Slovak Folk Music

Music in the Slovak culture has an extremely important role. It was and still is a part of our life – ceremonies, entertainment, leisure, the whole thinking and feelings of people. Folk songs belong to the oldest artistic expressions. The lives of people in the background of history were reflected by the folk songs. Historical songs mainly folk ballads were hiding the ideas of liberty and freedom in their lyrics.

Folk music became the successor of the folk song. Annual folk festival brings back to life the folk music, the largest and best known are in Detva and Východná.

Slovak folk music has regional character – songs and orchestras are different from region to region. The regional variations of the same songs or musical motifs are common, with more versions of the same text with the different music. Music in various regions differentiates also by instrument composition (string or more brass).

The very specific instrument, which originated in Detva region, is high shepherd pipe, the so-called fujara. For its excellence, brilliant simplicity of the design and the basic operating, it was also included on the list of UNESCO. You can hear its beautiful sound for example during the Days of Czechoslovak shepherd’s pipe musicians in the village Korytárky in Podpoľanie. Every year there is also The Heligonka Festival – musicians playing on a special, simple folk and popular type of accordion.

Folk Music influenced many composers of classical and modern music. Slovak folk songs inspired the popular music composer Mikuláš Schneider Trnavský, the author of numerous church songs. Even the Slovak national anthem was written on the theme of popular folk song Kopala Studienku (Digging the Well).

Other examples of modern music performers, who are inspired by the folk songs, are bands Vidiek, Lojzo, Tublatanka, Elán, Banda and the folk bands and singers. Nowadays, thanks to them the popularity of traditional folklore becomes more and more popular.


Slovak Folk Songs

Little Ann, my soul, where have you been –
Anička dušička, kde si bola

Anička, dušička, kde si bola, keď si si čižmičky zarosila.
[:Bola som v hájičku, žala som trávičku, duša moja, duša moja.:]
A ja som po tri dni trávu kosil, ja som si čižmičky nezarosil.
[:A ja som hrabala, teba som čakala, duša moja, duša moja.:]

Little Ann, my soul, where have you been, when you get that mist on your boots.
[: I was in grove, I reaped the grass, my soul, my soul.:]
And I reaped the grass for three days, I have no mist on my boots.
[: And I raked, I was waiting for you, my soul, my soul.:]

Devils may take you, you young boys – Bodaj by vás, vy mládenci

Bodaj by vás, vy mládenci, čerti vzali,
keď ste vy mňa na ten tanec nepozvali,
[:ja by bola tancovala, aj na cimbal niečo dala,
aj vás všetkých pobozkala.:]

Devils may have taken you, you young boys,
when you didn’t invite me to dance,
[: I would have danced, gave something to the dulcimer
and kiss you all.:]

Čo sa mamka tejto noci natrápila,
aby sa vám len nejako zavďačila,
[:spiekla múky za tri gorce pre vás chlapci na koláče, len aby som tancovala.:]

What my mom suffered this night,
so she just somehow ingratiated to you,
[: she baked three portions of flour on cake for you boys, so I just danced.:]

Cherry, cherry – Čerešničky, čerešničky

Čerešničky, čerešničky, čerešne,
vy ste sa mi rozsypali po ceste.
[:Kto vás nájde, ten vás pozbiera,
ja som mala včera večer frajera.:]

Cherry, cherry, cherries,
you sprinkle on the road.
[Who will find you, that one will collect you,
I had a boyfriend last night.:]

Red Apple – Červené jabĺčko

[:Červené jabĺčko vo vačku mám:],
koho rada vidím, koho rada vidím, tomu ho dám, tomu ho dám.
[:A ja ťa môj milý, najradšej mám:],
Tebe to jabĺčko, tebe to jabĺčko, najradšej dám, najradšej dám.

[: I have a red apple in my pocket:]
who I am glad to see, who I am glad to see, him I will give it, him I will give it.
[: And you, my beloved, I like the most:]
You that apple, you that apple, I’d like to give, I’d like to give.

Black eyes, go to sleep – Čierne oči choďte spať

Čierne oči choďte spať,
[:čierne oči choďte spať, bo musíte ráno vstať,
bo musíte ráno vstať.:]

Black eyes go to sleep
[: black eyes go to sleep, because in the morning you get up,
because in the morning you get up.:]

Ráno, ráno, ráničko,
[:ráno, ráno, ráničko, keď vychodí slniečko,
keď vychodí slniečko.:]

Morning, morning, morning,
[: morning, morning, morning, when sun rises,
when sun rises.:]

Lime was burning – Horela lipka

Horela lipka, horela, horela lipka, horela,
pod ňou má milá, pod ňou má milá, pod ňou má milá sedela.

Lime was burning, burning, lime was burning, burning,
under that my beloved, under that my beloved, under that my beloved was sitting.

[:Tečie voda zhora, bystrá je ako ja,
točí sa okolo, okolo javora.:]

[: Water flows from the top, it's swift as me,
revolves around, around the maple.:]

Keď na ňu iskry padali, keď na ňu iskry padali,
všetci mládenci, všetci mládenci, všetci mládenci plakali.

When the sparks fell on it, when the sparks fell on it,
all young men, all young men, all young men wept.

Well on Orava – Na Orave dobre

[:Na Orave dobre, na Orave zdravo,:]
[:ale na Orave, ale na Orave,
hej, švárnych chlapcov málo.:]

[: Well on Orava, healthy on Orava,:]
[: but in Orava, but in Orava,
hey, only few of smug boys.:]

[:Švárnych chlapcov málo aj ľúbiť sa bránia:]
[:a ja naučená a ja naučená,
hej, do samého rána.:]

[: Only few of smug boys and they love to defend:]
[: and I am learned and I am learned,
hey, till the morning.:]

[:V hornom konci bývam, v dolnom frajera mám,:]
[:uprostred dediny, uprostred dediny,
hej, po vodu chodievam.:]

[: I live in the upper end, in the bottom end I have my boyfriend,:]
[: in the middle of the village, in the middle of the village;
hey, I go for water.:]

[:Nechodím pre vodu, aby som ju pila,:]
[:ale pre milého, ale pre milého,
hej, abych ho videla.:]

[: I don't go for water, so I drink,:]
[: but for the beloved, but for the beloved,
hey, so I see him.:]

Don’t Jano, don’t drink the water – Nepi Jano, nepi vodu

Nepi Jano, nepi vodu, voda ti je len na škodu,
[:ale sa ty napi vína, to je dobrá medecína.:]

Don’t Jano, don’t drink the water, water only harms you,
[: but you drink wine, it is a good medicine.:]

Keby nebolo pršalo, bolo by mi dievča dalo,
[:ale že začalo pršať, nechcelo mi dievča držať.:]

If it were not rained, I could have a girl,
[: but it started raining, she didn't want to be with me.:]

Raining, raining – Prší, prší

Prší, prší, len sa leje, nezatváraj milá dvere.
Milá má, duša má, nezatváraj pred nama.
Keď som išiel od Aničky, štrngali mi podkovičky,
štrngali, brngali, sivé očká plakali.

Raining, raining, it is raining heavily, my beloved don’t close the door.
My beloved, my soul, don’t close it in front of us.
When I went from Ann, horseshoe was making sounds,
it was making sounds and gray eyes wept.

Sivé očká, čo plačete, veď mi moje nebudete,
Budete iného, šuhajíčka švárneho.

Gray eyes why do you weep, you will not be mine;
You will belong to someone else, to a smug boy.

Slovak native village – Slovenská rodná dedina

Vysokou horou obklopená, dedinka moja spí.
Tam prežil som ja krásne chvíle, najkrajšie detstva sny.
Tam rástol som jak jedlička, keď kvitla lúčina,
a preto ma dnes srdce bolí, keď sa s ňou lúčiť mám.

Surrounded by high mountains, my village is asleep.
There I spent good times, beautiful childhood dreams.
Where I grew like a tree, when meadow was in flowers,
and therefore my heart hurts when I have to say farewell.

[:Slovenská rodná dedina, pod horami,
najkrajšia v svete jediná, domov drahý.
Tys bola mojím životom, celučký čas,
odkiaľ dnes náhle odchádzam, vrátim sa zas.:]

[:Slovak native village under the mountains,
only the most beautiful in the world, beloved home.
You have been my life, all the time,
where I leave suddenly from, I'll be back again.:]

Ja sľubujem vám hory rodné, nadišiel lásky čas.
Že moje srdce vždy a všade, spomínať bude vás.
Aj keď ma život zavolá, dovidenia národ môj,
ja zostávam vždy a všade verný syn ľudu tvoj.

I promise you, my native mountains, the time of love has come.
That my heart always and everywhere, you will remember.
Even if the life calls me, see you soon my nation;
I stay always and everywhere a true son of my people.

That Heľpa – To tá Heľpa

To tá Heľpa, to tá Heľpa, to je pekné mesto.
A v tej Heľpe, a v tej Heľpe, švárnych chlapcov jesto.
[:Koho jesto, toho jesto, nie po mojej vôli,
len za jedným, len za jedným srdiečko ma bolí.:]

That Heľpa, that Heľpa, it’s a nice town.
And in that Heľpa, and in that Heľpa, smug boys there are.
[: Who is there, who is not, not in my will;
only for one, only for one my heart hurts.:]

Girls from Východná – Z Východnej dievčatá

Z Východnej dievčatá, čim sa umývate?
Keď vy svoje líčka vždy červené máte.
[:My sa umývame každý deň do rôčka,
v studenej vodičke z bystrého potôčka.:]

Girls from Východná, what do you wash yourselves with?
So you have your cheeks always red.
[:We wash every day in the year,
with the bright cold water from the stream.:]

A ja sama prvá, ja sa nemaľujem,
ja na svoje líčka farby nekupujem.
[:Keby ja na líčka, farby kupovala,
kdeže by moja mať peňazí nabrala.:]

And myself first, I do not use colours,
I don’t buy colours on my cheeks.
[: If I had bought colours on the cheeks,
where would my mother money had from.:]