Strigături or chiuitură (Rhythmic shouts in verses) are an integral part of Romanian folk dances. They take various forms depending on the locality of their origin but the act of shouting or crying out interjections in the form of rhyming couplets whilst dancing is a phenomenon unique to Romania.
These shouts are spontaneous and the actual words used are frequently adapted to suit the ‘mood of the day’, generally making comment on life in the village or more recently in the stage performance group, or on characters in the village or the love lives of the participants or spectators.
The word Strigături (Singular: Strigătură) comes from the verb ‘striga’ meaning to call out or shout. They are usually in verse form and contain satiric allusions or jokes, or sometimes sentimental comments.
Strigături play a number of different roles in Romanian folk dances. They provide animation for the dance by adding to the atmosphere and entertainment value of the performance. They provide a rhythmic link between the accent of the verses and the rhythm of the dance steps, as the cadence of the strigături is the same as the cadence of the steps. The strigături give the opportunity for competition and emulation between the male dancers, whilst the women’s strigături frequently pass comment about the men’s attractive-ness or sexual prowess. Verses of strigături can also contain commands announcing the order of figures or the number of movements in the dance. Note this is not the same as commanda, which use only a single word.
Strigături can take various forms; they can be shouted in rhythm or ‘sung’ across the music by a single person, or in unison by a group, or take the form of a dialogue between two persons or groups of people. The lines of strigături are frequently interspersed with shrieks, whistles and exclamations which go across the rhythm of the verses. Strigături are usually divided into verses of between four and eight lines long.
i-auzi (ee-YOHW-zeh) Hey….listen
1 una (OO-nah) 5 cinci (CHEENCH)
2 două (DOH-uh) 6 sase (SHAH-seh)
3 trei (TRAY) 7 sapte (SHAHP-teh)
4 patru (PAH-troo) 8 opt (OHPT)
Example: i-auzi una; i-auzi două; etc
Example: i una; i două; etc.
Gata (GAH-tah, or gah-TAH for emphasis) ready
Haide (HIGH-deh) go; come on; faster!
Ş-aşa (SHAH-shah) and so; like this
Uite aşa şi iar aşa (WEE-teh ah-SHAH, shee-EHR
ah-SHAH) Look like that! And again like that.
Tot pe loc pe loc (TOHT peh LOHK peh LOHK)
Să răsară busuioc (SHA rah-SAH-rah boo-soo-YOHK)
Busiocul fetelor (boo-soo-YOHK-kool feh-teh-LOHR)
Dragostea flăcăilor (DRAH-goh-steh flah KAH-ee-lohr)
On the spot, in place. Dance til the basil come up.
The basil of the maidens, the love of the lads.
Haide, haide măi flăcăi (HIGH-deh x2 my flah-KAH-ee)
Haide, haide cu batăi (HIGH-deh x2 coo bah-TOY)
Let’s go you lads, Go, go with stamps!
Haide roată, rotilita (HIGH-deh RAH-tah roh-tee-LEE-tsah)
Draga mami, copilata (DRAH-gah MAH-mee, koh-pee-LEE-tsah)
Măi flăcăi, haide măi (my flah-KAH-ee, HIGH-deh my)
Haide, haide cu batăi (High-deh, x2 coo bah-TOY)
Let’s go in a little circle, Love of your mom, little girl,
Hey, you lads, let’s go, hey! Go, go with stamps!
Source: Nichols Hilferink, Stockton 1998
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