"Uzun ince bir yoldayim"
Asık Veysel (1984-1973) is one of the most renowned representatives of the asık (pronounce ashik) tradition in 20th century Turkey, which dates back to the 15th century in Anatolia.
The Asık is a wandering troubadour, singing poetry of their own composition accompanied by the saz (a stringed instrument). Descendants of the tradition of Yunus Emre, the great 13th century Turkish poet, asiks became the voice of common people, expressing their relationship with their land; their loves, inner conflicts, and expectations--generally depicting all aspects of rural life.
Veysel had a particularly colorful and tragic life. Born Veysel Satiroğlu in the Sivrialan village of Sarkisla district of Sivas, he lost his sight at the age of seven during a smallpox epidemic. He developed his talents on a broken saz (stringed instrument) given to him by his father to keep him entertained, and by listening to the wandering minstrels visiting Sivrialan. When both his mother and father died in 1920, he was left alone with his saz - and his love of the land and people of Turkey. He traveled around the country, reciting his poetry and playing his saz, gaining recognition and fame after 1931.
One of the most beloved songs of the entire Turkish folklore canon is his song entitled Uzun ince bir yoldayım. It would not be an exaggeration to say that most Turks can sing it by heart, and it has been interpreted by many musicians and singers of all eras and ilk.
In this song, Veysel compares the journey of life to a han with two doors: a poignant image and testament to the importance of hans in rural areas.
Uzun ince bir yoldayım
Uzun ince bir yoldayim
Dünyaya geldiğim anda
Uykuda dahi yuruyom
Kirkdokuz yil bu yollarda
Saşar Veysel işbu hale
I am on a long and narrow road
On a long and narrow road
From the moment I was born
Walking even in my sleep
Forty-nine years on these roads
Veysel is bewildered to this situation
©2001-2023, Katharine Branning; All Rights Reserved.