Zajko kokorajko (S*) (Arap) – English lyrics

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

Zajko kokorajko is a Macedonian folk song.Dick Crum chose it to accompany his version of the dance Arap, though he was careful to explain that it was the melody he chose, and that the song’s lyrics have nothing to do with the dance. For more on the relationship between Zajko kokorajko and Arap, click here

Yves Moreau, eefc ListServ, May 8, 1998 The song Zajko Kokorajko is very famous all over Macedonia. The first recording is most likely Alexander Sarievski’s (late 50’s) on the old Jugoton EPY 3009 accompanied by the (young) Pece Atanasovski on gajda. The record was re-issued in the US for folk dancers on several labels (Festival, Monitor, Mediterranean etc.) Sarievski re-recorded at least 2 other versions with modern orchestras in the 60’s and 70’s. A collection of Macedonian Songs by V. Hadjimanov, Skopje 1964 has the music and words of Zajko. Hadjimanov says his original source was Todor Boshkov of Skopje in 1955. Boshkov is indeed Vaska Ilieva’s father and was well-known as a kaval player in the early Tanec years. It’s interesting that Vaska herself never recorded this song (although she often toured on stage with Sarievski). I even have a version of Zajko on Balkanton sung by Kostadin Gugov, a Macedonian singer living in Sofia, Bulgaria.

There are MANY sets of lyrics to Zajko kokorajko. Each YouTube is different.

The ‘original’ Aleksandar sarievski recording. Lyrics below.
Aleksandar sarievski again with a live recording – some ad-libs.
Suzana Spasovska sings a different set of lyrics: Note dancers are doing a local version of the Taproot Dance.
Group Ajazmo. Zajko kokorajko starts at 2:11.

Crum contues; But it wasn’t long before people began requesting the words. I sat down and transcribed them and gave them to Ira Gessel, editor of the MIT Song Book. I also gave copies to a couple other folk dancers. Soon after that, people started calling the dance “Zajko” and unenlightened folks began to see rabbit-like elements in the dance, and I imagine some were already seeing pagan fertility ritual origins in it.

Storil nijet zajko, zajko kokorajko,             Rabbit made a plan, popeyed Rabbit,
zajko da se ženi, zajko serbezlija.             that he would get married, hot-shot Rabbit.
Si natresol gáki, uprčil mustáki,                He pulled on his trousers, twirled his moustache,
nagrnal džamadan, kapa fiškulija.            Got into his jacket and his fez.
More, tokmo mladoženja!                         hey, just like a bridegroom!

Mi posvršil zajko lina udovica,                   Rabbit got engaged to Widow Fox,
kitka nakitena, maza razmažena,               a flowery bouquet, a spoiled pet,
poznata džimrijka, svetska isposlica,         a well-known fussy eater, an avoider of work,
more, selska vizitarka!                               the village fussbudget!

Mi pokanil zajko kiteni svatovi,                   Rabbit invited his wedding party:
mečka mesarija, vučica kumica,                 a she-bear butcher, a she-wolf godmother,
žaba zurladžijka, ežo tupandžija,                a frog to play zurla, a hedgehog for drummer
oven esapčija, murdžo aberdžija.               a ram for bookkeeper, a watchdog wedding-crier.
Zajko kokorajko                                          Popeyed Rabbit
si natresol gakí, uprčil mustáki,                  pulled on his trousers, twirled his mustache,
nagrnal džamadan, kapa fiškulija,              got into his jacket and his fez.
more, tokmo mladoženja!                           Hey, just like a bridegroom!

Pa mi trgnal zajko niz                                   Then Rabbit set off through 
Solunsko poleda si vidi zajko lisa udovica.            the region of Salonika to see Widow Fox.
Tam si najde zajko mesto lindralija,              There Rabbit found, instead of a sleek fox,
kvačka so pilinja, teška meravdžika,             a hen with chicks, a heavy dowry,
liči za nevesta!                                              it looks like the bride!

Koga vide zajko toa čudno čudo,                 When Rabbit saw this wondrous wonder,
pa mi letna zajko nazad na tragovi.              Rabbit flew back on his tracks.
Tam si sretna zajko do dva-tri lovdžii           Then Rabbit met with two or three hunters,
em oni si nosat puški sačmalii,                     and they had guns,
more, ’rti em zagari!                                     and hunting dogs!

Pa mi presnal zajko, zajko da mi bega,         Rabbit shot off running,
si iskinal ga ́ki, razmrsil musta ́ki,                  lost his trousers, messed up his mustache,
iskinal džamadan, vikna se provikna:            threw off his jacket, cried out,
More, nesum mladoženja!                             “Hey, I’m not a bridegroom!”
Source: the MIT Song Book

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