Sunday, December 6, 2015

Another new song - Bu gecə

This is a lovely song that I hadn't heard before. My singing teacher thought it would suit me - and it does! There are normally three verses and one refrain. This is what my teacher has taught me to sing - leaving out a verse about mountains and clouds. I like this version below best.

Words are followed by my translation. As usual, the translation proves to be trickier than I first thought. Try popping this into Google Translate if you really want a laugh!

Bu gecə

Mus.: Emin Sabitoğlu

Söz.: Zeynal Xəlil

I - bənd

Fikrimdə aylı, ulduzlu,
asiman var bu gecə.
Könlümdə aylı, ulduzlu,
bir ümman var bu gecə.

Bircə sən yoxsan əzizim
bilir aləm bu gecə.
Neyçün olmadın de: ey yar
mənə həmdəm bu gecə.

II - bənd

Şimşəyə çaxma desəm mən,
inan çaxmaz be gecə.
Araza axma desəm mən,
bil ki, axmaz bu gecə.

Nəq.: təkrar


In my thoughts...
The sky is moonlit and full of stars.
In my heart...
Like an ocean full of moonlight and stars.

You are not here tonight but the world knows
you are my true love.
Why do you not say: Oh love,
you are my constant companion tonight.

If I told the thunder not to roll,
it would cease tonight.
If I told the river not to rush,
it would stop tonight.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

A new mugham - Bayati Qacar

I'm learning a new mugham. I've got 4 parts down so far: Bardaşt, Maye, Pəncigah, and Hüseyni. It is fun to play, but the Pəncigah and Hüseyni are different from other mughams and a bit hard to remember. I hesitate a bit in this video because I have just learned this a few days ago. As usual I am very camera shy, so this is basically me playing in the dark. Sorry!

I would love to hear some feedback from native Azerbaijanis.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Another song - Kərkük xalq mahnısı

This is apparently based on a Turkish song, but it is very popular in Azerbaijan. I really like the version by Nərminə Məmmədova and Sinan Səid.

This is what I am learning to sing. Very beautiful rhythmic song. Second stanza is tricky to translate!

I - bənd
Evlərinin dalı yonca,
Yonca qalxıb dam boyunca, dam boyunca.

Boyu uzun beli, incə,
Ninnə yarım, Ninnə,
Əsmər yarım Ninnə, Ninnə, Ninnə. (x2)

II - bənd
Evlərinin boyu Laçın,
Fələk qoymur gözüm açım, gözüm açım.

Səni alım, hara qaçım,
Ninnə yarım, Ninnə,
Əsmər yarım Ninnə, Ninnə, Ninnə. (x2)


I -
The houses are covered in clover,
Clover grows up, all along the rooftop.
The clover is long, slim like your waist.
Ninna, my love, Ninna.
Beautiful Ninna, my love.

II -
Along the houses of Lachin,
Fate did not allow it. Let me open my eyes.
I will take you for my own, but where can we run to?
Ninna, my love, Ninna,
Beautiful Ninna, my love.

Another song - Ay işığında

A beautiful song I have just learned. It helped me to discover a wonderful singer - Nərminə Məmmədova. Listen to her sing this song.

Mus: Qənbər Hüseynli / söz: Zeynal Xəlil

Mən səni gördüm, ay işığında,
Könlümü verdim, ay işığında.
Tez gəldi hicran,
Ayrıldıq aman, ay işığında, ay işığında.


Olmasın həsrət,
Gülsün məhəbbət,
Ay işığında.

Yenə gəl bizə,
Duraq üz-üzə,
Ay işığında.



I saw you in the moonlight.
I gave you my heart.
But we were soon parted.
Separation is such sweet sorrow, under the light of the moon.

Let this longing end!
Let love's laughter ring out,
Under the light of the moon.

Come again to see us,
Sit with us,
Under the moonlight.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Gluten-free qutab!

Maybe a first in the world?! ; p

Sooooooo yummy!

Back again! So much work to do - no time for the old blog.

Lovely comments here, but I don't do Facebook. Please send me an email if you want to explore projects.

Baku dosa

Wow! I've just invented a new recipe. I call it the Baku dosa. It is scrumptious and easy peasy to make.

Mix equal amounts of lentil flour and rice flour (I grind my own flours and highly recommend this - fresh and tasty!). Then add water that is a bit more than the two flours combined. For example, half cup of each flour plus a little over a cup of water. Stir. Let it sit for at least five hours or overnight. Sounds strange but it needs to ferment. Spread in a circle on a hot non-stick pan. Flip when done (surface will look dry) and then quickly add grated mozzarella, chopped aci biber, and qurudulmuş pomidor zeytun yağında (Bizim Tarla brendi). Wait a bit and flip one third over and then again to make a wrap. It's a wrap! Nuş olsun!

I will adapt this gluten-free recipe to qutab next. Stay tuned.

More pictures below of this very more-ish Baku summertime meal.

Friday, August 14, 2015

New song - Shur tesnifi

OK, I just learned this new song - and it ain't easy to sing! Quite fast and a lot of difficult-to-pronounce words. So be kind in your comments!

Wonderful song though. Will keep working on it.

Watch it here and below.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Şur təsnifi

This is a new song I have just learned. It is very lively and fun to sing. I will try to translate today. I'll make a recording on Tuesday when I have a lesson with my singing teacher. I won't translate the Gəl-gəl ay aman exactly - it is Come, come, oh mercy (doesn't sound so good in English...) As usual I begin thinking it will be a piece of cake and it turns out to be harder to translate than I thought. Comments from native speakers are most welcome!

Atlandın keçdin daşdan,
  Gəl-gəl ay aman.
Yaşmağın düşdü başdan,
  Gəl-gəl ay aman.
Məhəbbət yoxmuş səndə,
  Gəl-gəl ay aman.
Gözüm qurudu yaşdan,
  Gəl-gəl ay aman.

Atəşim var, külüm yox,
Bülbül oldum, gülüm yox.
Mən bu eşqə düşəni,
Ağlanmaqdan günüm yox.

Əzizim xuda səni,
  Gəl-gəl ay aman.
Saxlasın xuda səni,
  Gəl-gəl ay aman.
Xəyalınla yatıram,
  Gəl-gəl ay aman.
Görüm yuxuda səni,
  Gəl-gəl ay aman.

You jumped over a rock,
Your veil fell from your head,
If you have no love,
My eyes are dry from crying.

There is fire but no coals,
There is a nightgale, but no flower.
I have fallen in love,
My days are destroyed with crying.

God knows you are my dear,
God preserve you!
I sleep and dream,
I see you in my dreams.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

More yummy food in Azerbaijan

Pickled alça and pomidor from Qabala. Leftover salmon. Homemade falafel with tahini sauce. Azerbaijani chickpeas. Soak overnight and grind in a meat grinder with onion, garlic, coriander and parsley. Add spices. Form into balls and deep fry. Yum! A great summertime meal for hot Baku weather.

Sizdə pomidor var?

I had a friend who struggled to learn Azerbaijani. Practically all she could say was "Salam" and "Sizdə pomidor var?". But she got a lot of mileage out of that one phrase!

I have just returned to Baku from beautiful Qabala. So fresh, so serene! We stopped by the farmer's market. I got two kilos of beautiful plum tomatoes. Can't beat an Azerbaijani tomato. Better than Italian! Cook with some white wine and garlic. Reduce, strain, add cream and enjoy! Perfect summertime meal.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Recipe inspired by "Pomegranates and Saffron" cookbook

I'm so excited about this new cookbook that I had to try a recipe. I have adapted it to suit my taste.
Original has wheat flour but I substituted my homemade red lentil flour because it is healthier and besides I can't eat wheat. No ham, onion, or green pepper in the original. Original calls for sugar as well, but my version is savory.

The name in Azerbaijani is lalanqa. It is a specialty of western Azerbaijan.

Here's the recipe:

Yogurt Pancake

1/2 cup yogurt
1 egg
Salt and pepper
Bit of red onion finely chopped
Bit of green pepper finely chopped
Bit of ham finely chopped
1/2 cup red lentil flour

Here's the picture (with homemade basil pesto on the side):

New Azerbaijani recipe book in English

I've talked about her wonderful blog before. Now there is a great new book. I love all the pictures and the "words of wisdom". Here's the cover:

My cat likes it too!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Zəhinli manqo

Even mangos learn Azerbaijani faster than I do!

What does this mean?

I like the new messages on the Vita 1000 juices. They are funny. I post the mango soon who has learned Azerbaijani faster than I have! For now I am puzzling over this bit of dialogue.

Funny. I sent more to this post but it didn't travel from my iPhone. This is how I am translating it:

Jokes and black current berries - from Sheki as a gift for your longevity!

But what's the connection between Sheki and jokes? And are jokes thought to promote longevity? Personally I believe this is true, but do Azerbaijanis or Sheki dwellers?

Friday, July 17, 2015

Another sign in Baku

At the mall on Bulvar. A rather original sign. How to translate?

Thought about it, drew it up, planted, adapted, and reached it, and... Sale

Must be a better way to say this in English... Help!

Monday, July 13, 2015

More Shur

Sure is hot and dusty in Baku. And sure is a great time to play some Shur Mugham!

Friends have been pestering me to show my face on a video, so here goes. As you can see from the big sigh at the beginning, I'm not very happy about this! Ha ha! Too bad Colleen!

Deməli, Aytan, Nigar, Hafiz və sair... bax bunu!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Other hyphenated words

And how common are hyphenated words like artıq-əskik? That means tactlessly or out-of-place.

Doubled up words

Are there many examples of words like bərk-bərk which double up words with a hyphen to create a new meaning? Please post examples!

BTW bərk-bərk means as hard as OR double fast.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Restaurant recommendation

A friend has opened a restaurant near our place. It's easy to find - right across the street from the famous Baku Roasting Company. It's called Fincan. Food is great! So far I have tried kələm dolması, yarpaq dolması, tikə kabab və fri kartof. Çox dadlı ıdı!

So, take a look at their signs.

Banquet reservations

Birthday, Anniversary

Henna Party (before weddings)


Hall decoration

National dancing


You can call ahead to tell them what you would like.

This is the ad for the month of Ramazan.

Iftar meal


Chicken soup, Lentil, Dushbara

Cooked meals:

Cutlet with garnishes

Chicken with garnishes


All for 7 manat!

The outside

Inside the restaurant

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Monday, June 29, 2015

Böyük mərhələ

I've been sharing my slow progress with Azerbaijani and all things musical and food-related over the years. And I've just noticed my stats are close to a milestone:

Pageviews all time history
Whoa! How does one celebrate 100,000 hits? 

Highly recommended

Best sun-dried tomatoes in the world!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Socca, so Yummy!

Finished product. Çox dadlıdır!


This is a tasty, healthy alternative to pizza. See steps below. Let's see if I can explain this in AZ.

Noxudu bir az qızart.



Duz, istiot, keklik otu, və sarımsaq əvalə et.
Və sonra su və bir az zeytun yağı.

Qoy qalsın, iki saat üçün.

Summer in Baku

It's summer in Baku! Lovely fresh fruit and veg. Tonight it will be tezə qarğıdalı and socca. Socca recipe to follow.

Corn on the cob - what is this in Azerbaijani?

Pictured here is the lovely Ruzi Market on Qutqaşınlı kücəsi.

Great little shop and very friendly staff. Highly recommended!

Where do they find these words?

Trying to make sense of some new items on BBC Azeri. Where do they find these words?!

Avstarliya sakini olan həmin qadın bir evdən digərinə köçərkənsaatlarla intensiv iş görməli, şkafları yığışdırmaq üçün bəzən uzun müddət əyilərək hərəkətsiz vizyyətdə oturmalı olub.

The Avstarliya I assume is a mistake for Avstraliya. But what the heck is köçərkənsaatlarla? Not in any dictionary that I have. And vizyyətdə? Do they mean vəziyyət

And here's another:

Avropa Oyunları: Azərbaycan idmançısının diskvalifikasiyası

Diskvalifikasiyası? What does it mean? Are they just making up these words?

Saturday, June 27, 2015

dərzi isarə

Two new words here - şuba və dublyonka. The latter is definitely Russian but was translated by Google. The former sounds Azerbaijani but was not translated. A friend tells me it means fur. Dublyonka is sheepskin.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Tomorrow's bayram

Tomorrow there will be planes flying in formation over Baku, with the 3 colors of the flag streaming behind them. But what is this bayram called? It's known by two names. Both are a bit difficult.

Silahlı qüvvələrin yarandığı gün
Ordunun yaranması günü

But most people say: Ordu günü

Much easier to say and remember.

And another sign

So what exactly is a köz ət dönər? The doner part comes from turning since the meat turns around as on a spit. (Back in Canada I had no idea why a doner was called a doner!) but why köz? This is the word for embers or cinders so I am assuming that a real barbecue or manqal is used rather than the usual gas fire. But how to translate into English?

Another sign in Baku

This ad is on the side of an avtobus dayanacaq. But what does it mean? Together we are stronger? Notice that the company, Nar, is a rəsmi tərəfdaş - official partner - of the Baku Games.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Words I can never remember

I was telling my taxi driver a story this morning and found myself searching for certain words that I always seem to have trouble with. Now some people recommend the use of images that you associate with the sound of the word, but which have no meaningful connection to the word's sense. For example, I use to think of a guy in a kilt with an sad face scoring a goal. Məksəd...

There's a name for this mnemonic device but I have forgotten it! I'll look it up later. (Apparently it is just "image mnemonic") At the moment I write this while walking on a treadmill. Which I recently learned is called an elektron qaçış zolağı.

So back to some words that are hard to remember.

To wake up - oyanmaq

Actually now that I look at it it has the sound like YAWN so that should be pretty easy to remember.

Next one -

Colleague - həmkar

I always want to say peşkar (which is kind of related - professional). So I will imagine a colleague - won't say who - driving a car shaped like a ham. Ok, I will say! My colleague Matt who has a crazy imagination and is working on a go-cart video game!

See how easy this is? Actually I think it would drive - no pun intended - you crazy to think of something like this for every word in a new language. But for those stubborn words, it does help. More soon!

Indi hovuza getməliyəm və orda telefon olmaz!

Friday, June 19, 2015


The holy month of Ramazan has begun. It is so interesting to talk to people who are fasting. They are so positive and energized by the experience. To all of my friends who are fasting:
Allah orucunuzu qəbul etsin!
Xeyirli Ramazanlar.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

New signs in Baku - can you translate?

I suggest: Responsible pedestrians obey the rules of the road.

Ata sözü

Had several interesting conversations lately about the Azerbaijani language. Lots to share. I'll start with this new couplet of ata sözü -

Dişin ağrıyır,
Çək, qurtar!

Qonşun pisdir,
Köç, qurtar!

My translation - 

If you teeth hurt, pull them and be done with it!
If your neighbors are bad, move and save yourself from them!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Şur muğamı

Time to start recordings. I am in the middle of learning Shur Mugham. It is interesting and challenging - especially the Shur Fa - halfway between fa natural and fa sharp (bekar and diyez).

So, let's begin. Opening parts: Bardaşt and maye plus şur şanas, busalik and bayati türk.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

translation of a famous quotation

I'm back from a trip to Italy. Must say, I will miss the cappuccinos! And the warm weather, and the free wifi, and the gluten-free meals (in the land of pasta!), and of course the lovely local wine.

But, the real reason for writing this post is to translate the quotation above from the famous Azerbaijani entrepreneur and philanthropist. 

Earn money, but don't lose your honor. Money comes and goes - but not honor.

Again, all advice is most welcome!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bayramınız mübarək!

Finally it is Novruz and I have some time to relax, see friends, cook, and of course - play mugham. At the moment I am reviewing Orta Mahur. My teacher says that I still don't have it completely memorized. I keep forgetting bits of Şikəsteyi fars and Mübərriqə. Here are the first three parts: Bardaşt, hüseyni and orta mahur. Some bum notes but overall not bad I hope. I am going to try to record bit by bit all the mughams that I can play so far. Advice from native lovers of mugham is welcome!

 Orta mahur - 1st part

I will start Şur next. I think it is very difficult!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

More practice

Back to Mahur Hindi. It's been ages since I played it. Wow, it took a lot of practice to bring it all back. And I'm still not completely there yet. Still, it is really a fun mugham to play. Here is a recording of the first two parts - Bardaşt and Maye.

Mahur Hindi - Badaşt və Maye

Thursday, January 29, 2015


I have been reviewing the mughams that I have learned so far. I decided today to try to record a bit of mugham (without actually having my face online!) This is my first attempt - the first cümlə of Zil Bayati Şiraz. If followers find this interesting I'll record some more.

This video was recorded on my old Q2 Zoom recorder, which I use for all of my kamancha and singing lessons. It is a real boon to musicians who learn music by ear. I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my new Q4 Zoom Video Recorder... 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Idiomatic expression

This is a funny thing to say. Popular with older people. It literally means - We didn't die but we have seen this day! When something surprising happens that you didn't expect - good or bad - you can say this. Ölmədik, du günü də gördük!

But, how to express this in English?

Sənin bürcün nə dir?

I had a conversation about birthdays today. Azerbaijanis are fond of astrology, so they always want to know your sign. Here is some vocab for all things astrological...

Qoç bürcü

Buğa bürcü
Əkizlər bürcü
Xərçəng bürcü
Şir bürcü
Qız bürcü
Tərəzi bürcü
Əqrəb bürcü

Oxatan bürcü
Oğlaq bürcü
Dolça bürcü
Balıq bürcü