Home - Andal - Literature - Original text

people enjoying each other

A Thousand Songs for between the Wheat-stalks

The Brahir laqa canun tan ryabay is a collection of brothel songs by traditionally ascribed to Mandein lua Radauq.

The title Brahir laqa canun tan ryabay, is usually translated as 'a thousand songs for between the wheat-stalks'. A small selection of songs from this large collection of brothel and tavern songs has previously been translated and published by Editions Planteur (Yundiai 1991) in a collectors edition with several plates.

The collection itself dates from the period of the treehundred years of the threehundred kingdoms. At that time the Charyan empire was very fragmented and in this chaotic situation a rich tradition of trivial literature written in the _lingua franca_, Denden[1], sprang up. One example is this collection of trivial songs - others are the Garalwüshir, a handbook for young courtesans. The popular novels about scholars and heros were more often written in an easy style of Classical Charyan, Den'wenray, though.

Not all songs in the collection are as direct as lamay neranmen. There are songs that make extensive use of agricultural imagery, like the laqa tan klondan, and others that are more riddle-like. Formally, the collection is very diverse too. The song lamay neranmen has end-rhyme, but that's actually very rare.

There's not much doubt as to the authorship of the songs in the collection: Mandein lua Radauq wasn't the author. The authors of these songs were simply the courtesans in the brothels or their visitors. Making up impromptu songs about love forms a large part of 'an evening out', and the best songs will be remembered for a long time. Whether Mandein was the compiler of the collection is doubtful too, he is mostly known for a large travel-guide through western Andal. Of course, the question of the authorship is not important. As Yundiai notes in his introduction to his translation: '... de dichters zelf bleven anoniem, ze zongen het lied een keer, het werd vaker gezongen en tenslotte opgeschreven. Het waren geen lange filosofische leerdichten die de naam van de auteur moesten vereeuwigen, het ging hen om het snelvlietend plezier onder de dainam-bomen.'

In rebus sexualibus, the Charyan people are rather unrestrained and very free of inhibitions, presenting a marked contrast to neighbouring ethnicities, like the Matraians or the Barushlani. In Charya, especially in the south, the pleasure people can have together is seen as a normal, important facet of the daily life, public as well as private.

A few songs choses from the Brahir, as the collection is affectionatly knows, are presented in Denden, in Dutch and interlinearly glossed.


© 1999 Boudewijn Rempt - Optimized for Lynx