Codin (În pădure la Daimac / In the forest at Daimac)

Here’s a ballad from Gorj, Oltenia. You guessed it, it’s about death. Oh! what a surprise. More specifically, the song is about a handsome young Rudar Gypsy who has a nasty logging accident because he didn’t heed his mother’s advice.

Update: A little bird told me the author of this ballad is Oltenian folk singer Ion Dolănescu, who stumbled over the story of young Codin of Buduhala sometime during the ’70s. (He was reprimanded by the regime for describing a thieving Gypsy as somewhat of a hero).

Right next door to Teleorman, Oltenia is a region ripe with folklore and I’m pretty sure many local singers covered this pretty little song but I once again chose Ionel Tudorache‘s version. While he hails from Buzău, he’s as close as possible to what a real lăutar should sound like, without becoming poppy or academic, or falling prey to Communist-style delusions of grandeur.

Sub un cer cu lună plină
o rudăreasă bătrână
plânge şi se jeluieşte
căci pe Codin nu-l găseşte.

Au au au, Codin al meu,
după tine-mi pare rău
dară ţie nici că-ţi pasă
că ţi-am zis să stai acasă.

Să vă spun ce s-a-ntâmplat, măi,
în pădure la Daimac
s-a dus vestea-n toată ţara
de Codin din Buduhala,
cum a plecat la pădure
c-un topor şi c-o secure.

Au au au, Codin al meu,
nu mai pot de dorul tău
dară ţie nici că-ţi pasă
că ţi-am zis să stai acasă.

Codin pleacă la pădure
c-un topor şi c-o secure,
cu securea lui cea lată
tăia pluta dintr-odată
şi Codin fiind singurel,
pluta a picat pe el, măi.

Au au au, muică, Codine,
ce-a vorbit muica cu tine,
să nu te duci la pădure
căci cade pluta pe tine,
căci cade pluta pe tine
de te omoară, Codine.

Să vezi rudăresele, măi,
cum fierbe sarmalele,
cum fierbe sarmalele
să-nceapă pomenile.

Au au au, Codin al meu, măi,
după tine-mi pare rău,
dară ţie nici că-ţi pasă
că ţi-am zis să stai acasă.

Codine, copiii tăi,
cum se urcă pe bordei
şi mănâncă dragavei,
dragavei pe olteneşte,
ştevie pe româneşte.

Beneath a sky with a full moon
an old Rudar* woman
cries and weeps
’cause she can’t find Codin.

Woe, oh, woe, my Codin,
I’m sorry ’bout you
but you don’t even care
that I told you to stay home.

Let me tell you what happened
in the woods at Daimac,
word has spread throughout the country
of Codin of Buduhala,
how he left for the woods
with an axe and a hatchet.

Woe, oh, woe, my Codin,
I miss you so much I can’t take it anymore
but you don’t even care
that I told you to stay home.

Codin set off into the woods
with an axe and a hatchet,
with his broad axe
he’d split the cork plank with one stroke,
and as Codin was all alone
the plank fell on top of him.

Woe, oh, woe, mother, Codin,
what did mama tell you
not to go into the woods
cause the plank is going to fall on you,
cause the plank is going to fall on you
and kill you, Codin.

Look at the Rudar women,
how they boil the sarmale**,
how they boil the sarmale
to start the funeral meals.***

Woe, oh, woe, my Codin,
I’m sorry ’bout you
but you don’t even care
that I told you to stay home.

Codin, look at your children
how they climb on top of the hovel
eating sorrel**** leaves –
dragavei in Oltenian,
ştevie in Romanian.

* The Rudari or Băieşi (“miners”) / Lingurari (“spoon-makers”) are an important Romani ethnic group living in Romania, Hungary and the Balkans. Unlike most Gypsies, they speak a dialect of Romanian; that’s why Romani-speaking Gypsies might call non-Romani-speaking Gypsies “rudari”. See wiki.
** Sarmale, a kind of dolma, part of our glorious Ottoman heritage. Minced meat and/or rice wrapped in vine leaf, cabbage or sorrel.
*** You can read more about the pomana (a funeral meal in Eastern Orthodox culture) here.
**** Ştevie (or dragavei in Oltenian dialect) can mean Patience dock or Common sorrel. Leafy greens often found in Southern Romanian cuisine. Seen as a poor man’s food.

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