Asik Veysel
"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
Gidiyorum gündüz gece
Bilmiyorum ne haldeyim
Gidiyorum gündüz gece

Dünyaya geldiğim anda
Yürüdum ayni zamanda
Iki kapılı bir handa
Gidiyorum gündüz gece

Uykuda dahi yuruyom
Kalmaya sebeb ariyom
Gidenleri hep goruyom
Gidiyorum gündüz gece

Kirkdokuz yil bu yollarda
Ovada dağda cöllerde
Düşmüşüm gürbet ellerde
Gidiyorum gündüz gece

Saşar Veysel işbu hale
Gah ağlayan gahi güle
Yetişmek için menzile
Gidiyorum gündüz gece


I am on a long and narrow road 

On a long and narrow road
Walking all day and all night
Unaware of the condition I am in
Walking day and night

From the moment I was born
I started walking right away
In an inn with two gates
Walking day and night

Walking even in my sleep
Seeking a reason for staying
Eyeing those who are leaving
Walking day and night

Forty-nine years on these roads
On the plains, mountains, and deserts
Stuck in these foreign lands
Walking day and night

Veysel is bewildered to this situation
It makes him cry some, smile some
Trying to reach a destination
Walking day and night

(translated by Tolga Güngör and Mesut Özgen)






©2001-2023, Katharine Branning; All Rights Reserved.