Archive for Harry Ary

“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

“Ikh tu dir a brivele shraybn” performed by Harry Ary

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2011 by yiddishsong

Commentary by Benjy Fox-Rosen

A powerful song lamenting the horrors of war. A soldier lies wounded in the hospital and writes to his mother and fiancé.

This recording is from Ruth Rubin’s field recordings courtesy of Lorin Sklamberg and the YIVO Sound Archive. It was recorded in 1955 in Montreal. The singer is named Harry Ary, he is the same singer who sings “In Droysen iz Finster” from Ruth Rubin’s “Jewish Life: The Old Country” LP of field recordings. I love his delivery and especially the very slight differences between each verse. He may be my favorite male singer on that record.

Note the difference in the opening phrase on the first, and later verses; at the beginning of the second and third verses, he sings a sharp fourth instead of the natural fourth.

On the second and third verses, when he repeats the last two lines, I especially like the different way that he treats, “mayn harts” and “mayn kale.” The variations have very much the same shape, but are sung varied slightly each time. Also his final cadences at the end of each verse are of particular interest to me, for he sings almost a quarter tone sharper than a flat second (in the mode), and this is of course intentional. This difference in tuning is often overlooked in transcriptions and re-interpretations of folk sources, however these controlled variations in pitch are what make this singer particularly interesting.


I will write you a letter Mamenyu,
And Mamenyu, I write of my health,
Oy, my hand was amputated,
And in both eyes, Mamenyu, I am blind.

I lie in the hospital, wounded,
And the doctors stand around me,
My heart is gushing with blood,
My dear Mamenyu is not near me.

I write a letter to my bride,
And I write of her alone,
That she should rip up the engagement,
And go with someone else to the khupe.
(translation by Benjy Fox-Rosen)

Itzik Gottesman writes: Below is the version of the song from “Yidishe folks-lider” edited by Moyshe Beregovski and Itzik Feffer, Kiev 1939, page 119. The melody is essentially the same, and the words vary only slightly. However one textual change should be noted: in the Beregovski-Feffer version the singers says in the second line of the third verse “I write to you only about myself” which is the opposite of Harry Ary’s version.”