Here’s one about a river. Săbărelu’

More from folklore-rich Teleorman region. This is a song about the Sabar river, a 90-mile long lowland tributary of the Argeş, known for being completely unremarkable, except for… well, the one time it was mentioned in a folk song :). Sung here by Viorica of Clejani, but also covered by the Taraf de Haïdouks or Communist-era icon Ion Dolănescu.

BTW, the name Teleorman itself (Deli orman) is Turkish for “crazy forest”, hinting towards ancient Cumanic influence or, more recently, Ottoman expeditions meeting up with all kinds of thieves, rustlers and murderers. No vampires though.

Cât mi-i Argeşul de mare
Haz ca Săbărelu’ n-are,
lele, lele şi iar lele.

Săbărelu-i cu dulceaţă,
trece iarna şi nu-ngheaţă,
lele, lele şi iar lele.

Săbărelu’ mititel,
s-a-ncuibat dragostea-n el,
lele, lele şi iar lele.

Săbărel cu apă rece,
cine bea, de dor îi trece,
lele, lele şi iar lele.

Mă suii din vale-n deal,
mi-arunc ochii pe Sabar,
lele, lele şi iar lele.

Văzui săbărencele,
cum nălbeşte pânzele,
lele, lele şi iar lele.

Li se văd picioarele
albe ca lebedele,
lele, lele şi iar lele.

Şi văzui o săbăreancă
care mi-era mie dragă,
lele, lele şi iar lele.

Dar-ar dumnezeu o ploaie,
să vină Sabaru’ mare
să ia puntea de la vale,
să rămâie numai parii,
numai parii, părucenii,
să se-nţepe săbărenii.

Să rămâie-o săbăreancă
care mi-a fost mie dragă,
fa, fa, fa, Didino, fa.

De dragă ce mi-era dragă
mi-o purtam cu basma albă,
fa, fa, fa, Didino, fa.

As big as the Argeş might be,
it doesn’t have the good humor of the Sabar,
lele, lele*, one more time – lele.

Little Sabar is full of sweetness,
winter can pass without it freezing over,
lele, lele […]

The little Sabar river,
where love built its nest,
lele, lele […]

Little Sabar with its cold water,
one can drink from it and soothe their longing,
lele, lele […]

So I climbed from the valley to the top of the hill
to cast a glance on the Sabar,
lele, lele […]

And I saw the women who live by the Sabar (Săbărence),
how they were whitening pieces of cloth in it,
lele, lele […]

You could see their legs,
white as swans,
lele, lele […]

And I saw a săbăreancă,
one I really cared for,
lele, lele […]

Won’t the Lord send a rainstorm,
for the Sabar to swell up
and take away the bridge in the valley
leaving only the posts,
only the posts, the posts,
for the Sabar-people to impale themselves on.

Till only one săbăreancă is left,
one I cared for,
fa, fa, fa, Didino**, fa.

As I cared for her so much
I gave her a white headkerchief to wear,
fa, fa, fa, Didino, fa.

* Lele is a respectful term used when addressing an older woman. In folk songs, however, it often means one’s lover or fiancée.
** Fa (or ) is yet another interjection signaling that one is talking to a girl or woman. It’s a condensed form of fată (girl). Didina is a quaint, rustic and nowadays very uncommon girls’ first name.

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