“Geven amol a kleyne vantse” Performed by Gerald and Jocelyn Cooper

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 10, 2019 by yiddishsong

Geven amol a kleyne vantse / There once was a small bedbug
Gerald Cooper and Jocelyn Cooper
Recorded by Itzik Gottesman, Greene Family Camp, Waco Texas  1993

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

The Coopers learned this playful song while attending the Habonim summer camp near Montreal (probably Camp Kissufim) in the late 1940s or early 1950s. The song fits into a common children’s song genre of more and more letters or syllables disappearing with each verse until there is silence. The  camp song “BINGO” comes to mind as an American example. Gerald Cooper said the song would typically be sung around a bonfire.
images

The Yiddish word for bedbug is “vants” (too bad Alan Alda’s Hawkeye didn’t know this in the M*A*S*H episode “38 Across” – tune in at 7:33) not “vantse/vantze” which is German. But by playfully adding a syllable to the words “vants” and “tants” to form “vantse” and “tantse”, the song has added a verse.

I have only translated the first verse since it is clear what is going on.

Thanks to Simcha Raphael, Evelyn Tauben for helping with this week’s post.

TRANSLITERATION

Geven a mol a kleyne vantse.
Hot zi zeyer lib gehat tsu tantse.
Kuk zikh tsu, kuk zikh ayn
vi di vantze tantze;
kuk zikh tsu, kuk zikh ayn
vi di vantse tantze.

Geven a mol a kleyne vants
hot zi zeyer lib gehat tsu tants.
Kuk zikh tsu, kuk zikh ayn
vi di vants tants, tants
Kuk zikh tsu, kuk zikh ayn
vi di vants tants, tants.

Geven a mol a kleyne van
hot zi zeyer lib gehat tsu tan
kuk zikh tsu, kuk zikh ayn
vi di van tan tan
kuk zikh tsu, kuk zikh ayn
vi di van tan tan

Geven a mol a kleyne va
hot zi zeyer lib gehat tsu ta
kuk zikh tsu, kuk zikh ayn
vi di va ta ta
kuk zikh tsu, kuk zikh ayn
vi di va ta ta.

Geven a mol a kleyne “v”
hot zi zeyer lib gehat “t”
kuk zikh tsu, kuk zikh ayn
vi di v – t – t
kuk zikh tsu, kuk zikh ayn
vi di v- t- t

Geven a mol a kleyne (silence)
hot zi zeyer lib gehat tsu (silence)
kuk zikh tsu, kuk zikh ayn
vi di (silence)
kuk zikh tsu, kuk zikh ayn
vi di (silence)

TRANSLATION

There once was a small bedbug-O
That loved very much to dance-O.
Look, look
how the bedbug-O dances-O.
Look, look
how the bedbug-O dances-O.
vantse clip

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“Eyn por shikh hobn mir” Performed by Brayndl Rose 

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2019 by yiddishsong

Eyn por shikh hobn mir / We have one pair of shoes
Yiddish camp song sung by Brayndl Rose, recorded by Itzik Gottesman at the Greene Family Camp, Waco Texas, 1993.

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

The singer Brayndl Rose was born in Brest (Yiddish-Brisk) Poland (today Belarus) and came here at the age of ten. Though she said she had learned the song from the Yiddish theater, I was not surprised to see a recording of this song in the music archives of the National Library of Israel, where it was described as a camp song from a Yiddish cultural camp in the US. The singer in that recording was Fradie Pomerantz Friedenreich who wrote the book: Passionate Pioneers: The Story of Secular Yiddish Education in America 1910 – 1960 (2010). She included a CD of Yiddish camp and school songs with the publication.

I would also not be surprised if there were an english language camp song that provided the source, given the American sounding melody and that “Archie” is an American name. At the end of the song, Brayndl Rose says that the song continues using a different piece of clothing in each verse.

TRANSLITERATION

Eyn por shikh hobn mir.
Eyn por shikh un nit mer.
Geyen mir in der letster mode
un tsuzamen keyn mol nit.

REFRAIN

Ven Artshe darf geyn
blayb ikh in shtub aleyn
Ven Artshe darf geyn
blayb ikh in shtub aleyn

Nu, mir lebn zalbenand
in gliklekhn farband.
Sholem-veshalve
veharmonye ikh un er.

Eyn por hoyzn hobn mir,
eyn por hoyzn un nit mer.
Geyen mir in der letster mode
un tsuzamen keyn mol nit.

Ven Artshe darf geyn
blayb ikh in shtub aleyn
Ven Artshe darf geyn
blayb ikh in shtub aleyn.

Nu, mir lebn zalbenand
in gliklekhn farband.
Sholem-veshalve veharmonye
ikh un er.

Eyn rekl hobn mir….
Eyn hut hobn mir…

TRANSLATION

One pair of shoes we have
one pair of shoes and no more.
So we go out in the latest fashion
but never together. 

When Archie must leave
I stay at home alone.
When Archie must leave,
I stay at home alone.

So we live two together
in a happy union.
Peace and quiet and in harmony
he and I. 

One pair of pants we have
one pair of pants and no more.
So we go out in the latest fashion
but never together. 

When Archie must leave
I stay at home alone.
When Archie must leave,
I stay at home alone.

So we live two together
in a happy union.
Peace and quiet and in harmony
he and I. 

One jacket we have…
One hat we have….

brayndl

“S’vet nit eybik fintster zayn” Performed by David Fishman

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2019 by yiddishsong

S’vet nit eybik fintster zayn / It will not be dark forever
A song in Yiddish, Hebrew and Hungarian.
Sung by Professor David Fishman, recorded by Itzik Gottesman,
June  7th, 2019, NYC

*There are two parts to this song– please watch the video, then listen to the audio that follows for the song’s conclusion:

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman.

This one-verse song in three languages was learned by Dr Fishman on a visit to Budapest in 1972.

David Fishman is professor of  history at the Jewish Theological Seminary, NYC. His recent work The Book Smugglers won the 2018 National Jewish Book Award in the “Holocaust” category. He was born in the Bronx.

Fishman introduces the song by saying in Yiddish “A very simple song, but very sad”. The Polish/Hungarian Yiddish/Hebrew dialect is reflected in a few words such as: “lekhtik” instead of “likhtik”, “bimhayru” instead of “bimheyro”.

After the initial recording on video, Fishman later realized he had forgotten the ending of the song and sent the Yiddish concluding lines as an audio file.

“S’vet nit” was discussed in Yiddish on a Hasidic on-line forum in 2010. There the song is attributed to the Kaliver/Kalover/Kalever Rebbe, and it is also mentioned there that the Tosh Hasidic community still sings it at Purim. Tosh and Kaliv are both Hasidic dynasties with Hungarian roots. Here is a link to that on-line Yiddish discussion.

kalov shul
The Kalover Shul in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (Google Street View)

The version mentioned there by “Khaykl” differs slightly and does not include the concluding lines about Jerusalem that Dr. Fishman added as an audio. “Khaykl” suggests that the composer of the song was the Kaliver rebbe (Yitskhok Isaac Taub 1751 – 1821) who was known for his compositions.

Thanks this week to David Fishman, Bob Cohen, Arun Viswanath and Bret Werb. 

Transliteration of Yiddish on video:
S’vet nit, s’vet nit, s’vet nit
eybik fintster zayn. (2x)
S’vet nit eybik fintster zayn
S’vet amol nokh lekhtik zayn.
S’vet nit, s’vet nit, s’vet nit
eybik fintster zayn.

Translation of Yiddish on video:
It will not be dark forever.
One day it will be light.
It will not be dark forever.

Transliteration of Hebrew:
Yiye loy, yiye loy, yiye loy
leoylem afaylu
Loy yiye, loy yiye, loy yiye leoylem afaylu,
Loy yiye leoylem afaylu
Yiye or bimhayru
Yiye or, yiye or bimhayru

Translation of Hebrew:
It will not be dark forever.
Very soon it will be light.
Very soon it will be light.

Transliteration of Hungarian:
Nem lesz, nem lesz, nem lesz mindig éjszaka
Ha nem lesz mindig éjszaka
majd megvirrad valaha.

Translation of Hungarian:
It won’t always be night.
It will soon be dawn.

Audio conclusion to song (Yiddish):
Ale yidelekh in aynem
trinkt zhe a lekhayim.
Leshone habu beyerushelayim!

Translation of conclusion:
All the Jews together
let’s drink a toast –
Next year in Jerusalem!
fishman1

“Vus hosti dekh azoy ayngelibt in mir?” Performed by Lifshe Schaechter-Widman

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 17, 2019 by yiddishsong

Vus hosti dekh azoy ayngelibt in mir? / Why did you fall so in love with me?
A lyric love song sung by Lifshe Schaechter-Widman.
Recorded by Leybl Kahn, 1954 NYC

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

Yet another lyric love song, a dialogue between boy and girl, from Lifshe Schaechter-Widman [LSW], recorded by Leybl Kahn. She most probably learned this in her home town in the Bukovina, Zvinyetshke. The song implies that the “Christian Hospital” is the worst place for a person to be.

kahnlswnotes

 A page from Leybl Kahn’s notes on LSW’s songs, 1954-55.

The typical four-line stanza in Yiddish lyric song usually has an ABCB rhyming scheme. In this song, the singer rhymes “gezeyn” with “fayn” in the 2nd and 4th line, in the first stanza. Rhyming the “ey” and the “ay” sounds seems to be acceptable to the Yiddish folksinger and LSW is not the only one to do this.

TRANSLITERATION

LSW spoken: A libeslid.

Vus hosti dekh azoy ayngelibt in mir?
Vus hosti af mir azoy derzeyn?
Kenst dekh nemen a sheyn meydele mit nadn
in leybn mit ir gur fayn.

Sheynkeyt hob ikh shoyn gezeyn.
in raykhkeyt makht bay mir nit oys.
Az ikh gib mit dir a red a pur klige verter,
tsisti bay mir mayne [di] koykhes aroys.

Shpatsirn ze’ mir gegangen,
der veyg iz geveyn far indz tsi shmul.
A shvartsn sof zol dayn mame hubn,
zi zol lign in kristlekhn shpitul.

Shpatsirn ze’mir beyde gegangen,
der veyg iz geveyn far indz tsi breyt.
A shvartsn sof zol dayn mame hubn,
vayl zi hot indz beyde tsesheydt.

TRANSLATION

LSW spoken: a love song.

Why did you fall so in love with me?
What did you see in me?
You could have taken a pretty girl with a dowry,
and lived with her just fine.

Beauty, I have already seen,
and wealth doesn’t matter to me.
When I speak just a few smart words with you,
you pull out all of my power.

We went a walking,
the road was too narrow for us.
A black end may your mother have,
I hope she lay in the Christian hospital.

We went a walking,
the road was to wide for us.
A black end may your mother have,
for she split us up.
vos. hosti 1vos hosti 2

“A Badekns/Veiling the Bride” Performed by M.M. Shaffir

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 7, 2019 by yiddishsong

A badekns/Veiling the Bride
Sung and composed by M.M. Shaffir, recorded in the Bronx, 1974

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

In his Yiddish poetry collections, the Montreal poet M. M. Shaffir occasionally included folksongs, rhymes and jokes that he remembered from his home town in Romania, Suceava (“Shots” in Yiddish). This original badekns, words and music, was printed in his collection of Yiddish poetry Ikh kum aheym, and follows very closely the traditional badekns that the badkhn (wedding entertainer) would deliver at the veiling of the bride. The printed pages with the Yiddish words and music are attached as pdfs.

ShafirBildM.M. Shaffir, photo by Itzik Gottesman

Shaffir did not clearly indicate that the music is his composition and not a traditional tune remembered from Suceava, but since he did compose other melodies for his poetry, I am leaning toward crediting him as composer the music as original.

Shaffir’s badekns, as is typical of the genre, addresses mainly the bride, then al the women, telling her of her wonderful future and how a pious religious Jewish life will assure her a place in heaven.

Listening to Shaffir sing this song in the Bronx are Beyle and Jonas Gottesman, the Yiddish writer Vera Hacken and her husband, the composer Emanuel Hacken.

Because the song is longer than usual, we are alternating transliteration with translation.

TRANSLITERATION/TRANSLATION

Kalenyu, tsat tsi der khipe geyn –
bam khusn hosti deym zibetn kheyn.
Gefin azoy kheyn oykh ba Got un ba lat.
Az dan shem zol zikh trugn noent un vat.

Dear bride, time to go to the khupe.
The groom is enamored of you.
May God and all people see this charm,
so your reputation, will be heard near and far.

A shem-tov iz beser fun gutn eyl,
vi s’vert in di heylike sfurim dertseylt.
Far vur, er iz shener fin alerley tsir,
un er hit fin shlekhts deym erlekhns tir.

A good name is better than good oil,
as it is written in the holy books.
Indeed, it is more beautiful than all kinds of ornaments.
and protects from evil the honest one’s door

Nushim tsidkuniyes, beydns tsad –
aykh kimt hant der ershter vivat.
kalenyu, kik tsa di babes aher –
zey, vi zey shmeykhlen un lozn a trer.

Pious women on both sides –
you deserve the first praise.
Bride, look over to the grandmothers –
see how they smile and drop a tear.

Shtel zikh, kale, ba zey in rey,
un her mayne shloyshe dvurim tsvey –
az dort, vi mitsves hobn an ort,
iz shulem-bayes oykh do dort.

Bride, stand with them in row,
and hear my few words –
– there where mitsves find a place,
there is also peace at home.

Mitsves brengen di brukhe in hoyz,
in trabn fin dort deym dales aroys.
Zey bentshn mit gite doyres dus pur
in mit khayim- arikhim, gezinte yur.

Mitsves (good deeds/fulfillment of God’s commandments) bring blessings to the home,
and drive out poverty from there.
They bless the pair with good generations
and with a long and healthy life.

Fin mitsves hot men i du deym skhar,
un i s’iz af yener velt git derfar.
Vayl mitsves un maynsim toyvim nor
nemt mit der mentsh iber hindert yur.

From mitsves you receive both here a reward,
and in the word to come it will be good.
Because mitsves and good deeds
lasts for someone a hundred years.

Fin intern kisey-hakuved afir,
fin hinter a zilberner lekhtiker tir,
kimt di neshume arup of der erd,
aran inem gif, val azoy iz bashert.

From under God’s throne,
from behind a silver, illuminated door,
comes the soul down to earth,
and into the body for which he is destined.

Zi darf zikh du mitshen a lebn vist
un nisht vern farzindikt, nisht vern farrist,
un kimen tsirik far Got tsi geyn –
azoy vi geboyrn, tsikhtik un reyn.

It [the soul] must suffer here a life long
and not sin, not be torn away.
and return to God
the way it was born – pure and clean.

In gan-eydn shteyen shtiln gegreyt
in shan fin der shkhine, mit vasn geshpreyt,
batsirt un bahungen mit gildene tsikh –
in rifn di reyne neshumes tse zikh.

In paradise two chairs are prepared,
in the light of the shekhine, covered with white,
decorated and hung with a golden cover.
and call for the pure souls to come.

Un der vus hot af der zindiker erd
mitsves getin un gits geklert –
der zitst in gan-eydn oybn un
in bigdey-sheynkeyt ungetun.

And he who on this sinful earth
did mitsves and good deeds,
he sits in heaven at the head of the table,
and dressed in beautiful clothes.

In zkhis fin dan tsitkis, kalenyu kroyn,
zol zikh ekn der gulus bald un shoyn –
me zol zoykhe zan take gor in gikh
tsu hern dem shoyfer shel moshiakh.

Because of your piousness, dear bride,
may the exile soon end.
May we deserve right away
to hear the Messiah’s shofar.

Melukhim un surim zoln varfn fin shrek
tsin indzere tsures zol nemen an ek.
in Got zol mit zan rekhter hant
indz firn tsirik in heylikn land.

Let angels and seraphim shutter from fear,
our troubles should come to an end.
and God should with his right hand,
lead us back to the Holy Land.

Ikh heyb of mit a tfile dem bekher mit van
az halevay zol es nokh beyomeyni zan.
in ir, khusn-kale, in ir groys un kleyn –
zugt mir nokh af a kol un in eynem: “omeyn”

With a prayer I raise the goblet of wine,
that this should happen even in our own time.
And you, bride and groom, and you big and small,
say with me out aloud and together – “amen”
badekns music

badekns yid 1badekns yid 2

“Oy sheyn bin ikh a mol gevezn” Performed by Leah (Lillian) Kolko

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2019 by yiddishsong

Oy sheyn bin ikh a mol gevezn / O, I Was Once Beautiful
Sung by Leah (Lillian) Kolko, recorded in Camp Boiberik, Rhinebeck, NY by Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman, 1974

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

Leah Kolko remembers learning this song when active in the youth branch of the Poale-Zion organization in Paterson, New Jersey in the the early 1920s. The recording here was made at Camp Boiberik in 1974 by Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman.

Screen Shot 2019-05-28 at 10.10.45 AM

Image by Tsirl Waletzky

The rhyme “trovern” [instead of troyern] and “movern” [instead of moyern] indicates the song has its origin in the Ukraine. but dialectically speaking, the song is inconsistent.

TRANSLITERATION

Oy sheyn bin ikh a mol gevezn.
[Oy] vi der morgn shtern hob ikh geshaynt.
oy, zint ikh hob zikh mit dir bakont,
oy, fun tog tsu tog ver ikh mer krank. 

Ikh hob gemeynt az af dayne reyd
[Oy] ken men shteln movern [moyern]
Tsum sof hostu mir mayn kop fardreyt,
az ikh hob tsu veynen un tsu trovern. 

Shpatsirn zaynen mir gegangen
ale shabes oyfn bulevar.
Oy, dayne reyd hob ikh gegloybt.
Oy, bin ikh geven a groyser nar.

Du vest zikh nokh a mol on mir dermonen,
vayl keyner hot dir nit azoy lib.
Oy, du vest forn un vest mikh zukhn,
nor ikh vel zayn shoyn fun lang in grib.

TRANSLATION

O, I was once beautiful.
O, like the morning star did I shine.
O, since I got to know you,
O, with each passing day I feel more ill. 

I thought that upon your words
I could build stone walls.
In the end you turned my head around
so that I cry and mourn. 

We used to take a walk
every Sabbath along the boulevard.
O, I believed in your words.
O, what a fool I was. 

Someday you will remember me
for no one loved you as much as I.
You will travel all over and will search me
but I will have long been in the grave.
Screen Shot 2019-05-28 at 10.08.04 AM

“Ikh zits mir bay der arbet” Performed by Leah (Lillian) Kolko

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2019 by yiddishsong

“Ikh zits mir bay der arbet” / I Sit at My Work
Sung by Leah (Lillian) Kolko. Recorded at Camp Boiberik by Beyle Gottesman.

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman.

Leah (Lillian) Kolko was from Slonim, Belarus. Her maiden name was Zadikow. She was the wife of Fishl (Philip) Kolko who was for many years the Jewish culture teacher at Camp Boiberik, near Rhinebeck, NY. According to biographies of their son, the historian Gabriel Kolko, Leah was a teacher.

Screen Shot 2019-05-20 at 3.13.41 PMLeah Kolko at Camp Boiberik, 1975
(photo by Ed Kaufmann)

In this recording, summer 1974, Kolko says that all the songs she sang she had learned in America. She learned “Ikh zits mir bay der arbet un ikh arbet” from a friend in Detroit named Zemel. In the Ruth Rubin Archives at YIVO, the singer Harry Ary sings an almost identical version.

Thanks to Ed Kaufman for the photo.

TRANSLITERATION

Ikh zits mir bay der arbet un ikh arbet
un fun mayne tsores veyst dokh keyner nit.
Nor eyn padruge flegt mir shtendik zogn
Vos zhe geystu oys azoy vi a likht?

Kh’ob zikh ayngelibt in a yingele tsum shtarbn.
Di tshakhotke mame hot er mir gemakht.
Kh’ob zikh ayngelibt in a yingele tsum shtarbn.
Un tsum sof hot er zikh, mame, oysgelakht. 

TRANSLATION

I sit at my work and I work.
No one knows of my troubles.
But one girlfriend used to say to me:
“Why are you expiring like a candle?”

I have fallen in love with a boy, I would die for.
He has driven me wild. [Literally – he has given me consumption]
I have fallen in love with a boy, I would die for.
And it turns out he was making fun of me.

ikh zits mir