Uzbek Yar-Yar

Part of the Matheson Trust Sacred Audio Collection

Yar-yar means “Dear, Dear” and it is the name of a musical genre among the Uzbek. Mourning Yar-Yars (Matem yar-yarlari) are usually performed in the house of a dead person, at the time of bathing the deceased and putting on the shroud. This is part of a complex and rich indigenous funerary tradition found in the region of Bukhara, blended to a certain degree with elements of Islamic doctrine and imagery.

Uzbek Yar-Yar

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These verses can give an idea of the import of the funerary yar-yars:

Hay-hay ölan, hay ölan, troubled girl, yar-yar,
Girl with a remedy for her mother’s heart, yar- yar.
Lady Lale also passes over, little bride,
My lady girl’s hair swings on a dark willow.
She did not care about wealth and thanked God, yar-yar,
She was a guest in this world, had not enjoyed it, yar-yar.
Tall girl, coy girl, worldly girl, yar-yar,
Apart from her lover, dear girl, yar-yar.
Feeling helpless, apart from the lover,
Among all the girls she can not dance, yar-yar.
Hay-hay ölan, hay ölan, friendly girl, yar-yar,
Flies toward eternity, daughter of a sultan, yar- yar.
Hello my dear girl, welcome, yar-yar,
Welcome to this world as guests, welcome, yar- yar.
My lady girl’s hair swings on a dark willow.
My lady girl goes to the dark side, little bride,
Troubled girl, she cannot fulfill her desire, yar- yar,
Girl with a remedy, she flies through eternity, little bride, yar-yar.
Hay-hay ölan, hay ölan, my dear girl, yar-yar,
Among all the houri girls, my queen girl, yar- yar.

Follow this link for an article by S. Fedakar on the lament tradition among the Uzbeks. With thanks to the author.