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“Erev yon-kiper noent tsu kol-nidre” Performed by Sore Kessler

October 9, 2016

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman. The singer of this week’s ballad, Erev yon-kiper noent tsu kol-nidre (The Eve of Yom-kippur, Right Before Kol-Nidre), is Sarah (Sore) Kessler. The recording is from the Ruth Rubin Collection at YIVO. Rubin recorded it in 1949. This song tells of a Jewish girl running away with a non-Jewish boy on the eve of Yom-kippur. […]

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

November 30, 2015

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 […]

“Bay a taykhele” Performed by Feigl Yudin

October 21, 2015

Commentary by Ethel Raim and Itzik Gottesman From Ethel Raim: Feigl Yudin moved to the United States at the age of 14 from Grodna (Grodno) Gubernia, now in Belarus. Her parents stayed behind in Europe, so upon arriving to New York City she was housed by landslayt (contacts from her hometown), who took care of her […]

“Az ikh heyb mikh on tsu dermanen” Performed by Lifshe Schaechter-Widman

November 14, 2014

Az ikh heyb mikh on tsu dermanen Performance by Lifshe Schaechter-Widman Recording by Leybl Kahn, NYC,  1954 Commentary by Itzik Gottesman We have drawn on three sources to look at Lifshe Schaechter-Widman’s singing of Az ikh heyb mikh on tsu dermanen, a Yiddish woman’s song if ever there was one. The wide geographic range of […]

“Kegn gold fun zun” Performed by Chaim Berman

October 15, 2014

Kegn gold fun zun (Toward the Golden Sunrise) Performance by Chaim Berman Recording by Rabbi Victor Reinstein Commentary by Itzik Gottesman The words and music for the Soviet-Yiddish song Kegn gold fun zun have been published in Ruth Rubin’s Treasury of Jewish Folksong and Chana and Joseph Mlotek’s Songs of Generations (see below). The words […]

“Dos daytshl” Performed by Lifshe Schaechter-Widman

January 7, 2013

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman The Yiddish Song of the Week is glad to be back after a brief hiatus caused by a hurricane-related telecommunications breakdown. “Dos Daytshl”  (“The German Guy”) as sung by Lifshe Schaechter-Widman [LSW] (see previous posts for her biography) is linguistically the most complicated song yet posted. The comic ballad is international and found […]

“Di gantse velt iz hevl-havolim” Performed by Lillian Manuel

July 6, 2012

  Commentary by David/Dovid Braun     Lillian (“Libby”) Manuel née Schwartz was born in or around 1910 in the town of Sukhovolye (Polish:  Suchowola), now northeastern Poland by the border with Belarus (a.k.a. White Russia), where she was originally known as Libe Shvarts or, among her townspeople, “Libe Yankl dem shvartsns” – ‘Libe, Black Jake’s […]

“Di apikorsim” Performed by Lifshe Schaechter-Widman

May 11, 2012

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman Di apikorsim (“The Heretics”) was the first song that Lifshe Schaechter-Widman (LSW) sang for collector Leybl Kahn in NYC in 1954. He recorded approximately 100 songs sung by LSW over the next few weeks or months. LSW is my grandmother and the child one hears in the background is my then 4-year […]

“Der heyliker moshiakh” Performed by Josh Waletzky

March 30, 2012

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman This week’s Yiddish Song of the Week features a performance of Der heyliker moshiakh (The Holy Messiah) by New York-based Yiddish singer Josh Waletzky, recorded at the Center for Traditional Music and Dance on January 28, 2011. The song is from Waletzky’s family repertoire (his family referred to it as “The […]

“Yo, yo du vilst” Performed by Josh Waletzky

August 1, 2011

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman “Yo, yo du vilst” (Yes, yes, you want) is a version of the international ballad, often called “Impossible Tasks”, #2 “Elfin Knight” in the Child ballad canon (Scarborough Fair is another example of this ballad type). Many Yiddish versions have been collected over a wide area of Eastern Europe. Hardly any […]