Uska Dara

Uska Dara (A Turkish Tale) is a 1953 song made famous by Eartha Kitt, also recorded by Eydie Gormé.[1] It is based on the Turkish folk song Kâtibim about a woman and her secretary traveling to Üsküdar. On early recordings, this adaptation is credited to Stella Lee.[2]

Eartha Kitt recorded it with Henri René and his orchestra at Manhattan Center, New York City, on March 13, 1953. The song was released by RCA Victor Records as catalog number 20-5284 (in USA)[3] and by EMI on the His Master's Voice label as catalog number B 10573. Kitt's recording sold 120,000 copies when it was first released by RCA Victor in 1953.[4][5] Kitt later performed the song in the 1954 film New Faces and included the song in her cabaret act, where she culminated the number with a belly dance.[6][7] The song appears on her albums RCA Victor Presents Eartha Kitt (1953) and That Bad Eartha (1955).

The 1978 disco song "Rasputin" by Boney M uses part of the melody of "Kâtibim", and mimics the line "Oh! those Turks" (as "Oh! those Russians") at the end of the song.


  1. Coral 78rpm issues; pop series; 1951 - 1953
  2. Thomas S. Hischak, The Tin Pan Alley Song Encyclopedia (2002), page 382: "'Uska Dara (A Turkish Tale)' (1953) is a spirited novelty number by Stella Lee that is adapted from a Turkish song sometimes titled 'Uskadara.' Although Eydie Gorme introduced the song with a successful record, the piece is most associated with Eartha Kitt, who sang it both in English and Turkish, had a bestselling disc, and kept it in her nightclub act for years. Kitt reprised the number in the movie New Faces (1954)."
  3. RCA Victor Records in the 20-5000 to 20-5499 series
  4. “New Pop Records,” Time Magazine, May 18, 1953
  5. Johnson Publishing Company (1953). Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. p. 61.
  6. John Howard Reid (2006). Cinemascope 3: Hollywood Takes the Plunge. p. 172. ISBN 978-1-4116-7188-1.
  7. “Review/Pop; Still Growling and Prowling,” New York Times, October 24, 1990

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