Language quiz

Here’s a recording of a song in a mystery language.

Can you identify the language, and do you know where it’s spoken?

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This entry was posted in Language, Quiz questions.

14 Responses to Language quiz

  1. jmock says:

    The tune is More Sokol Pije – a Macedonian song, but the language doesn’t sound Macedonian or even Slavic. Albanian, maybe?

  2. Chris says:

    Bengali?

  3. Daydreamer says:

    Guess it’s a Turkic language, probably Azeri. If so, the singer could be the great Alim Qasimov.

  4. Petréa Mitchell says:

    The musical style certainly sounds like southeastern Europe. Can’t guess the language, though…

  5. Tigerfire says:

    Seeing as it sounds Turkic but is actually a Macedonian folk song, I believe that it is Balkan Gagauz spoken in Macedonia and Greece.

  6. Evans says:

    That’s bizarre. I recognized the tune as More Sokol Pije almost immediately, but i’m pretty positive that it’s being sung in Tamil.

  7. Simon says:

    Evans is right – The answer is Tamil (தமிழ்), a Dravidian language spoken in Sri Lanka, India, Singapore and Malaysia.

    This song was written and is sung by Sathyarthi Chandrasekaran and is set to a Bulgaro-Macedonian vocal arrangement.

  8. Sathyarthi says:

    Thanks, Simon. Looks like we got them truly stumped (!) this time but well done to Evans for being spot on!

    For those who may be interested, the lyrics I have penned here are in praise of Lord gaNapati who is traditionally invoked at the beginning of any recital/pUjA etc. as the ‘Remover of Obstacles’. The haunting ‘More sokol pije’ melody, which I had the privilege of learning from Dessislava Stefanova, corresponds to the ‘vakuLAbharaNam’ rAgam (or melodic scale) of Karnatic Music. The tALam (rhythmic cycle) is ‘mishra cApu’ (7-beats):

    [Vowels: Capital letters stand for long vowels (i.e. 'A' = 'a' in 'father' etc.)
    Consonants: Here, capitals represent retroflex consonants]

    muRaippaDi unnai mudalil tozhuvAmE!

    (yAnai, yAnai mukhattu-b-bAlanE!
    yAnai, yAnunadaDiyEnE!)

    vinai-t-tIrppavanE
    vighna vinAyakanE! (yAnai…)

    sharavaNAgrajanE, ninnai
    sharaNam puhundAmE! (yAnai…)

    Meaning:

    We always worship you at the beginning.

    (Oh Elephant, elephant-faced infant!
    Oh Elephant, I am your servant!)

    You who free us of our Karma,
    You quash all our obstacles! (Oh Elephant…)

    Oh One who was born before Lord Murugan (‘sharavaNan’),
    Unto you, do we surrender! (Oh Elephant…)

  9. Dennis King says:

    What a lovely mash-up. Thanks, Sathyarthi.

  10. Sathyarthi says:

    My pleasure, Dennis! Very pleased you’ve enjoyed it…

  11. Evans says:

    Yes!

  12. Vishwanath says:

    Tamil lyrics along with this melody and the vocal arrangement gives a “puzzling” nature to this song and I enjoyed it. Great composition !

  13. Sathyarthi says:

    Thanks, Vishwanath!

  14. Vidya says:

    Very nice, Sathya – reminds me of the song, Hava Nagila, especially the one sung by Harry Belafonte and Danny Kaye here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B971FNuLgQo

    Did you compose the lyrics too? Great job!