Amerikana

by Natalie Nowytski

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about

A unique fusion of traditional folk songs and vocal stylings of Czech Republic, Slovakia, and the Rusyns of Eastern Slovakia set to American bluegrass, old time, country, and Americana arrangements, featuring the Prague-based Amistar resophonic guitar.

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released April 20, 2013

Musicians:
Steve Kaul (acoustic & resonator guitars)
Scott Keever (resonator/slide & acoustic guitars, brushes)
Adam Kiesling (upright bass & banjo)
Natalie Nowytski (vocals, whistle, brushes)
Peter Ostroushko (fiddle)
Jim Parker (mandolin)
Gabriela Sweet (dobro/slide)

Produced by: Steve Kaul & Natalie Nowytski
Recorded & Mixed by: Reid Kruger, for Waterbury Music + Sound
Mastered by: Greg Reierson, for Rare Form Mastering
Designed by: Natalie Nowytski, for Renaissance Jane
Photographed by: Stefan Iwaskewycz

Thanks to: Adam, Gabriela, Jim, Peter, Scott, and Steve for their artistry, friendship, love, expertise, and bravery to take on this challenging project and make it into something even better than I could have imagined; Reid, Steve, and Greg for their sheer brilliance; Stefan for his gorgeous photography; Olenka, Scott, Bunya, Mama, Tato, and the rest of my family for their love and encouragement; Jana, Leo, and Mila Vocal Ensemble for being part of that initial concept; Don LaCourse for use of the costume pictured on the cover and all of his love and support over the years; Ethnic Dance Theatre, Orkestar Bez Ime, and Boris & Natasha for introducing me to several of these songs; Joyce Tesarek Petrik, Ed Hamernik, Beatrice Flaming, Donald Pafko, Karen Varian, and Sokol Minnesota for connecting me with the Twin Cities Czech, Slovak, and Rusyn communities; Blanka Brichta, Marek Mino, Dean Poloka, Jaroslav Polovka, Markéta Resong, Jitka Sebek, and Marta Tkáčová for their help with translations and lyric transcription; Minnesota State Arts Board and all of the generous RocketHub contributors for helping to fund this project.

Natalie Nowytski is a fiscal year 2012 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is funded, in part, by the Minnesota State Legislature from the State’s arts and cultural heritage fund with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.

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Natalie Nowytski Minneapolis, Minnesota

Classically trained vocalist-turned-folk music geek. Award-winning composer & performer. Teacher. Director. Ukrainian. Sings in 40+ languages and 12+ distinct vocal styles. Heard on A Prairie Home Companion. This is what happens when she lets her hair down. ... more

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Track Name: Chodila dievčina - A Girl Was Walking
// Chodila dievčina po hore plačúci. //
// Postretla čipkára, hej, čo čipky predáva. //

// “Čipkáru, čipkáru, pre živého boha, //
// či mi je čipôčka, hej, na čepiec hotová?” //

// “Hotová, hotová, ale ju nenesiem. //
// Budeš, dievča, čakať, hej, až na druhú jeseň.” //

// “Nebudem, nebudem do jeseni čakať, //
// zunovalo sa mi, hej, moje vlásky česať. //

// Moje vlásky česať, vrkoče zaplietať. //
// Nebudem, nebudem, hej, do jeseni čakať.” //

Translation:
A girl was crying, walking over the mountain.
She met a lacer [lace maker] who was selling laces.

“Lacer, lacer, for living god [for God’s sake],
is the lace on my cap finished?”

“It’s finished, it’s finished, but I do not have it.
You, girl, must wait until the second autumn.”

“I will not, I will not wait until autumn.
It [pronoun unclear] started boring and teasing my hair.

Teasing my hair, raveling my braids.
I will not, I will not wait until autumn.”
Track Name: Poljana, poljana - Field Girl
// Poljana, poljana, na poljani jama.
   Chlopci bisidujut’ že ja maljovana. //
// Čuli ste taku novinu?
   Chlopci bisidujut’ že ja maljovana. //

// Ja ne maljovana bo šja ne maljuju,
   ani šja za tebe, legin’, ne hotuju. //
// Lelija, lelija trava.
   Ani šja za tebe, legin’, ne hotuju. //

// Ked bŷ ja šja za tja, legin’, rŷchtovala,
   davno, bŷ ja, davno, v čornej zemli spala. //
// Lelija, lelija trava.
   Išči ja moloda bŷm šja vŷdavala. //

Translation:
Field girl, field girl, in the field there’s a hole.
The boys all tease me that I color my face [wear make-up].
Have you heard of such a thing?
The boys all tease me that I color my face [wear make-up].

I’m not made up, for I don’t use colors/wear make-up,
nor, boy, do I get ready for you.
The lilies and the grass [line used as filler].
Nor, boy, do I get ready for you.

And if, boy, I had planned to marry you,
I’d long ago been sleeping in the black earth [in my grave].
The lilies and the grass.
I’m still too young to be given away/married.
Track Name: Čerešničky, čerešničky – Cherries
// Čerešničky, čerešničky, čerešně,
   vy ste sa ně rozsypaly na cestě. //
// Kdo vás najde, ten vás posbírá?
   Já som mala včéra večér frajíra. //

// Bol to šohaj malovaný, jak růža,
   teho sem si vyvolila za muža. //
// Ani bych mu robit nedala,
   len by som ho jako růžu chovala. //

// Jako růžu, jako růžu červenú,
   ja bych bola jeho ženů milenů. //
// Ja bych bola jeho lalija,
   a on moja růža, růža červená. //

Translation:
Cherries, cherries, cherries,
you scattered on the road.
Who will find you, will gather you up?
I was with my boyfriend yesterday evening.

He was a good-looking man, like a rose,
that I choose to marry.
I wouldn’t let him work.
Only like a rose would I take care of him.

Like a rose, like a red rose,
I would be his beloved wife.
I would be his lily,
and he would be my rose, my red rose.
Track Name: Muši Vam, mamičko - You Must Be, Mommy
Muši Vam, mamičko na šercu češko bic:
Vichovaľi sce me, vichovaľi sce me,
ňebudzem Vam robic.

Vichovaľi sce me jak dzifku jahodu.
Teraz sce me daľi, teraz sce me daľi
za hliboku vodu.

Za hliboku vodu, za široke more,
a teraz plačece a teraz plačece,
“Dze ši, dzecko moje?”

Tu som, mamko moja, v tim daľekim kraju.
Ket na Vas podumam, ket na Vas podumam,
slizi mi padaju.

Translation:
You, mommy, must be very sad at heart:
You’ve raised me, you’ve raised me,
but I will not work for you.

You brought me up as a girl-strawberry.
Now you gave me away
over the deep waters.

Over the deep waters, over the broad sea,
and now you are crying, and now you are crying,
“Where are you, my child?”

Here I am, my mom, in far away country.
When I think of you, when I think of you,
I shed tears.
Track Name: Za Dunaj / A ja taká dzivočka - Beyond the Danube / Oh, I Am That Kind of a Girl
Dumaš milŷj, žem ti virna, hojaja,
žem ti šila na kolina, čuhaja.
Za Dunaj, za Dunaj,
bet’ar za Dunaj.
Ani sobi vecej o mi nedumaj.

Ja si šila z veselosty, hojaja.
A tŷ dumal, že z l’ubosty, čuhaja.
// Za Dunaj… o mi nedumaj. //

Tŷ nedumaj že ja tebe rada ma,
jake dupnu do ja takŷ zvŷčaj ma.
Za Dunaj… o mi nedumaj.

A ja sobi bet’ar divka, hojaja.
Nebudu tvoja frajirka, čuhaja.
// Za Dunaj… o mi nedumaj. //

A ja taká dzivočka, cingi lingi bom.
Rada vijem pírečka, cingi lingi bom.
// Rada vijem, rada dám, cingi lingi bom, bom, bom,
  i za kalap zakladám, cingi lingi bom. //

A ja taká jak i mac, cingi lingi bom.
Čarne oči mušim mac, cingi lingi bom.
// Čarné oči mac mala, cingi lingi, bom, bom, bom.
  Ja še na ňu podala, cingi lingi bom. //

A ty cigán šumňe hraj, cingi lingi bom.
Na dzivčatá ňežmurkaj cingi lingi bom,
// na dzivčatá, na šumne, cingi lingi bom, bom, bom,
  naj ňechodza po humňe, cingi lingi bom. //

Translation:
You think, darling, you believe, hey,
that I sewed for you on my knee, for a country boy.
Beyond the Danube, beyond the Danube,
there’s a rascal beyond the Danube.
Don’t think such things about me.

I was sewing out of joy, hey.
And you thought it was out of love, country boy.
// Beyond the Danube... about me. //

You don’t think that I am happy with you,
Like hitting my knee, it’s a habit of mine [I like to tease you].
Beyond the Danube... about me.

I am a rascal’s girl, hey,
I will not be your girlfriend, country boy.
// Beyond the Danube... about me. //

Oh, I am that kind of a girl, cingi lingi bom [bell sound].
I like to bind plumes, cingi lingi bom.
I like to bind them, to give them, cingi lingi bom, bom, bom,
and adorn the hats with them, cingi lingi bom.

I look like my mom, cingi lingi bom.
My eyes must be black, cingi lingi bom.
My mom’s eyes were black, cingi lingi bom, bom, bom.
I took after her, cingi lingi bom.

And you, gypsy, play well, cingi lingi bom.
Don’t wink at those girls, cingi lingi bom,
those pretty girls, cingi lingi bom, bom, bom,
so they don’t go out to the backyard [behind the village boundaries], cingi lingi bom.
Track Name: Čerešeň, čerešeň - Cherry Tree
// Čerešeň, čerešeň, hej želená čerešeň, //
   čija že ja budzem, hejahoj, nevesta na ješeň,
Bože moj?

// Sama ja še, sama, hej do ľubeňa dala, //
   teraz tak banujem, hejahoj, až me boli hlava,
Bože moj.

// Vyšla ja na skalu, hej, chcela ja še zabic, //
   aľe mi bulo žaľ, hejahoj, frajira zochabic,
Bože moj.

Translation:
Cherry tree, cherry tree, hey green cherry tree,
whose bride will I be, hey ho, in the autumn,
my God?

I (myself), hey, fell into love,
and now I regret it so much, hey ho, that my head aches,
my God.

I climbed on the top of the rock [cliff], hey, wanted to kill myself,
but I was sorry, hey ho, to leave my boyfriend behind,
my God.
Track Name: Šest dní do týdňa - Six Days In a Week
Šest dní do týdňa, sedmá neděla.
Pověz, děvčico, čeho’s želela?
Želela sem já svých černých očí
že su nespaly po devět nocí.
Ešte by mohly po devět nespať
Dybych já mohla, synečku, dostať.
U súsedú dveří na vysokej veži,
nechod’ tam, synečku; už tam jiný leží.
U súsedú dveří na vysokém prahu,
nechod’ tam, synečku: Probijú ti hlavu.
Ani neprobijú, ani neporaňa.
Su tam hezké céry a ty ňa obraňa.
U súsedú majú mramorové schody.
Nechod’ tam, synečku, polámú ti nohy.
Ked’ mě jich polámú budu ňe jich hojit’.
Bude ňe má milá na zelinky chodit’.

Translation:
Six days into a week, seventh Sunday.
Tell me girl, what do you regret?
I regret my black eyes
Because they didn’t sleep for nine nights.
They don’t have to sleep for nine more
If I could get you, boy.
At the neighbor’s doors on the high tower,
don’t go there, boy; somebody else is lying there now.
At the neighbor’s doors at the high threshold,
don’t go there, boy: They will crack your head.
They won’t crack, nor will they hurt it.
There are pretty girls there and they will defend me.
At the neighbor’s they have a marble staircase.
Don’t go there, boy, they will break your legs.
If they break them, they will heal them.
My sweetheart will go cut the grass [to feed the animals].
Track Name: Horehronský čardaš (To ta Hel’pa) - Chardash from Horehronie (This Town of Hel'pa)
To ta Heľpa, to ta Heľpa, to je pekné mesto.
A v tej Heľpe, a v tej Heľpe, švárnych chlapcov je sto.
// Koho je sto, toho je sto nie po mojej vôli.
   Len za jedným, len za jedným srdiečko ma bolí. //

Za Janíčkom, za Pavlíčkom, krok by nespravila.
Za Ďuríčkom, za Ringíčkom, Dunaj preskočila.
// Dunaj, Dunaj, Dunaj, Dunaj, aj to širé pole,
   Len za jedným, len za jedným, počešenie moje. //

Translation:
This Hel’pa is a nice town.
And in Hel’pa there are a hundred handsome boys.
This hundred, that hundred are not to my liking.
Only for one, only for one does my heart ache.

For John, for Paul, I wouldn’t take a single step.
For George, for Ringo, I’d jump over the Danube.
Danube, Danube, Danube, Danube, and also a wide field,
only for one, only for one, my darling.
Track Name: Svieti miesac - The Moon is Shining
Svieti miesac, sveti miesac nad našim humiénkem.
Stoji šuhaj, stoji šuhaj pod našim okiénkem,
// stoji prežalostně na mňa volá,
“Otvoržie mi, otvoržie mi frajeročka moja.” //

“A ja by si, a ja by si dvérka otvorela
keby moja, keby moja mamka dovolela
// Ale moja mamka nedovolí
že ty neny, že ty neny šuhaj mojej vody.” //

Svieti miesac, sveti miesac nad našim humiénkem.
Stoji šuhaj, stoji šuhaj pod našim okiénkem,
// stoji prežalostně na mňa volá,
“Otvoržie mi, otvoržie mi frajeročka moja.” //

Translation:
The moon is shining over the meadow.*
My sweetheart is standing by my window,
// standing in despair and calling,
“Open for me, my dear.” //

“I would open the door for you
if only my mom would let me.
// She doesn’t let me
because you are not good [wealthy] enough for me.” //

The moon is shining over the meadow.
My sweetheart is standing by my window,
// standing in despair and calling,
“Open for me, my dear.” //

*Humiénko translates as any piece of land directly outside the farm walls (orchard, meadow, garden, etc.).
Track Name: Čirčanka - The Chirchanka Stream
Čirčanka pretikat prez našu dolinu.
Ne možu zabŷty na ljubov maminu,
na ljubov maminu, ta na svoho njan’ka
staraly šja o nja, jak bŷla’m choren’ka.

Bŷla ja choren’ka zo žalju vel’koho.
Terpyt moja duša pro moho miloho.
Ja ne mam miloho, na vojnu rukoval.
Jak zme šja lučily, virnost’ mi sljuboval.

Čirčanka pretikat prez naše selečko.
Mij milŷj na vojni, bolit nja serdečko.
To moje serdečko vše šja lem strachuje
či milŷj na vojni druhu ne ljubuje.

Čirčanka pretikat do š’vita šŷroho.
Budu ja čekala svojoho miloho.
Čirčanka, Čirčanka, prekrasnŷj jaročok,
mij milŷj šja verne až na druŷj ročok.

Translation:
The Chirchanka stream flows through our valley.
I will never forget my mother’s love,
the love of my mother and my dear father
who tried to take care of me when I was sick.

I was ill because of great sorrow.
My soul is suffering for my sweetheart.
I don’t have a sweetheart, he’s gone to the army.
When we parted, he promised to be faithful.

The Chirchanka stream flows through our little village.
My sweetheart is at war, my heart aches.
It’s my heart that is fearful
that he loves another.

The Chirchanka stream flows to the wide world.
I’ve been waiting for my sweetheart.
Chirchanka, Chirchanka, beautiful ravine,
my sweetheart will return yet next year.
Track Name: Už se Krumlovskej zámeček bourá - The Castle of Krumlov is Falling Apart
Už se Krumlovskej zámeček bourá.
Už se můj milej za jinou toulá.
Toulá se toulá, všechny ty lidé,
až se vytoulá však on zas přijde.

Můj milej jede od Prahy domu.
Já půjdu zejtra naproti jemu:
Ach jede jede, čtyřma koníčky
vzadu ma vraný napřed tři bryčky.

Dlouho, holečku, dlouho k nám nejdeš?
Já jsem myslila že už nepřijdeš.
// Když jsi k nám přišel pojd’ večer s námi.
   Vždyt’ nejseš cizí jseš dobrý známý. //

Translation:
The castle of Krumlov is falling apart.
My sweetheart has left me.
He has left me, hear me all,
but I am certain he’ll come to me again.

My sweetheart is coming home from Prague.
Tomorrow I will meet up with him:
A carriage lead by four horses
will bring him to me.

Where are you, my dear?
I thought you were not coming anymore.
When you arrive, come with us.
You aren’t a stranger, you are one of us.
Track Name: Kebych byla jahodú - If I Were a Strawberry
Kebych byla jahodú malým kvítkem v háji,
věru bych prokvétala každým rokem v máji.

A i tak bych zavoňala v širej po doline
aby vůňa šohaja táhla k mej dědině.

Keby prišel počestný a mňe líčka hladkál,
k temu bych sa sklonila jak jahoda sladká.

Translation:
If I were a small strawberry bloom in the forest,
I would bloom every year in May.

And I would be fragrant over the wide valley
so my fragrance would pull a young man towards my village.

If some honorable [man] came and would stroke my cheeks,
I would bend toward him like a sweet strawberry.
Track Name: Krjačok ljalijovŷj - The Lily Patch
Ked šja vŷdavala, ked šja vŷdavala zahradku kopala.Krjačok ljalijovŷj, krjačok ljalijovŷj na znak obrabjala.Krjačok ljalijovŷj, šejahoj, na znak obrabjala, Bože moj,
krjačok ljalijovŷj, krjačok ljalijovŷj, na znak obrabjala.

Ked mi bude dobri, ked mi bude dobri pri mojim mužovi,
ta i ja zabudu, ta i ja zabudu na znak ljalijovŷj.
Ta i ja zabudu, šejahoj, na znak ljalijovŷj, Bože moj.
Ta i ja zabudu, ta i ja zabudu na znak ljalijovŷj.

Ked mi bude plano, ked mi bude plano pri mojim mužovi,
Budu polivaty, budu polivaty krjačok ljalijovŷj.
// Budu polivaty, šejahoj, krjačok ljalijovŷj, Bože moj.
   Budu polivaty, budu polivaty krjačok ljalijovŷj. //

Translation:
When I was given away [in marriage], I dug a garden.
[I planted a] lily patch as a symbol of my life.
A lily patch, hey, as a symbol of my life, my God,
a lily patch as a symbol of my life.

If everything is good with my husband,
I will forget about the lilies [because we will be together].
I will forget, hey, about the lilies, my God.
I will forget about the lilies.

If it is bad with my husband,
I will water the lily patch [because I will have the time].
I will water, hey, the lily patch, my God.
I will water the lily patch.
Track Name: Teče voda, teče - Water Flows
Teče voda, teče pres Velecký májir.
Komu smňa zanechal starodavný frájir.

Nechal sem ťa nechal, dobre ty viš komu,
co ty reči nosil do vašeho domu.

Do vašeho domu pod vaše okénko,
// co sem sa naplakal sivá, holuběnko. //

Translation:
Water flows through Velecky farm.
You abandoned me, my old [long-time] lover.

You abandoned me, you know well to whom,
who brings that rumor to your house.

In your house, beneath your window,
I cried so much, my dove.
Track Name: Už se Krumlovskej zámeček bourá - The Castle of Krumlov is Falling Apart (ALTERNATE VERSION)
Už se Krumlovskej zámeček bourá.
Už se můj milej za jinou toulá.
Toulá se toulá, všechny ty lidé,
až se vytoulá však on zas přijde.

Můj milej jede od Prahy domu.
Já půjdu zejtra naproti jemu:
Ach jede jede, čtyřma koníčky
vzadu ma vraný napřed tři bryčky.

Dlouho, holečku, dlouho k nám nejdeš?
Já jsem myslila že už nepřijdeš.
// Když jsi k nám přišel pojd’ večer s námi.
   Vždyt’ nejseš cizí jseš dobrý známý. //

Translation:
The castle of Krumlov is falling apart.
My sweetheart has left me.
He has left me, hear me all,
but I am certain he’ll come to me again.

My sweetheart is coming home from Prague.
Tomorrow I will meet up with him:
A carriage lead by four horses
will bring him to me.

Where are you, my dear?
I thought you were not coming anymore.
When you arrive, come with us.
You aren’t a stranger, you are one of us.
Track Name: Teče voda, teče - Water Flows (ALTERNATE VERSION)
Teče voda, teče pres Velecký májir.
Komu smňa zanechal starodavný frájir.

Nechal sem ťa nechal, dobre ty viš komu,
co ty reči nosil do vašeho domu.

Do vašeho domu pod vaše okénko,
// co sem sa naplakal sivá, holuběnko. //

Translation:
Water flows through Velecky farm.
You abandoned me, my old [long-time] lover.

You abandoned me, you know well to whom,
who brings that rumor to your house.

In your house, beneath your window,
I cried so much, my dove.