ​These are wooden structures enveloped with clothes, where members of the family would gather during summer evenings and would spend the night there in the open air. (Source: Michel Paboudjian collection, Paris)

2. Tsyoun e yegel | It has snowed

Tsyoun e yegel mer azki hay le le
Aghchig yeli degh hasni hay le le

Tsyoun e yegel lerneroun hay le le
Kaz mi dabge derderneroun hay le le

Hay le hay le hay le le hay le le
Hay le hay le jan le le hay le le

Ghaz mi dabge derderneroun hay le le
Togh bsage khorteroun hay le le

Tsyoune yegir koteroun hay le le
Asdvadz bahe khorteroun hay le le

Tsyoune yegir arvenir hay le le
Asdvadz arner barvenir hay le le

Tsyoune yegir chart enir hay le le
Asdvadz bahe aghchegnir hay le le

Choukhda gakav lerneroun hay le le
Azab aghchig khorteroun hay le le

Bridge over the Tigris, Diyarbekir, with the walls of the city visible in the back, on the hills. (Source: Hugo Grothe, Geographische Charakterbilder, Leipzig, 1909)

3. Ashir epetsink porig | Invocation of a traditional meal

Ashir epetsink porig na nay e na nay e
Arank katsink Dborig na nay e na nay e
Eloun khadzits mits bakhtsank na nay e
Mer charokhner hon mortsank na nay e

Na nay na nay na nay e na nay e na nay e
Na nay aghchig dgha e na nay e na nay e

Katsink khnaman doune na nay e na nay e
Khnamin engav koune na nay e na nay e

Arank harsi dsdoure na nay e na nay e
Hasank koushayi tore na nay e na nay e

Godretsink ttou noure na nay e na nay e
Neghatsav pesin koure na nay e na nay e

Choukhda gakav lerneroun na nay e na nay e
Azab aghchig khorteroun na nay e na nay e

Peretsink harsn ou pesan na nay e na nay e
Tretsink srdi koshan na nay e na nay e
Irenk irents pspsan na nay e na nay e

Khazi goshgeni katsink na nay e na nay e
Hars ou pesan peretsink na nay e na nay e

Arakh kinin khmetsink na nay e na nay e
Dgha aghchig khaghtsoutsink na nay e na nay e

Diyarbekir, a part of the German orphanage. The building is characterized by the architecture that is special to the city of Diyarbekir. (Source: Ferdinand Brockes, Quer durch Klein-Asien, Gütersloh, 1900)

4. Dounerou mech asi pasi | Longing for your lovely face

Dounerou mech asi pasi glor vimda engenim dzousi
Kani erigt chegir e baknim khntsorig eristsi

Dounerou mech ga anasoun saat ou ges mnats lousoun
Ire kourin meg e bsoun inch aghvor is kaghki aghchig

Dounerou mech ig anoushig aghchig egour oushig oushig
Indzi aghchig shadi goghiga amenoun mech toun anoushig

Dounerou mech ig anoushig vodks mdav varti poushig
Dounerou mech ig anoushig aghchig yegour toun anoushig

Armenian women from Diyarbekir. (Source: Hugo Grothe, Geographische Charakterbilder, Leipzig, 1909)

5. Yar ella | Let her be my love

Yar ella yar yar ella yar ella
Yar ella inch aghchig e mashalla

Yar ella shekhints abdon mer mishents
Yar ella knats kaghits manoushag
Yar ella perits prets layn deoshag

Yar ella mir plink ou tsri plink
Yar ella kervorink ou balbalink

Yar ella mer kaghak e choursd ore
Yar ella aghchi i mer dni tor e

Yar ella mir kaghake meydan e
Yar ella polour polour beydan e

Yar ella peretsin harsn ou pesan
Yar ella tretsin sedri keoshan
Yar ella irenk irents togh pspsan

A scene from the city of Diyarbekir. (Source: H. Hepworth, Through Armenia on Horseback, London, 1898)
1896. The walled city of Diyarbekir. Crenated fortification walls and towers with the aqueduct running alongside it to supply the city with water from the hills. The Muslim cemetery within sight of the minarets inside the city. (Source: Quaker & Special Collections, Haverford College, Haverford, PA)

6. Amene daran indzi chedaran ke amo | They took everyone and left me at home

Amene daran endzi chdaran ke amo
Mer tore tsadz endzi chdesan ke amo

Elnank plink partsr shinink ke amo
Vran tnink zanke tnink ke amo

Babous ese indzi habir togh charne
Nshanadzs vosgerich e ge shine

Inch aghvor e pantsr tonrin hasire
Nshanadzs vran khev sire
Anang erir nshanadze khev sire

Tserk tserki dank ertank paghnik miasin
Ghourban eghnam kezi perogh mamousin

Diyarbekir, the Tufenkdji family. (Source: Dzovig Torikian collection, Lebanon)

7. Gadar khana

Gadar khana gokhadz mashin
Orzouhale dvits pashin
Girtan gi kan bakal bashin
Aghas toun khev is toun khev is

Aghas toun khev is toun khev is
Pashas toun khev is toun khev is
Glor mlor egour kovis
Baknim sirim desnam ov is

Mer doun tser dan modig modig
Mer doun tser dan modig modig
Mer dan geller anoush hodig
Tser dan geller khisd khorodig

Mer doun i ger karsoun garas
Tser doun i ger karsoun garas
Karsoun garsin kinin er has
Osgi goumgoum ardzte tas

Kourke hakir tive nighe
Dzdzven ire garak ighe
Azabneroun tartin mal e

Kourke hakir tive ale
Dzdzven ire portoukal e

Dzdzven ire portoukal e
Azabneroun tartin mal e

Diyarbekir, the Ulu Cami (the Great Mosque)​ and its front court. (Source: Orientalisches Archiv, Hugo Grothe, Band I, 1910/1911, Leipzig, 1910)

8. Aghchig aghchig toun egour indzi modig | Young lady come to me

Aghchig aghchig toun egour endzi modig
Arnim hodt i mdnam dzoutsed i aghvor aghchig

Na na nay nay nay na na nay nay
Na na nay nay nay na na nay nay

Midkd ingadzits adene mazerd kashim
Dardit engel em halel em mashe

Miag kars ge zargem kared nakash e
Or me gi ka moubad ge tstsnim aghchig aghchig

Aghchig aghchig inch gayner es erer em
Mamed inch kashir e kezi pereloun
Kshir koun che khnir orank e oreloun aghchig aghchig

Aghchig aghchig toun egour endzi modig
Arnim hodt i mdnam dzoutsed i aghchig aghchig

April 1896, inside the ancient walled city of Diyarbekir. (Source: Quaker & Special Collections, Haverford College, Haverford, PA)