“Fun vanen nemen zikh di libes?” Performed by Lifshe Schaechter-Widman

Fun vanen nemen zikh di libes? / How do romances begin?
Sung by Lifshe Schaechter-Widman, recorded by Leybl Kahn 1954, The Bronx, New York City

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

Though once fairly well-known and found in field recordings and several printed collections, I do not believe this lyric love song was ever recorded commercially other than on the CD Bay mayn mames shtibele, sung by Lifshe Schaechter-Widman’s (LSW’s) daughter Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman. Here we present a version by LSW herself.

Lifshe1972Lifshe Schaechter-Widman, 1972

In the I. L. Cahan collection (1957) there are three versions of the song (#26, 27, 28) from the Kiev region, the Vilna region and Podolia region; so the song has been “traveling” over a wide area for a while. One of the verses in those versions (#27)  continues the counting of excuses:

Dem dritn terets zolstu zogn,
du host dikh gelernt shvimen.
Dem fertn terets zolstu zogn,
az du host dayn tsayt bakumen [bakimen]

The third excuse you should give
is that you were learning how to swim.
The fourth excuse you should give
is that you are having your period.

Thus making this the only Yiddish song I have found so far that mentions menstruation.

YIDDISH TRANSLITERATION & TRANSLATION

Fun vanet nemen zikh di libes
fin deym shpeytn in fin dem lakhn.
Indzer libe hot zikh geshlosn,
in eyne, tsvey of der nakhtn.

How do romances begin?
From mocking and from laughing.
Our love was sealed –
during one, two evenings.

Tsvelef shlugt zikh shoyn der zeyger.
Fir mekh up aheym.
Vus far a terets vel ikh zugn
Bay mayn mamen in der heym?

The clock has already rung twelve.
Take me home.
What excuse will I say
at my mother’s at home?

Dem ershtn teyrets zo’sti zugn,
az di host geneyet shpeyt.
Dem tsveytn teyrets vesti zugn –
az di host geblondzet dem veyg.

The first excuse you should give
is that you sewed late.
The second excuse you should give
is that you got lost on the way.

Vus toyg mir dayne teyritsem.
Fir mekh up ahem.
Di mame vet dus tirele farshlisn,
in droysn vel ikh blaybn shteyn.

What do I need your excuses for?
Take me home.
Mother will lock the door
and I will be stuck outside.
FunVanetYIDSnip

2 Responses to ““Fun vanen nemen zikh di libes?” Performed by Lifshe Schaechter-Widman”

  1. Hershl Hartman Says:

    Sorry, Itsik, I must disagree. A version (one of I.L. Cahan’s?) with a related (?) melody was commercially recorded by the Bluestein Family Singers on an eponymous CD album, “Where Does Love Come From — פֿון וואַנען הייבט זיך אָן אַ ליבע” 1996, Greenhays Recordings. https://www.allmusic.com/album/where-does-love-come-from-mw0000611647

    Prof. Eugene Bluestein, friend of my youth and head of the family of musicians, writes on the CD jacket: “This Eastern European love song has special connections for our family. When my wife [Eleanor, Ellie — hh] and I were courting at Camp Kinderland, this was ‘our song.’ Often when we thought we were alone, our friends [me included — hh] used to pop out of the bushes and sing it for us in four-part harmony. We slipped it into the ceremony at Frayda’s wedding.”

    I’m attaching a partial scan of the interior notes containing Gene’s transliteration and translation of the lyrics.

    Hershl Hartman

    On Tue, Nov 19, 2019 at 9:57 AM Yiddish Song of the Week wrote:

    > yiddishsong posted: “Fun vanen nemen zikh di libes? / How do romances > begin? Sung by Lifshe Schaechter-Widman, recorded by Leybl Kahn 1954, The > Bronx, New York City  Commentary by Itzik Gottesman Though once fairly > well-known and found in field recordings and several prin” >

  2. Yitskhok Gottesman Says:

    a dank Hershl!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: