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PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Dere Geliyor
(River)

 

This page contains the song lyrics to "Dere Geliyor", including both a transliteration of the Turkish into the Roman alphabet and a translation into English. "Dere", which is the Turkish word for "River", is a very, very old traditional Turkish folk song which uses the 9/8 rhythm. It is a bit slower than most songs that are based on this rhythm. Gunsu Temirer said that her great-grandmother used to sing this song, and it was already old then.

Song lyrics are provided for educational purposes. If you like the song, please purchase either the album or a download from an authorized source.

 

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Listen to MP3 Clips of This Song

Note Sung by Brothers of the Baladi
Note Sung by The Sultans

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Lyrics

According to Gunsu, the first verse and the chorus are effectively telling us that this person is frustrated—time is passing by, and s/he wants to get married. Gunsu doesn’t remember the region this song is from, but she suspects there is a river there that overflows periodically, and when the river overflows it indicates that still more time has passed. Gunsu also said that the word "Aman" itself doesn’t really mean anything—it’s an exclamation that is used when someone is frustrated.

Turkish Lyrics

English Translation

Verse 1:

Verse 1:

Dere geliyor dere, yalelel yalelel The river is overflowing,
Kumunu seresere, yalelellim. Spreading sand,
Al beni götür dere, yalelel yalelel O river, take me with you
Yarın olduğu yere, yalelellim. To where my beloved is.
   

Chorus:

Chorus:

Amanın aman aman O mercy,
Zamanın zaman zaman O time,
Bizim dügüne zaman yalelellim. When will our wedding be?
(Repeat above 3 lines) (Repeat above 3 lines)
   

Verse 2:

Verse 2:

Ben armudu dişledim, yalelel yalelel I bit into the pear,
Sapını gümüşledim, yalelellim. I turned its stem to silver.
Sevdiğimin ismini, yalelel yalelel My beloved’s name
Mendilime ishledim, yalelellim I embroidered on my handkerchief.
   

Repeat Chorus

Repeat Chorus

   

Verse 3:

Verse 3:

Armut dalda bir iki, yalelel yalelel The pear branch one or two
Sayın bakın on iki, yalelellim. My Lord/Lady Look! Twelve!
On ikinin içinde, yalelel yalelel And of these twelve
Birincisi benimki, yalelellim. The first is mine
   

Repeat Chorus

Repeat Chorus

   

Verse 4:

Verse 4:

Çayır ince biçilmez, yalelel yalelel The field can not be harvested young
Su bulanık içilmez, yalelellim. Dishwater can not be drunk
Bana yardan geç derler, yalelel yalelel They say to me surpass insult and injury
Yar tatlıdır geçilmez, yalelellim. But injury does not pass sweetly
   

Repeat Chorus

Repeat Chorus

   

Verse 5:

Verse 5:

Su gelir millendirir, yalelel yalelel Water comes and connects
Çayırı çimlendirir, yalelellim. And makes the fields sprout
O senin güzel gözün, yalelel yalelel Just as your beautiful eyes
Ahrazı dillendirir, yalelellim. Make the mute to speak
   

Repeat Chorus

Repeat Chorus

   

Verse 6:

Verse 6:

Su akar kamış gibi, yalelel yalelel Water flows like a reed
Durulur gümüş gibi, yalelellim. And settles down like gold
Ben yarimi severim, yalelel yalelel I love my apprentice/slave
Turfanda yemiş gibi, yalelellim. First fruit as sweet as dried
   

Repeat Chorus

Repeat Chorus

   

Verse 7:

Verse 7:

Su üstünde kayası, yalelel yalelel On top of the water the fruit of summer
Geçti mevsimin yazı Glides and passes
Derenin kenarında, yalelel yalelel On the side of the stream
Kıldım akşam namazı And I make my evening prayer
   

Repeat Chorus

Repeat Chorus

 

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Where to Get Recordings of this Song

Eye on the World

Note

Listen to Clip

Artist: Brothers of the Baladi
CD Title: Eye On the World

Best of the Sultans

Note

Listen to Clip

Artist: The Sultans
CD Title: The Best of the Sultans

 

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About the Translator

Many thanks to Robyn Friend and Ergun Tamer, who provided both the Turkish lyrics and the translation for verses 1 and 2 of this song. Robyn sings Turkish folk and classical music, and is based in the Los Angeles, California area. She says Ergun is her "source for all things Turkish".

Also, many thanks to Gunsu Temirer, who provided additional information about this song and gave additional insights into how to translate certain passages.

And many thanks to Ferda Bayazit, who provided the translations for verses 3 through 7. I appreciate the added completeness that having these additional verses offers! Ferda is an Oriental dance artist who was born in Turkey, raised in Canada, and now lives in Turkey again. She has a particular passion for Turkish Roman music and dance.

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