Tsaziken: Machnaty

January 15, 2020

Song Love & Wanderlust

Listening Post 235. Like the queue outside the Louvre, the seven-woman chorus Tsaziken is a fascinating mix of disparate elements and common threads. Based in Cologne, with German and Slavic roots, on their second album they sing in eight languages and highlight a shared passion for combing the world’s cultures in search of traditional songs about love and destiny. The group ignited at a 2004 music festival when its four original singers met Raimund Kroboth, director of the world-sound Schäl Sick Brass Band (motto: “Think global, blow local”) and decided to merge talents. On Machnaty—from the song Machnaty Shmel/Мохнатый шмел, Russian for “furry bumblebee”—their collective nomadic soul is evident, notably in two Romani songs (and videos that evoke exuberant friends kibitzing and playing to the camera, as if waiting in a museum line): In Usti Baba (Wake Up, Father, video 1) they sing of a man who oversleeps on his daughter’s wedding day; while Ketri, Ketri portrays a young suitor opening his heart (video 2). A captain conceals his marriage from his mother in the Macedonian folk song Shumat Shumite (I Hear the Forest Rustling, video 3), but all is teasing banter between lovers in the Russian Ne pa pogrebu (The Barrel Isn’t Rolling in the Cellar, video 4). The album’s thematic current flows in the title track, the bumblebee “flying to the flower… like a Gypsy bride with her nomadic soul dashing to her beloved in the night”—or perhaps like a wandering women’s chorus scouring the continents for the perfect song. And the trope is distantly echoed (think Texas) in the collection’s sole contemporary song, the Dixie Chicks’ The Long Way Round about life on the road “in a pink RV with stars on the ceiling.” If destiny involves long lines, Tsaziken has the charm and the music to help us enjoy the wait. (Westpark Music) 

Tsaziken: Machnaty
Sonja Tusch: Vocals
Christiane Athmer: Vocals
Anna Herling: Vocals
Sofia Faulseit: Vocals
Eva Vahrenwald: Vocals
Cornelia Eberle: Vocals
Karoline Kupperroth: Vocals

Raimund Kroboth: Band leader, guitar, arrangements
Claudia Glocksin: Accordion
Detlef Heidkamp: Tenor saxophone
Philip Imdahl: Drums

Guest artists:
Ulla Oster: Double bass
Giuseppe Mautone: bodhran
Bernd Keul: E-bass


Usti Baba / Wake Up, Father
Traditional Roma song from Macedonia

(from the Romani lyrics)
Wake up, wake up, father
The drum is beating/The drum is beating
They’re coming for my sister/They’re coming for my sister

The most beautiful one/The most beautiful one, father
The smallest one

Wake up, wake up, father
The dowry is being taken out/The dowry is being taken out
The smallest one.

Wake up, wake up, father
The drum is beating/The drum is beating
They’re coming for my sister.


Ketri Ketri
Lyrics & Music: Haris Džinović
A Hungarian Roma declaration of love 

(from the Romani lyrics)
Ketri Ketri, come after me/Ketri Ketri, live with me
Come back, sit down here/Come after me!

You are like a little flower/Beautiful little flower
My heart is happy, happy/Be with me!

Ketri Ketri, my heart is heavy/Ketri Ketri, my heart is breaking
I will kiss your heart/Come and sit beside me!

Ketri Ketri, dance for me/Ketri Ketri, sing now for me
Do sing and dance for me/Come after me!

Ketri Ketri, I am already merry/My heart is merrier
Because I can see you beside me/Marry me, be my wife!

When you dance, my heart is happy/When you sing, my heart breaks
Come back to me/Marry me, be my wife!


Shumat Shumite / Слушам кај шумат шумите / I Hear the Forest Rustling
Traditional Macedonian wedding song

(from the Macedonian lyrics)
I hear the forests rustling, the beeches,
I hear the beeches rustling/They are crying for the duke, the captain

Worthy friends, Macedonian friends
When you pass through my village/When you pass through the village
Don’t rumble with the horses, don’t rumble

Don’t rumble with the horses/With the horses don’t you rumble
Don’t shoot with the rifles, don’t shoot them.

So my old mother doesn’t hear you/So my mother doesn’t notice you
She’ll ask you about me, oh about me
Where is my son Kostadin, Kostadin?
Where is my son Kostadin/Kostadin the duke, the captain?

Your son, mother, has been married, married/Your son, mother, has been married
To an enslaved Macedonian


Ne pa pogrebu / Не по погребу / The Barrel Isn’t Rolling Around in the Cellar

(from the Russian lyrics)
My swan-like one/Young white swan

Ivan is bantering with his betrothed/Hey Maria Ivanova, take my shoes off
I’m glad to do so, but I don’t know your name/Took one shoe off, called him Ivanushka

Took the other one off, called him Vasilivich/Took his belt off, called him sweetheart
Belt goes on the hook, I go tuck myself next to his side/I will roll up, fall in, not afraid of anyone



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