chapter  9
18 Pages

Laeleler (girls’ songs)

Originally, the laelelrs were sung by children as they worked or after they had completed their daily chores. As the singing of the songs became less common in the middle of the twentieth century, older women took to singing them as well, perhaps in an attempt to preserve them. The girls’ songs are generally sung in a sequence with the singers segueing from one four-line verse to another. The choice of songs in each sequence can be made spontaneously since the basic, rather plaintive tune is the same for all the girls’ songs (see the musical notation in appendix IV). The singers pat their throat with their fingers as they sing, producing a vibrato effect, which simulates the music of the dutar. The following introductory couplet is sung at the beginning of each sequence of songs and repeated frequently between the individual songs:

1 Laele, laele, laelejan,1 Lale, lale, lale jan-a, Girls, let’s sing laelejanl Aydyn gyzlar, lale jan-a.