I am a man of constant sorrow

I can tell you very little, really, about Özgür Baba, if indeed that's the name of the gentleman playing the saz in this video.  (The saz, you may remember, is the Turkish guitar-like instrument played by Lu Edmonds of Mekons.)  He has a splendid cat, and chickens.  He seems unconcerned by what sounds like distant gunfire, so I think we can assume it's hunting season.  

The song he's singing, "Dertli Dolap" (short for "Benim Adım Dertli Dolap", or "'Endless Trouble' Is My Name") has lyrics written by Yunus Emre, a thirteenth-century CE Sufi mystic who is among the first writers in Anatolian Turkish whose work survives, occupying a somewhat similar place in modern Turkish that Chaucer and the Pearl Poet do in modern English.  The central message of the song is roughly equivalent to Shelley's "'Look on my works, Ye Mighty, and despair!'/Nothing beside remains."  "I am a mighty tree of the mountain," sings the tree who was felled, "and life runs away, away."

I have not the first idea how old the melody is, or when this poem was first set to it.  It certainly feels ancient, but music can be tricky with its timelessness.  All I can say for sure is that it was composed before 2018.

So score another one for the algorithm, which served this up to me on a day like today.


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