Romica Puceanu’s famous Şaraiman

Here’s a brilliant lăutăresc love song played by Gypsies in Wallachia. Hundreds of years of Ottoman overlordship have left their mark – the wailing aahs and oohs :) – on our music.

Romica Puceanu‘s 1970′s version is very well known around here, though this song has been covered numerous times by (crappy) commercial artists who saw its Oriental flavor as more of a novelty.

De te-ar bate, neică, bate,
dragostile mele toate,
dragostile mele toate,
şaraiman şi şaraiman.

Nu cred c-ai putea dormi,
nici pe alta a iubi…

Căci iubire ca a mea
nu găseşti la nimenea,
nu găseşti la nimenea,
şaraiman şi şaraiman.

Şi nici suflet mai cu dor
pentru tine, puişor…

Neică de-aş şti c-ai veni
drumul ţi l-aş pietrui,
drumul ţi l-aş pietrui,
şaraiman şi şaraiman.

Tot cu flori şi cu safiu
ca să nu vii prea târziu…

If they’d reach you, neică*, reach you
all my loves (sic!),
all my loves,
şaraiman** and şaraiman.

I don’t think you’d be able to sleep,
nor love another…

‘Cause a love like mine
you won’t find in anyone,
you won’t find in anyone,
şaraiman and şaraiman.

Or a soul more full of longing
for you, my darling…

Neică, if I knew you were coming,
I’d pave the road for you,
I’d pave the road for you,
şaraiman and şaraiman.

All with flowers and safiu***
so you don’t arrive too late…

*Neică is a common way to address a man, more specifically one’s boyfriend (if you’re a young lady in a rural setting).

**Şaraiman doesn’t really mean anything, as far as anyone knows. It might be an onomatopoeia, it might be someone’s name. Or (this is strictly my guess) it could be related to haraiman – hm, this actually makes sense. In western Wallachia (Teleorman and Oltenia), haraiman (used as a noun, not an interjection) would mean noise, shouting & stuff – which can be happy or woeful. One could think of the “Aman, aman!” so common in Turkish songs.

Later edit: August Scriban’s 1939 dictionary mentions “saraiman” or “siriman” as regional synonyms for “sărman” (poor, miserable). The exclamation of “Şaraiman, şaraiman” would therefore mean “oh, poor me!” or “woe!” or something in those lines. And now I am smarter.

***Haven’t found safiu in any dictionary. One could assume it’s a broken form of safir (sapphire). Hover, in some areas of Romania sacfiu means carnation. That goes better with the flower theme.

7 thoughts on “Romica Puceanu’s famous Şaraiman

  1. I think ‘”Sharaiman”” is coming from Dobrudja tatars (crimeean tatars) language!

    In tatar language, “”men shalaman”” means “”I am singing””!

  2. tot văd că lumea zice că Șaraiman nu înseamnă nimic… Șarai vine din sârbo-croată unde înseamnă ”a mâzgâli” dar este slang pentru a înșela. asta ar face din Șaraiman un fel de Sburător.

  3. I don’t think that “safiu” means sapphire and I really don’t know what “safiu” means in the first place. It is clear that the term is used in the context of the road pavement of the verse along with the flowers but I believe that “safiu” is an archaism or maybe a regionalism which came along from the mark of the Ottoman Empire.

    If anyone has some specific sources in regards with this term “safiu” please share them with us.

    Thank you,

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