Lume, soro lume / World, sister world

Yet another dark, brooding folk standard about how life is so damned ephemeral. Mentioned as having been taught to famed virtuoso Grigoraş Dinicu (you can hear his Hora Staccato in music schools everywhere) by an old Gypsy called Zamfir around 1900. Here we have Bucharest-born Maria Tănase‘s clean, canonical recording (“authentic folklore” purists may sneer).

The song has been covered by countless artists, both Romanian and foreign. Enjoy, just don’t let the tempo & lyrics bum you out. Goes well with Deschide, gropare, mormântul.

Lume, lume, soro lume,
lume, lume, soro lume,
când să mă satur de tine,
când să mă satur de tine,
lume, soro lume?

Când s-o lăsa sec de pâine
şi păhăruţul de mine,
lume, soro lume.

Poate-atunci m-oi sătura,
poate-atunci m-oi sătura,
când o suna scândura,
când o suna scândura,
lume, soro lume.

Când m-or băga în mormânt
şi n-oi mai fi pe pământ,
lume, soro lume.

C-aşa-i lumea, trecătoare,
c-aşa-i lumea, trecătoare,
unul naşte, altul moare,
unul naşte, altul moare,
lume, soro lume.

Ăl de naşte, necăjeşte,
ăl de moare, putrezeşte,
lume, soro lume.

C-aşa-i lumea, trecătoare,
c-aşa-i lumea, trecătoare,
unul naşte, altul moare,
unul naşte, altul moare,
lume, soro lume.

World, world, sister world,*
world, world, sister world,
when will I have had enough of you,
when will I have had enough of you,
world, sister world?

When it’s Ash Wednesday** for bread,
and when the drinking glass lets go of me,
world, sister world.

Maybe then I’ll have had enough,
maybe then I’ll have had enough,
when I hear the board (of the coffin) clanking,
when I hear the board clanking,
world, sister world.

When they put me in my tomb
and I’m not on the Earth anymore,
world, sister, world.

‘Cause this is what the world is like, fleeting,
’cause this is what the world is like, fleeting,
one is born, the other dies,
one is born, the other dies,
world, sister world.

He who is born, suffers,
he who is dead, rots,
world, sister world.

‘Cause this is what the world is like, fleeting,
’cause this is what the world is like, fleeting,
one is born, the other dies,
one is born, the other dies,
world, sister world.

* “Lume” is the Romanian term for “world”, but it can also mean a gathering of people. In days of yore, the town crier would have used “Lume, lume!” for “Hear ye, hear ye!”.

** Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, the long period of fasting before Easter. Couldn’t find a better equivalent for lăsatul secului, which is actually the last day before any important fast. Therefore, când s-o lăsa sec de pâine (“Ash Wednesday for bread”, as crudely translated by yours truly) would mean “on the last day when one can eat bread”.

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