Sala Sala

Sala Sala is an old song from either Greece or Turkey depending on who you ask or which language you prefer.  I prefer the Greek version simply because I’m much more comfortable with the Greek language.   A sala is a salon or really nice living room that’s reserved for visiting. Like most folk songs I’ve encountered, Sala, Sala refers quite a bit to love and nature.

Σάλα σάλα, μες στη σάλα τα μιλήσαμε
Να με πάρεις, να σε πάρω συμφωνήσαμε

Sala sala,  in the living room we talked it out
You will marry me (lit. “take me”), I will marry you, we agreed to it

Πότε μαύρα, πότε άσπρα, πότε κόκκινα
Την καρδιά μου να ζητούσες, θα σ’ την έδινα

Sometimes black, sometimes white, sometimes red
Should you ask for my heart, I would give it to you

Musicians love this song because of the mode or scale it’s written in.  It’s called Saba and it means morning or bright in Arabic and is also a popular baby name.  The scale is a normal minor scale but the 4th note is flatted making it sound very exotic to Western ears.

Here’s a short video of Eve playing the Saba scale on her sandouri, followed by a short improv:

Here’s a very nice version from 1926:


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