Archive for Childhood

“Ot her ikh vider a heymishe lidele” Performed by Yudeska (Yehudis) Eisenman

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2017 by yiddishsong

 

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

This week’s post features a song, Ot her ikh vider a heymishe lidele (אָט הער איך ווידער אַ היימישע לידעלע / Now I Hear Again a Hometown Song), that was apparently very popular in the 1910s and 1920s but has been mostly forgotten today. This field recording of  the singer Yehudis Eisenman was made by Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman at the same time as Bald vet zayn a regn in the Bronx, 1993.

The poem is by the poet Yoysef Yofe (יוסף יפֿה /Joseph Jaffe) and has been titled Hemat, Heim, and Mayn Litvishe shtetele among others. Yofe was born in 1865 in Salant, near Kaunas/Kovne. He came to the US in 1892 and died in 1938 in the Bronx, NY. (Scans of  Yiddish text taken from Yidishe khrestomatye, ed. Avrom Reisin, 1908 are attached). Yofe was also the writer of at least one other Yiddish song, Dem zeydns brokhe (Grandfather’s Blessing).

YofeImage

Yoysef Yofe

 In Zalmen Reisin’s Leksikon fun der yidisher literaturprese un filologye, volume 1, Vilna, 1926, this poem-turned-song by Yofe is specifically mentioned:

זייער פּאָפּולער איז בשעתו געווען זײַן ליד „היימאַט” (אָט זע איך ווידער מײַן היימישעס שטעטעלע) צו ערשט געדרוקט אין “יוד”, וואָס איז פֿיל געזונגען געוואָרן.

“Very popular in its time was his poem ‘Heimat’ (Here I see again my hometown), first published in Der Yud which was often sung.” I believe that Eisenman’s melody is the one sung in the 1920s.

In the Robert and Molly Freedman Jewish Sound Archive at the University of Pennsylvania, a version with the same melody can be heard on the CD Herman Snyder and Friends at Home which is from a field recording cassette made by Robert Freedman in Florida in the 1970s or 80s. We are attaching that wonderful recording at the end of the post.

If this is the Herman Snyder whom I think it is, then his Yiddish name was Khayim Shnayder and he and fellow folksinger Isaac Rymer were best friends in NY. Though I never met him and never heard him before, Shnayder was known for his wonderful Yiddish folksinging and I was so glad to hear this field tape recording. You can also hear Rymer talking or singing along in the background of many songs of this CD.

Sidor Belarsky recorded this song with a different melody under the title Mayn Shtetele on the LP Sidor Belarsky in a Yiddish Song Recital (1964). The composer of the Belarsky version was Paul Discount. Another melody by the composer David Botwinik was recorded by Cantor Henry Rosenblat, Cantor Moshe Ganchoff,  and Lisa Wilson with the title Di litvishe shtetele. Wilson’s performance can be heard on the CD of David Botwinik’s compositions From Holocaust to Life.

Chana and Joseph Mlotek discuss this song in their Forverts column Perl fun der yidisher literatur (Sept. 26, 1971, April 19, 1996), but I could not obtain a copy of these articles.

Thanks to Robert Freedman for his assistance with this week’s blog entry.

Recording of Yehudis Eisenman:

Recording of Herman Snyder:

Ot her ikh vider a heymishe lidele
Ot ze ikh vider dem eyruv, dem tsoym.
Bistu dos take mayn heymishe shtetele
Oder ikh ze dir in troym?

Ot shteyt di kretshmele noent lebn grobn do,
hekdeshl bedele, alts vi geven.
Kleyninke oreme, heymishe shtetele,
Lang hob ikh dir nit gezen.

Ot shteyt der beys-medreshl, a khurve, a moyerl.
Fentster tsebrokhene, krumlekhe vent.
Shtibelekh kvorimlekh, dekhelekh gezunkene,
vider hob ikh aykh derkent.

Zogt mir vu zaynen yetst mayne khaverimlekh
lebn zey, vandlen zey, zaynen zey toyt?
Zing fun dem vigele, zing fun dem tsigele,
zing fun der yidisher noyt.

Tsit zikh mayn lidele, eynzam un troyerik,
trerelekh heysinke gor on a shir.
Zise derinerungen, kindershe, herlekhe
lebn in harts uf bay mir.

Now I hear once again a hometown song,
now I see again the eruv, the fence.
Are you indeed my hometown
or am I seeing you in a dream?

Here stands the tavern near the ditch.
Poorhouse and bathhouse as they were before.
Delicate poor ones, my hometown,
Long have I not seen you.

Here stands the house of prayer, a ruin, a stone wall,
broken windows, crooked walls.
Little houses like graves, sunken roofs –
I have recognized you again.

Tell me where are my friends now?
Are they alive, have they wandered, are they dead?
Sing of the cradle; sing of the little goat,
sing of Jewish poverty.

My poem stretches lonely and sad.
Hot tears without end.
Sweet, beautiful memories of childhood,
live in my heart.

OtHerIkhYofeOtHerIkhYoffe2

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“Zikhroynes” Performed by Leo Summergrad

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 23, 2012 by yiddishsong

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

Leo Summergrad

This week’s contribution “Zikhroynes” was sent in by Leo Summergrad who lives in Westchester county, NY. He is a well known lover and meyvn of Yiddish song and a collector of hundreds of LP, tape, and CD recordings.

He learned this song from his father and privately recorded it with Madeline Simon at the piano. He is not a professional singer.

He writes about himself:

“Although I am American born, Yiddish was my first language and, as you can tell, it has remained very important to me, with a special love for Yiddish music. I got further Yiddish education in the shules of the IWO [International Workers Order], graduating from the Bronx Mitlshule. I am married to one of my shule classmates. I am a World War II veteran and served in the Pacific area, through a few major battles. I spent 40 years with the New York City Board of Education as a science teacher, Junior High School principal and Deputy Superintendent of a community school district, all in the Bronx.”

About his family:

“You asked about my father. He came from a little shtetl, called Pukhovitch, which was near Bobruisk in White Russia. My mother came from Bobruisk. They met on the ship on the way over in  1911. As far as my father’s singing; both my parents sang all the time. It was our form of entertainment. We didn’t even own a radio until I was about ten. I remember exactly which songs I learned from each of them.

That recording was made in my living room about ten years ago. I was able to hook a couple of microphones into the amplifier of my sound system and feed it onto a tape deck.”

We are including the translation and transliteration of the song by Leo Summergrad. The original Yiddish text by Morris Rosenfeld, I scanned from his collected works. We know that Rosenfeld composed melodies to his poetry and performed those songs, but according to Summergrad there is no recording of this song, and we are not sure who the composer is. The melody strikes me as very American early 20th century…

Also, be sure to click on the Yiddish words for a larger image.

Zikhroynes

MEMORIES

Far dem tsayml nem mikh Motke, ikh vel zayn dayn ferd,
Nem dem shrikl far a leytz, dem shtekl far a shverd,
Marsh ahin oyf yene berglekh, in der frayer luft,
Itchke vart shoyn mit a bande, herstu vi er ruft?
Zest im oyfn shpitz fun bergl, dortn paze taykh?
Akh ir zise kinder yorn, vayt bin ikh fun aykh.

Take me by the bridle, “Motke”, I will be your horse,
Take a rope for the reigns, a stick for a sword,
March there, on those hills, in the fresh air,
“Itchke” is waiting with a gang, Do you hear him calling?
Do you see him on the top of the hill, on the other side of the river?
Oh, you sweet childhood years, I am so far from you.

Kinder nit fargest di fayflekh, vos ir hot gemakht,
Fregt nor Berken, hot er ale tzvayglekh shoyn gebrakht,
Makht zikh greyt tzu loyfn kinder, gikher nu galop,
vayter, vayter geyt es shneler,flinker barg arop,
Kumt tzum vaser mil, ot dortn, loyft der klorer taykh,
Akh ir zise kinder yorn, vayt bin ikh fun aykh.

Children don’t forget the whistles that you made,
Ask “Berke” if he brought all the twigs.
Get ready to run children, quickly, now gallop,
Further, further it goes more quickly, running down hill,
Come to the water mill, there, where the clear river is flowing
Oh you sweet childhood years, I am so far from you.

Hit zikh, nit tzebrekht di kriglekh, ruik makht kayn gvald,
Veyst ir vu di yagdes vaksn, in dem tifn vald?
Kinder nemt zikh far di poles, Yudke gey farois,
Do iz laykht tzu blondgen kinder, unser vald is grois,
Tzum yagodnik, nit farlirt zikh, kumt zhe ale glaykh,
Akh ir zise kinder yorn, vayt bin ikh fun aykh.

Be careful not to break our armaments, quiet make no noise,
Do you know where the berries grow in the deep woods?
Children hold on to each other.   “Yudke” you lead.
It’s easy to get lost, children. Our woods are vast,
Don’t get lost near the berry farmer’s, let’s arrive together,
Oh you sweet childhood years, I am so far from you.

Zise, sheyne, libe kindhayt, vayt bistu fun mir,
mayn neshome, mayn fantazie,troymt nor vegn dir,
Vi a shotn bistu kindhayt, vi a roykh vus flit,
Vi a blitz, geshvind farloyfstu, un  men zet dikh nit,
Shvebst nor um in mayn zikorn,Vi a ziser troym,
ikh dermon zikh, un mir veynt zikh, un mit gloybt zikh koym. 

Sweet, beautiful, lovely childhood, you are so far from me,
My soul, my fantasy dreams only of you,
You are like a shadow childhood, like a smoke that flies,
You run away as quick as lightning and one doesn’t see you,
You float around in my memory like a sweet dream,
I remember and cry and I hardly believe it.