“Di Kolomeyer tsaytung” Performed by Lifshe Schaechter-Widman

Posted in Yiddish Song of the Week with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 21, 2016 by yiddishsong

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

Perhaps because of an advertisement in the Kolomey [Kolomyia, Kolomea – Eastern Galicia, today Ukraine] newspaper, young women came to the city and became street walkers. Any other interpretations of the first line of this song, which Lifshe Schaechter-Widman (LSW) says was created during the first world war, would be welcome. This recording of Lifshe was made by Leybl Kahn in 1954 in New York.

Leybl Kahn

 As part of YIVO’s I. L. Cahan Folklore Club Leybl Kahn recorded approximately 90 Yiddish songs from LSW in NY in 1954. This photo of Kahn is from the 1980s

Klezmer music scholar Prof. Martin Schwartz (Berkeley) remembers his mother from Brisk de Lite (Brest Litovsk, now in Belarus) singing this song, but about a “Bialistoker tsaytung” (newspaper from Bialystok)  He also pointed out that the same melody, more or less, can be heard in the klezmer repertoire in Harry Kandel’s Odessa Bulgar.

Note: in the first verse LSW sings mistakenly “Arop fun dem shlekhtn veg iz zi” which means – “She went off the bad/crooked path”; the opposite of what she intended. I believe she meant to sing “Arop funem glaykhn veg iz zi” – “She went off the good/straight path”.

Spoken:

LSW: A pur lider vos me hot gezingen in krig.
LK: In der ershter velt-milkhome.
LSW: In der ershter velt-milkhume
LK: Gut, dos ershte lid…

Di kolomeyer tsaytung hot gebrakht a vabele
shpeyt bay nakht.
Gegangen iz zi
fun shpeyt biz fri
Arup fun dem shlekhtn [glaykhn] veyg iz zi.

Meydlekh in der ershter klas
geyen arim in der (h)intershter gas.
Hefker iz di velt atsind.

Tsi iz dus fayn? Tsi iz dus sheyn?
Biz shpeyt ba nakht arimtsigeyn?
Es iz nisht fayn; es iz nisht sheyn.
Dus iberike shtoyst zikh un aleyn.

Spoken:

LSW: A few songs that were sung in wartime.
LK: In the first world war.
LSW: In the first world war.
LK: the first song…

The Kolomey newspaper brought a young woman
late at night.
She walked from late to early morning
Off the straight path she went.
[LSW sings mistakenly “off the evil path she went”]

First class girls wander around in the back alleys.
The world is topsy-turvey now.

Is this fine? Is this nice?
To walk around till late at night?
It is not fine; it is not nice.
You can imagine the rest yourself.

kolomeyer1kolomeyer2.JPG

“Bay mayn shokhn iz do ales” Performed by Leo Summergrad

Posted in Yiddish Song of the Week with tags , , , , , on March 24, 2016 by yiddishsong

 

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

Bay mayn shokhn iz do ales (My Neighbor Has It All) is another item from a recording from the 1950s that Leo Summergrad made of songs he remembered. He recounts that this one was taught to him by his cousin.

yungvarg-new1

Illustration from the IWO/Arbeter-ordn  Yiddish children’s journal Yungvarg, NYC

Bay mayn shokhn iz do ales
My Neighbor Has It All.

Bay may shokhn iz do ales
Frishe broyt un vayse khales.
Un bay mir es fayft der dales
Un es shimlen alte kales.

Hay-da hay-da hay-da hay-da

Mayn shokhn iz a yung, a srore
Un er hot tsvey hentlekh klore.
Un bay mir iz kayn ayn-hore
Vu an umglik, vu a tsore.

Hay-da hay-da hay-da hay-da

Mayn shokhn iz a yung, a golyes.
Un er shpilt di greste rolyes.
Nor bay mir iz viste dolyes,
Kh’es nor teyglekh mit fasolyes.

Hay-da hay-da hay-da hay-da

Nor s’vel kumen naye tsaytn.
Mit mayn skhokhn vel ikh zikh baytn.
Oyf zayn kark vel ikh onraytn
Un in flamen in di zaytn.

Ay-da hay-da hay-da hay-da

My neighbor has it all.
Fresh bread and white challahs,
While I suffer great poverty
And  have old maids that turn rotten.

Ay-da hay-da hay-da hay-da

My neighbor is a youth, a nobleman
And he has two pure hands.
While I, no evil-eye,
Have only misfortunes and troubles.

Ay-da hay-da hay-da hay-da

My neighbor is a youth, a Goliath
And he plays the greatest roles [puts on an act].
While I have a sad lot –
Eating dough balls and beans.

Hay-da hay-da hay-da hay-da

But new times will come.
I will switch with my neighbor.
On his neck I will ride
And thrash him in his ribs

Hay-da hay-da hay-da hay-da

shokhn1shokhn2shokhn3

“Du vint du shtifer” Performed by Leo Summergrad

Posted in Yiddish Song of the Week with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2016 by yiddishsong

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

The song Du vint du shtifer, (You wind, you prankster) was learned by Leo Summergrad in the Bronx Mitl Shule of the IWO  (International Worker’s Order) in either 1938, 1939, or 1940.  The recording presented here was made in the 1950’s.

leo summergrad

Leo Summergrad, picture by the
Yiddish Book Center’s Wexler Oral History Project

Summergrad’s music teachers would have been either Vladimir Heifetz  (1893 – 1970) or Irving R. Korenman, both well-known composers associated with the Jewish left.

More on these composers can be found in the papers of Vladimir Heifetz at YIVO. The author and composer of “Du vint du shtifer” will probably also be found in Heifetz’s papers.

Du vint, du shtifer

A lid a freylekhs zing undz oys
du vint, du shtifer,
du vint du shtifer
du vint du shtifer.

Host oysgenishtert hoykhe berg
in yamen tife,
un umetum hostu a lid gehert.

Zing undz vint fun di berg shver tsu greykhn
un bahaltene soydes fun yam.
fun foyglen in di heykhn
fun bloyen rum dem bleykhn
fun mutikayt vos veyst keyn tsam.

Ver gevoynt s’iz in kamf zikh tsu shteln
Zol mit undz itser zingen on shrek.
Biz freylekh vestu kveln,
un vilstu vestu poylen
un zukhstu nor, gefinst dayn veg.

A lid a freylekhs zing undz oys
du vint, du shtifer,
du vint du shtifer
du vint du shtifer.

Host oysgenishtert hoykhe berg
in yamen tife,
un umetum hostu a lid gehert.

Zing a lid vos in dem zol klingen
ale lider fun friling geshpreyt.
Az lipn zoln zingen,
dos harts fun glik zol shpringen,
zikh hoybn zoln fis far freyd.

Ver gevoynt s’iz in kamf zikh tsu shteln
zol mit undz itser zingen on shrek.
Biz freylekh vestu kveln,
un vilstu vestu poylen
un zukhstu nor, gefinst dayn veg.

TRANSLATION (by Leo Summergrad)

You Wind You Prankster

Sing us a happy song,
You wind you prankster.
You have explored high mountains and deep seas,
And everywhere you heard a song.

Sing us, wind, of the peaks hard to scale,
Of hidden secrets of the sea,
Of birds on high, of blueness in the heavens,
Of a spirit that has no bounds.

Refrain:

Whoever is accustomed to go into battle,
Should sing with us, without fear.
If you are happy, you will be joyful,
And if you desire, you’ll succeed.
And if you seek, you will find your way.

Sing us a happy song,
You wind, you prankster.
You have explored high mountains and deep seas,
And everywhere you heard a song.

Sing a song in which should ring out
All the songs of Spring, combined.
That lips should sing,
And the heart jump with happiness,
And feet shall rise with joy.

Refrain

duvint1.JPGduvint2duvint3duvint4

“Khanele mayn lebn” Performed by Norman Salsitz

Posted in Yiddish Song of the Week with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 28, 2016 by yiddishsong

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

This  week’s song was contributed by Bret Werb, Music Collection Curator at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Wurb interviewed and recorded Norman Salsitz singing in New Jersey in 2002 Khanele mayn lebn. The recording is provided courtesy of the USHMM Archives and used with permission.

As Mr. Salsitz explains in the introduction in English, the well-know songwriter Nokhem Shternheim, who was from the Polish Galician town of  Rzeszow ( Rayshe in Yiddish) often visited and stayed with them in Kolbuszowa (Kolbushov in Yiddish). Mr. Salsitz believed that Sternheim composed this song for Salsitz’s sister, but it turns out to be a Mordkhe Gebirtig song “Khanele un Nokheml” that has been recorded by Chava Alberstein and Mike Burstein. Thanks to singer/collector Leo Summergrad who follows this blog for pointing out the correct composer.

220px-Gebirtig
Mordkhe Gebertig

For more information on Shternheim – 1879    – 1942 – and a collection of his songs see “Hobn Mir a Nigundl: We have a little tune: The Songs of the Yiddish Troubadour Nokhem Shternheim” edited by Gila Flam and Dov Noy, Jerusalem 2000. In any case it is interesting that Sternheim, apparently, sang songs by Gebirtig.  There are added lines in Salsitz’s version that refer to her mother and father that do not appear in the printed Gebirtig version. Did Sternheim compose those?

SternheimNokhem Shternheim

The part B of the melody is the same as the part B of the song “Moyd fun Gas” (Girl of the Streets)    written by Shloyme Prizament and can be found in his collection Broder zinger, Buenos-Aires, 1960.    Arkady Gendler and “The gonifs” (singer Jeanette Lewicky) both recorded a version of “Moyd fun gas”.

The English transcription and translation of the song follows the singer’s version and dialect. We are attaching Gebirtig’s words in Yiddish and music as they appear in the book “Mordkhe Gebirtig zingt”, IKUF, 1963

Khanele mayn lebn

Sung by Norman Salsitz, recorded in New Jersey, 2002, by Bret Werb.

Khanele mayn leybn, Khanele di man,
Ikh vil di zolst mir geybn
Dus reytsl tsu farshteyn (faryshtayn)

Ven di kimst af mayne zinen,
Meygn royshn di mashinen,
Un dus biglayzn vern kalt.

Hob ikh azoy lib in gern,
Shuen lang fin dir tsu klern.
Un tsu zen far mir dayn tayer lib geshtalt.

Numkheml mayn leybn,
Nukheml di mayn.
Ikh vil dir bald geybn dus reytsl tsu farshteyn.

Dos bavayst di host mikh gern.
Dokh _____[?} tsu klern.
Es vet kayn toyve zayn far mir.

Vayter nemen kh’vel dayne zinin.
Vest koym af broyt fardinen.
Un ikh vel hingern bay dir.

Khanele mayn leybn, khanele du mayn.
Vos iz dos far an entfer?
Ikh ken dikh nisht farshteyn.

Ikh red fun libe. In mitn drinen
kimste veygn broyt fardinen
Hot a libe shaykhes den mit broyt?

Ikh vays ven me libt a khusn
miz men af a mol zan entshlosn
tsi di greste oremkayt un noyt.

Nukheml, mayn leybn, Nukheml di mayn.
Aza hayse libe
ken ikh nisht farshteyn.

Ikh hob gehert fin mayn mamen ,
Mit di greste libeflamen
Hot der tate zi amol gelibt.

Dokh ven zay hobn noyt gelitn.
hobn zey zikh arimgeshlitn,
Tsi iz den aza libe nisht batribt?

Khanele mayn leybn, Khanele di mayn.
Vuz iz dus far an entfer?
Ikh ken dikh nisht farshteyn.

Tsi hosti libe shlekht farshtanen.
Dus hot kayn shaykhes mit dayn mamen.
Nor di host moyre far dem noyt.

Vil ikh koyfn tsvey mashinen,
Di vest helfn af broyt fardinen
Un farzikhert vet zan indzer broyt.

Nukheml mayn leybn, nukheml di mayn
Di host dikh yetst bakimen,
Ikh ken dikh shoyn farshteyn.

Di vest dort nisht bay mir oysfirn,
Ikh vel zikh nisht bay dir unrirn.
Shoyn genig geplugt zikh in genay.

Ikh vil fastriges mer nisht tsien,
Yungerhayt zikh nisht farblien,
Ikh vil lebn uin genisn fray.

Khanele mayn lebn, khanele di mayn.
Di host nokh azelkhe taynes,
Vus vet nokh shpeyter zayn?

Gelt, nukh gelt ,vesti bagern.
Mir dus leybn tsi fartsern
ven fardin ikh vel nisht azoy fil.

Du a het [?], un du af klayder,
In bin ikh dokh nor a shnayder.
Ikh zey s’vet zan a troyerike shpil.

Nukheml mayn leybn, Nukheml di mayn.
Di bist geveyn mayn khusn,
mayn man vesti nisht zan.

Khanele my dear, my Khanele
I want you to
explain this riddle for me.

When you come into my head
the machines may whirl,
and the pressing iron can get cold.

I so love and am so glad
to think about you for hours
and to see before me your dear, lovely self.

Nokheml my dear, my Nokheml,
I will soon
explain this riddle to you.

This shows how you are fond of me,
yet ___ to think of me.
It will not be doing me any favors.

If I further take your purpose –
you will barely earn enough for bread
and I will go hungry with you.

Khanele my dear, my Khanele,
what kind of answer is that?
I cannot understand you.

I speak of love and out of nowhere
you speak of earning enough for bread.
What does love have to do with bread?

I know that when you love a fiance
You must once and for all commit yourself in spite of
the greatest poverty and hardship.

Nokheml my dear, my Nokheml
such passionate love
I cannot understand.

I heard tell from my mom:
with the greatest flames of love
did my father once love her.

Yet when they suffered hardship
they went from place to place [literally: sledded around]
Is not such a love a troubled one?

Khanele my dear, my Khanele
What kind of answer is this?
I don’t understand you.

Perhaps you have misunderstood love?
This has no connection to your mother.
But you are fearful of such poverty.

So I want to buy two [sewing] machines
so you will help earn our bread,
and thus ensured will be our income.

Nokheml my dear, my Nokheml.
You have made yourself clear.
I now understand you.

You won’t get me to do what you want,
and I won’t be touched by you
I’ve suffered enough by sewing.

I won’t sew any more basting stitches
and wilt away in my youth.
I want to live and enjoy freely.

Khanele my love, my Khanele.
You have such complaints,
what will be later?

Money, and more money is what you crave,
and you’ll devour me
when I don’t earn so much.

Here for a hat [?] and here for clothes,
but I am only just a tailor.
I see this will be a sad game.

Nokheml my dear, my Nokheml
I was indeed engaged to you
but you will not be my husband.

KhaneleYID2

KhaneleYID1

“Der zeyde mit der babe” Performed by Beyle Schaechter Gottesman

Posted in Yiddish Song of the Week with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 8, 2015 by yiddishsong

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

My mother Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman (BSG) could not remember from whom she learned this song, but it she learned it in Chernovitz in the 1930s. I had assumed it was either the creation of the humorist Shamshon  (Shamshele) Fersht or from the Chernovitz amateur Yiddish theater group Kamelyon directed by Simkhe Schwartz, but I can not yet find it listed anywhere. BSG also sang Fersht’s version/parody of Gebirtig’s Kinder yorn, and that can be found in Emil Seculetz’s collection Yidishe folkslider. She learned a number of Kamelyon‘s musical numbers which will be added to this blog at some point. The theatricality of this song leads me to suspect that it might have been created and performed by Kamelyon.

3Beyle and Cousin Sime

Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman (standing) with her cousin Sima. Chernovitz 1930s.

I have posted this song, which I recorded from her in the Bronx around 2009, on the occasion of BSG’s second yortsayt, the second day of khanike. In BSG’s dialect, the word for grandmother is  pronounced “babe” not “bobe”.

Der zeyde mit der babe is sort of an irreverent parody of Mark Warshavsky’s Akhtsik er un zibetsik zi but without the refrain. (Listen to BSG’s live version of Warshavsky’s song on her CD of songs she learned in Chernovitz – Bay mayn mames shtibele).

Der zeyde mit der babe, a leybn af zey.
A brukhe af zeyere keplekh.
Der zeyde khlepshtet fun der flash.
Di mame [babe] fun di teplekh.

Leberlekh un pipkelekh, vi oykh pitse.
Alding iz a maykhl.
Der zeyde glet di vontsyelekh.
Di babe glet dos baykhl.

Eydele, oy Eydele, tayere moyd,
zug zhe nor dem zeydn –
Veymen hosti tokhtershe
libersht fin indz beydn?

Indzer tayere skheyne Brane hot a kats
hot zi ketselekh kleyne.
Dus vayse ketsele mir geshenkt,
hob ikh lib di skheyne.

In oykh di Surtse, Sortse kroyn,
dem zeydns tayere meydn;
Veymen vilsti geybn a kish –
der baben tsi deym zeydn?

Mit Yankl didl-dudl un mit Yoselen
shpiln mir tate-mame beyde.
Iz Eydele di mame, di babe bin ikh,
kish ikh Yoselen dem zeydn.

Aza khtsife, aza shkuts –
dus vet men dertseyln der mamen.
A zeydn mit a baben hot men lib –
nisht di ketselekh fin Branen.

Aza hultayke, loz, shoyn loz.
dus vet men dertseyln dem tatn.
A zeydn un a baben git men a kish.
Nisht a Yosele piskatn.

Zeydishe un babeshi dertseylt, dertseylt.
Der mamen in dem tatn.
Zey meygn indz (un)shlugn* vi a pok.
S’vet indz gurnisht shatn.

Grandpa and grandma, may they be well,
a blessing on their heads.
Grandpa guzzles from the bottle,
Grandma [eats] from the pots.

Livers and gizzards, and calves foot jelly,
Everything is a dish.
Grandpa strokes his mustache,
Grandma rubs her belly.

Eydele, oy Eydele our dear girl,
tell your grandpa –
whom do you, daughter,
prefer of us two?

Our dear neighbor has a cat
and she has small kittens.
The white kitten was given to me as a gift,
so I like our neighbor.

And also you Surtse, dear Surtse
Grandpa’s beloved girl.
Whom do you want to kiss
Grandma or grandpa?

With Yankl Didl-Dudl and with Yosele;
We both play “father and mother”.
Eydele plays the mother, and I the grandma –
So I kiss Yosele the grandpa.

Such an impudent girl, such a prankster –
We will tell you mother.
You should love your grandpa and grandma
not the kittens of Brane.

Such a libertine, just wait and see;
we will tell your father.
You should give grandpa and grandma a kiss.
Not that mouthy Yosele.

Go ahead and tell, grandpa and grandma
our mother and father.
Even if they beat us like a drum.
It won’t bother us a bit.

*After singing the song, the singer commented that “unshlugn” would be better than “shlugn”.

zeydebobeYIDrevised-1zeydebobeYIDrevised-2

“Sonyetshka” A Humorous Russian-Yiddish Song Performed by Feigl Yudin

Posted in Yiddish Song of the Week with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2015 by yiddishsong

This is the third and, for the time being, the final song performed by Feigl Yudin at the 1978 Balkan Arts Center (now Center for Traditional Music and Dance) concert at Webster Hall that we will place on the Yiddish Song of the Week blog.

A Russian-Yiddish song that derives its humor from the exaggerated mixture of the two languages. It thereby pokes fun at the Russification of the Jews at the time. The line about only knowing “loshn-koydesh” (the “sacred tongue”, referring to rabbinical Hebrew-Aramaic) is an additional absurdity.

A similar song that mixes Russian and Yiddish to humorous effect is “A gut-morgn Feyge-Sose [or Soshe]” found in the Ruth Rubin collection, in the Mark Slobin/Moshe Bereovski collection Old Jewish Folk Music and elsewhere.

Thanks to Paula Teitelbaum, Yelena Shmulenson and Jason Roberts for the transcription of the Russian and the translation.

Sonyetshka na balkonie stayala, stayala
Dos kleyne shtibl shmirn.
Vdrug prikhodit milenki
Zavyot myenya shpatsirn.

Ya shpatsirn nye paydu; Bo mama budyet shrayen
A papa budyet shlogn..
A yesli ya shpatsirn poydu,
Vos-zhe latytn zogn?

 Kak ty bez sovyestnaya Sonya!
Nyeuzheli ty baishsya za laytn?
Vykhadi ty Sonyetshka,
 My budyem fin der vaytn.

Na ulitse idyot a regn, a regn.
A regn’t nas bagisn.
Vykhadi ty Sonyetshka,
Mir’n a por verter shmisn.

Ya po yevreyski nye gavaryu,
Tol’ko loshn koydesh
Idi, idi, moy milyenki
Tol’ko na adin khoydesh.

Sonye on the balcony, stood, stood
And wipes [or paints] the small house/room.
All of a sudden, my beloved enters.
He invites me to take a walk.

I’ll not go walking, because mother will yell.
And father will beat me.
And if I go walking
What will people say?

How shameless you are Sonye.
Are you afraid of people?
Come out Sonyetchke
We will see each other from a distance.

On the street it rains and rains
A rain makes everything wet.
Come out Sonyetchke;
We’ll exchange a few words.

I don’t speak Jewish
Only loshn-koydesh.*
Go, go my beloved
But only for one month.

“Vi sheyn s’iz itstert di pagode” Performed by Feigl Yudin

Posted in Yiddish Song of the Week with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 22, 2015 by yiddishsong

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman.

This week we feature another track of Feigl Yudin recorded in a 1978 concert presented by the Balkan Arts Center (now Center for Traditional Music and Dance, Ethel Raim provides the introduction). Vi sheyn s’iz itstert di pagode (How beautiful is now the weather) is another lyric love song by Feigl Yudin, this time in the voice of the man. I have yet to find other variants.

Today the term “cavalier” sounds old-fashioned, but it is often found in Yiddish folksong to denote suitor, gentleman, boyfriend. The admission that he cannot write is a rare one in Yiddish song, since most males had at least a rudimentary Jewish education and could read and write.

Feigl sings “Der ponim” instead of the standard “Dos ponim”, which reflects her Grodno dialect.

Vi sheyn s’iz itstert di pagode,
Es tsit mayn harts mit libe tsu dir.
Du kum tsu mir mayn Khaye- Soshe [Shoshe]
Vayl ikh bin der shenster kavalir.

Khaye-Shoshe, di zogst ikh hob a feler.
Hob ikh oykh a sredstve tsu dem.
Ikh vel zikh koyfn a brivn-shteler,
Un vel zikh oyslernen shraybn fun dem.

Oy dayne oygn vi tsvey brilyantn
vi di shtern shaynen zey.
Volt shtendik veln in zey kukn
un shtendik shpiglen zikh in zey.

Oy dayn heldzl vi alabaster
un dayne lokn iz tayerer fun gelt.
un dayne tseyndlekh vi vayse perl
un dayn ponim’z der shenster af der velt.

How beautiful is now the weather.
With love my heart is drawn to you.
Come to me my Khaye-Soshe [Shoshe]
Because I am the most handsome cavalier.

Khaye-Soshe, you say I have a fault.
So I have a remedy for that.
I will buy a handbook of sample letters,
and will learn to write from it.

O, your eyes like two jewels,
like the stars they shine.
I would like to always look into them
and always look at my reflection.

O, your neck is like alabaster
and your locks are more dear than money,
and your teeth like white pearls
and your face is the most beautiful in the world.

pagode

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