// Derviś Baba //

When I saw him, he was in a trance.

Sitting alone with his 'Saz' (a long necked string instrument resembling a guitar) in a corner of a over populated street market just outside the grand bazaar in Istanbul. He seemed completely at peace with the world, in a place between attached and detached, he had not a care in the world and no one taking notice of him. It was as if he were just another peice of aged stone on the old cobbled street. He just carried on strumming, playing his notes and singing as exited tourists rushed around looking at the borough of shops and stalls trying, touching, tasting, experimenting anything they could get their hands on bargaining with zelous traders rushing who in turn where trying to sell whatever they could. 

I was captivated by his calm and removed manner which was completely contradictory to this over stimulated environment. He was aware of all that was around him but not involved with it all, it's like he wasn't there, as if he had left this place long a ago. 

As I listened to his song I was directly transported there, to that place where he was. I listened with the feeling goosebumps rising across my skin, I felt the generations past, the truth in his eyes, his songs where a message and he a messenger an instrument, I was mesmerised. When he finished I asked his name and I couldn't believe it, he replied gently holding my hand, 'my son I am music, I am poetry, I am people, I am land, I am the sky, I am Dervis baba... Dervis Baba from Sivas province.'

I knew right there who he was and why I had come to meet him. Dervish Baba was a messenger, he said 'come and sit by my side' and carried on to tell me our forgotten secrets, how he composed his bars and the different styles of compositions that existed.

Dervish Baba was an Âsik (in love) a decendant of the Âsik tradition from the province of Sivas, where the famous Âsik, Âşık Veysel—a blind peasant in a dusty black hat and shapeless suit who happened to be the most famous Âsik of the twentieth century also had come from.

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The Âsik is a 'griot', 'troubadour', 'jeli', 'minstrel', a Turkic-language folk singer who accompanies his songs with the 'saz'- a which is a long-necked, deep-bellied lute. The 'saz' is to Anatolian folk what the guitar is to flamenco.

The art of âşık is a tradition deeply rooted in Turkic cultural life, comprising of different artistic elements such as music, poetry, story-telling, theatre, and improvisation.

Âsiks carry age old traditions and can be compared to todays Mc and Dj, their music is like jazz or the blues. They are a guardians of culture, a product of their environments, a 'living book', an archive of the peoples story, their music representing truth, love and justice, igniting dreams and imaginations- reconnecting people back to themselves, . The tradition of the asik can be traced back to central Asia, to the roots of the turkic peoples from the Altai steppes before they adopted Islam. The asik is a union of history, art, spiritualism and culture. 

The use of the ‘saz’ has different functions: To reinforce the meaning of improvised poetry. To help determine the number of syllables in the verses to be improvised and during a duel, or ’battle’ (atışma) with another and it is also used to distract the audience while creating time for the improvisation of new verses.

The influence of the Âsik's was so great that Âsik Veysel was invited to Ankara by Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk) in order to provide the foundations of modern turkish music in the newly found republic of turkey. 

The music and poetry of the Asik influenced a lot of modern turkish folk and classical music however unfortunately today is a dying tradition in the main stream.

Uzun ince bir yoldayim     I am on a long narrow road

" Uzun ince bir yoldayim    I am on a long narrow road (path)   

gidiyorum gündüz gece    I am going(walking) day and night

bilmiyorum ne haldeyim   I do not know what (state) I am (in)

gidiyorum gündüz gece   I am going(walking) day and night

Gündüz gece, gündüz gece  day and night, day and night.

 

Dünyaya geldiğim anda  The moment I came to this world

yürüdüm ayni zamanda  I walked at the same time

iki kapili bir handa           into a two door inn (*a place for travellers to stop and rest)

gidiyorum gündüz gece  I am going(walking) day and night

Gündüz gece, gündüz gece  day and night, day and night.

 

Uykuda dahi yürüyom    I am walking even while sleeping

kalmaya sebep arıyom  I am searching for a reason to stay

gidenleri hep görüyom   I am always seeing those who left

gidiyorum gündüz gece I am going(walking) day and night

Gündüz gece, gündüz gece  day and night, day and night.

 

kırk dokuz yıl bu yollarda,  49 years on these roads

ovada, dağda, çöllerde,     on the plains (valleys), mountains, deserts

düşmüşüm gurbet ellerde, In foreign lands I make my way 

gidiyorum gündüz gece    I am going(walking) day and night

Gündüz gece, gündüz gece  day and night, day and night.

 

Düsünülürse derince          If it's thought about deeply

uzak görünür görünce       The goal seems very far from sight 

Yol bir Dakka Miktarınca   While the road is only a minute long

Gidiyorum Gündüz Gece   Im going(walking) day and night

Gündüz gece, gündüz gece  day and night, day and night.

 

Şaşar Veysel İş Bu Hale    Vessel is surprised(wonders) at this state (condition)

Kah Ağlaya Kahi Güle       to cry or to smile (Lament or laughter, which is right?)

Yetişmek İçin Menzile       Still to attain the distant goal

Gidiyorum Gündüz Gece   I am going(walking) day and night, 

Gündüz gece, gündüz gece…”  day and night, day and night…

- Asik Veysel

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Hiçbir Türlü Bulamadım Ben Beni -  I couldnt find any way to find me

Yıllarca aradım kendi kendimi         For years I've searched my self for myself
Hiçbir türlü bulamadım ben beni    My self couldn't find any way to find me
Hayal mıyım ürüya mı bilinmez       Am I make-believe? or a dream? can't be known
Hiçbir türlü bulamadım ben beni     I couldnt find any way to find me

İnsan mıyım? mahluk muyum? ot muyum?  Am I a human-being? an animal? or grass?
Ekilir biçilir bir nebat mıyım?                    I am a cultivated harvest?
Yoksa görünüşte bir sıfat mıyım?             Or am I a face in appearance?
Hiçbir türlü bulamadım ben beni             I couldnt find any way to find me

Leyla mıyım? Mecnun muyum? çöl müyüm? Am I drunk? Or crazy in love? am I a desert?
Arı mıyım? çiçek miyim? bal mıyım?             Am I a bee? A flower or honey? 
Köle miyim? bir güzele kul muyum?            Am I a slave? a servant to beauty?
Hiçbir türlü bulamadım ben beni              I couldnt find any way to find me

Varlığım yokluğum bir Veysel adım         In my presence and absence Veysel is my name
Gök kubbede kalacaktır ses kadim         The sky will remain in the dome sounds of the ancients
Elli üç yıl kendi kendim aradım                For fifty-three years I have searched for my self myself
Hiçbir türlü bulamadım ben beni             I couldnt find any way to find me

- Asik Veysel