Keremejli, Керемејли (S*) Serbian – Kerem Eyle (2*)”Turkish” seuSerbian Update

*S is for Song. So? A song with a life independent of whatever dance it may be attached to. Why that’s important is explained here.

*2nd Generation dance. A dance that developed and was disseminated in a non-traditional way. 2G dances are specific – have a fixed format designed to correspond with the arrangement of a particular recording., whereas 1G dances are generic – have a shorter sequence that works with live music – where many different songs are played and arrangements vary according to the tastes of musicians and dancers. For more on the differences between 1st & 2nd G dances click here.

Keremejli – the Song

The song may be a traditional “Turkish” song, presumably from the time “Turkey” or the Ottoman Empire occupied lots of southeastern Europe, including what is now South Serbia. Even after the area became independent of Turkey, many Turks remained.  “Turkish” to a Serb means anyone of Moslem orientation, including Albanians, Roma, and Turks – all of whom lived in that area.

Divna Djokovic (1915- 2005) Recording date unknown, but I’m guessing 1940’s or 50’s.

Keremejli (the Serbian spelling) is associated with Serbia’s most-performed play, Koštana, set in Vranje, written in 1905 by Bora Stanković, who was from Vranje.

Vranje (red area)

The play featured local customs and folklore of the times, but some of the songs (like Keremejli) sound more like they came from a classically-trained composer utilizing oriental harmonies. It concerns a Roma woman who marries a wealthy older Serb for his money, but who will not stop her seductive behavior with other men. I have yet to determine if the song Keremejli was in the original production, but it features in many more recent ones. This version appears to be taken from a TV broadcast of an older movie, featuring Sofka Nikolić (1907 – 1982)

Keremejle starts at 1:10.
In this1976 TV adaptation of the entire play, at the 45:00 minute mark, Snežana Savić sings Kerem Eyle.
2021, a live performance Tijana Vuckovic.

Although Serbs have been singing Keremejli for decades, when I first posted about the song a few years ago I could find no Turks (aside from Sumru Agiryürüyen in the Ajde Mori CD below) singing the song. That has changed. Kerem Eyle appears to be the Turkish spelling.

singer, Gülay Arslan
Here’s an a capella version by Myriam, due to its clear diction.
The CD from which the recreational folk dance Kerem Eyle music was taken. This album is also the source of the music for çobankat, and Jarnana. Singer – Sumru Agiryürüyen

Below is the mp3 of the dance music: adapted by Roberto from the fabulous CD Ayde Mori.

Kerem Eyle Sheet music


Keremejli / Kerem Eyle – the Dance

Dancing in the play Kostana consists of trained singers doing simple, supposedly seductive moves that won’t interfere with their pure tones and projection.

Keremejle starts at 1:10.

There is also a choreography for dance troupe.

The dance known to recreational folk dancers was choreographed by a Serbian named Dragan Paunovic in the ’90’s, based on Turkish Roma (or Albanian) moves. II learned it at the Lyrids Festival last April by a visiting Italian teacher, Roberto Bagnoli, who learned it from Paunovic.  It is a compelling combination of music and movement. Bagnoli’s demonstration YouTube is no longer available online.

Here’s another choreography, source unknown, to the same music.

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