Archive for Latvia

“Burikes af Peysekh” Performed by Abba Rubin

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2018 by yiddishsong

Burikes af Peysekh / Beets for Passover
Words and music by Solomon Golub
Sung by Abba Rubin, recorded by Rachel Rubin, 1991
Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

This field recording of Abba Rubin singing Burikes af Peysekh, a comic song by composer Solomon Golub, was collected by his daughter Rachel Rubin in a course on Yiddish folklore that I taught at the University of Pennsylvania, summer 1991.

Burikes coverCover of 1921 Song Sheet for Golub’s Burikes fun Peysakh published in New York.

There are two 78 rpm recordings of this song, but I have not found any more recent ones on LP record or CD. Abba Rubin sings it in a folkier style that he learned from his parents.

AbbaRubinFotoAbba Rubin

Abba Rubin, the son of Polish and Russian  parents, grew up in Liberty, NY. He has a Ph.D in English literature and has taught at Haifa University, University of Alabama in Birmingham and Vanderbilt. He and his wife are now retired and now live in Pikesville Md.

The composer Solomon Golub was born in 1887 in Dubelen, near Riga, Latvia and came to the US in 1906. He died in 1952. There is a copyright for Burekes af peysakh as early as 1918, but we are attaching a 1921 songsheet with music and text in Yiddish. An extensive biography and appreciation of Golub and his work can be found on the Milken Archive website.

By the way, this is not the only Yiddish song about having no red beets for Passover. Listen to Cantor Pinchas Jassinowsky sing Burekes:

Next is a 78 rpm recording of the song Burekes af peysekh, sung by I. Leonard Blum from 1919 (courtesy of Lorin Sklamberg and the YIVO Sound Archives):

Also we have a link to Cantor Netanel Shprinzen’s version of Burikes af Peysekh from the National Library of Israel website.

Finally, Burikes af Peysakh was also written about in The Chocolate Lady’s (Eve Jochnowitz) Jewish food blog In moyl arayn in 2005.


TRANSLITERATION (as found in the songsheet of 1921)

Burekes oyf peysekh darf men hobn.
Burekes oyf peysekh s’iz a groyse zakh.
Far khreyn, far a rosl, far an oyrekh, far a shokhn,
darf men burekes a sakh. Darf men burekes a sakh.

Shtey uf mayn man un krikh fun bet aroys,
shushan-purim iz shoyn oykh avek.
Gey koyf kalkhoys [kalekh] tsu kalekhen dos hoyz
un oyfn tsuber klap aroyf a dek.

Sloyes mit shmaltz shoyn ongegreyt,
di hon [hun] hot shoyn geleygt an ey.
Di kitl iz oysgevashn reyn
un keyn burekes nokh alts nishto.

Burekes oyf peysekh darf men hobn.
Burekes oyf peysekh s’iz a groyse zakh.
Far khreyn, far a rosl, far an oyrekh, far a shokhn,
darf men burekes a sakh. Darf men burekes a sakh.

Shteyt uf kinder, davenen iz shoyn tsayt.
Tsayt tsu geyn in kheyder arayn.
Lernt di kashes, tsu peysekh iz nisht vayt.
vet ir krign khremzlekh mit vayn.

Di alte milbushim shoyn ibergeneyt
mit lates shpogl nay.
Di koyses oysgevashn reyn
un keyn burekes nokh alts nishto

Burekes oyf peysekh darf men hobn.
Burekes oyf peysekh s’iz a groyse zakh.
Far khreyn, far a rosl, far an oyrekh, far a shokhn,
darf men burekes a sakh. Darf men burekes a sakh.

TRANSLATION

We must have beets for Passover.
Beets for Passover – it’s a big deal.
For horse radish, for broth, for a guest, for a neighbor,
you need a lot of beets; you need a lot of beets.

Get up my husband and crawl out of bed,
The holiday of Shushan-Purim has already passed.
Go buy lime to whitewash the house
and over the tub hammer a blanket.

Jars with fat are all ready
the hen already laid an egg.
The kitl [white robe] has been washed clean
and still there are no beets.

We must have beets for Passover.
Beets for Passover – it’s a big deal.
For horse radish, for broth, for a guest, for a neighbor,
you need a lot of beets; you need a lot of beets.

Get up children, time to pray.
Time to go off to school.
Learn the four questions; Passover is not far off.
And you will be rewarded with khremzlekh [Passover pancakes] and wine.

The old clothes have been sewed up;
the patches are brand new.
The goblets have been washed and cleaned
and the beets are still not here.

We must have beets for Passover.
Beets for Passover – it’s a big deal.
For horse radish, for brine, for a guest, for a neighbor,
you need a lot of beets; you need a lot of beets.

burikes1burikes3

burikes2

1921 Song Sheet:

golub1golub2golub3golub4golub5golub6

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“Iz Reyzele a meydl” Performed by Chaya Fiyzerman Friedman

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 9, 2015 by yiddishsong

Iz Reyzele a meydl
Reyzele is a Girl
Performance by Chaya Fiyzerman Friedman
Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

A student at University of Texas at Austin, Brooke Fallek video recorded her grandmother, Chaya Fiyzerman Friedman (b. 1929, Vilna) in New Jersey, Fall 2014, singing this song about a toy donkey (eyzele) which she learned by sneaking into the Yiddish theater in the Vilna ghetto.

REYZELEFOTO

Picture of a Jewish girl in Poland, 1930s

Fallek writes about her grandmother –  “Her mother hid her in a knapsack at the time of the selection at the closing of the ghetto. They were sent to the Stutthof concentration camp in Latvia. She had to hide in camp since she was a child and should have died A Nazi soldier found her and took a liking to her – he had a daughter her age.

Both she and her mother survived and went to Berlin after the war to a Displaced Persons camp. She came to New York, attended high school and married David Friedman – also a partisan survivor, in 1950. They were married for 53 years until his death. They have 3 children and 8 grandchildren.”

Iz Reyzl a meydl, a shtiferke a bren.
Hot Reyzl in a fentster an eyzele derzen.
Vert Reyzl tsetumlt, zi vil an eyzele vos lakht.
Hot papa ir anumlt fun yard aza gebrakht.

Ay, ay ay Reyzele hot zi an eyzele
mit fislekh kurtsinke, oyern lang.
A kvetsh a knepele, rirt zikh dos kepele,
Shoklen un viglen zikh af yo un neyn.

Oy, an umglik hot getrofn
shloft Reyzl nisht bay nakht.
Der eyzl iz tsebrokhn
iz Reyzl umgebrakht.

Ay, ay ay Reyzele,
hot gehat an eyzele.
mit fislekh kurtsinke, oyern lang.

Reyzl, a girl full of mischief and zeal.
Suddenly spotted in the window a donkey.
So Reyzl gets excited – she wants a laughing donkey.
So papa brought her one from the fair.

Ay, ay, ay Reyzele has a little donkey,
with short legs and big ears.
Push a button and the head moves,
and shakes and rocks to say yes and no.

Oy a catastrophe happened;
Reyzl can’t sleep at night.
The donkey is broken,
so Reyzl got upset.*
[*umgebrakht usually means “killed”, perhaps “oyfgebrakht” is what she meant?]

Ay, ay, ay Reyzele
once had a donkey.
with short legs
and long ears.
reyzl1 reyzl2 reyzl3

There are two professional recordings of this song, one by the singer and collector, Lea Szlanger in Israel on her LP “A Nig’n After My Heart – Mayn eygener nigun”. In Szlanger’s version the donkey “eyzele” becomes a rabbit “heyzele” (thanks to Lea Szlanger for sending the recording and words.)

Lea Szlanger in Song


Transliteration/Translation of Lea Szlanger’s performance:

Iz Reyzele a meydl, a shtiferke a bren.
Hot Reyzele in fentster a hezele derzen.
Un Reyzele zi vil nor, a hezele vos lakht.
Hot ir der foter fun yarid a hezele gebrakht.

Oy, oy, oy Reyzele, hot zi a hezele
mit lange oyerlekh un fislkeh kleyn.
A kvetsh a knepele, shoklt zikh dos kepele;
Shoklt zikh un vigt zikh – yo, yo un neyn.

Men tut a kvetsh a knepele hert zikh a gezang.
Oyfn haldz a glekele, klingt es gling, glang, glang.
Dan fregt zikh Reyzele far vos dos hezele
hot fislekh kurtsinke un oyern lang?

Zi tsertlt im un tulyet; zi shloft mit im bay nakht.
Zi kusht im un zi haldzt im un Reyzele zi lakht.
Un kinderlekh in droysn fun Reyzelen makhn shpot
“Zet nor, zet nor sara groysn heyzl reyzl hot”

Oy, oy, oy Reyzele, hot zi a heyzele
mit lange oyerlekh un fislekh kleyn.
A kvetsh a knepele, shoklt zikh dos kepele;
Shoklt zikh un vigt zikh yo, yo un neyn.

Men tut a kvetsh a knepele hert zikh a gezang.
Oyfn haldz a glekele, klingt es gling, glang, glang.
Dan fregt zikh Reyzele far vos dos heyzele
hot fislekh kurtsinke un oyern lang?

Reyzele is a girl, a scamp, a dynamo.
Reyzele saw a rabbit in the window.
And Reyzele, she only wants a rabbit that laughs.
So her father brought her a rabbit from the fair.

Oy, oy, oy Reyzele, has a rabbit
with long ears and little legs.
Push a button and the head rocks,
Nods and rocks – yes, yes and no.

Just push a button and you hear a song.
On her throat a little bell that rings -gling, glang, glang.
Then Reyzele asks herself why does this rabbit
have such short legs and big ears?

She caresses it and cradles it; she sleeps with it at night.
She kisses it and embraces it and Reyzele, she laughs.
And children outside make fun of Reyzele –
“Just look what a big rabbit Reyzl has!”

Oy, oy, oy Reyzele, has a rabbit
with long ears and little legs.
Push a button and the head rocks,
Nods and rocks – yes, yes and no.

Just push a button and you hear a song.
On her throat a little bell that rings -gling, glang, glang.
Then Reyzele asks herself why does this rabbit
have such short legs and big ears?

reyz1reyzl2reyz3The second recording of the song is by Henny Durmashkin on her LP  “Lider tsu gedenken” – “Songs to Remember” (thanks to Lorin Sklamberg of the YIVO Sound Archives for sending the mp3 and LP cover with photo of singer and biographical information – click image to enlarge). Her version is very close to Szlanger’s.

henny-durmashkin-pic-use

Durmashkin was also from Vilna; her father Wolf Durmashkin was a Vilna conductor before the war and in the ghetto. Henny’s sister Fanny Durmashkin accompanies her on piano. A film on these remarkable sisters was made in 2007 – “Creating Harmony: the Displaced Persons Orchestra at St. Otillien.” An article from the New Jersey Jewish Standard tells the story.

A shortened printed version of the song appears in the Parisian collection, 1948  – “Mir zingen” published by Gezelshaft kinder-fraynt, p. 109. An even shorter recorded version is found in the Ben Stonehill collection.

So this song about a rocking toy donkey (or rabbit) is clearly from Vilna/Vilnius, 1930s or perhaps created in the ghetto; but the author and composer are unknown. Fiyzerman sings a verse, or part of a third verse, that the other versions do not include, about the toy being broken.

“Tsu dir, tsu dir dos glezele vayn” Performed by George (Getsl) Ribak

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2011 by yiddishsong

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

Singer George (Getsl) Ribak was born in Dvinsk, Latvia, and died in 1979 at age 93. He sang Yiddish songs in public at the local JCC.

George Getsl Ribak

The recording was made in the 1960s by Ribak’s granddaughter Cheryl Cohen of Sarasota, Florida. It is one of several songs sung by her family that Cohen sent to Bob Freedman (of the University of Pennsylvania’s Robert and Molly Freedman Jewish Music Archive), and Bob sent it to me.

I do not know this short drinking song, which Getsl Ribak sings with much gusto. According to Chana Mlotek, collector, YIVO archivist and author of Yiddish songbooks, the song originates from the early Yiddish stage, and she will write about this version in her next column in the Forverts newspaper.

Ribak’s melody and rhyming schemes seem a little off. In parentheses I wrote what I believed to be the “correct” ending, grammatical form or dialect pronunciation. Clearly “glik” should rhyme with “kik”, not “kuk” for example.

After the original posting, Cheryl Cohen wrote to provide some additional biographical information:

My grandfather George (Getsel) Ribak was born in Dvinsk, Latvia. He fled  before being drafted in the Czar’s Army to Capetown, South Africa. He became a British citizen while working  in the shoe making trade. He later fled to avoid the Boer War. He was in England, then in Canada, then finally to the United States. He lived with his wife Rose (Rochel Swirsky) in Chattanooga, TN, where he was in the meat market business. I think he also did house painting in Detroit. He and his wife finally settled in Bridgeport, Connecticut where he had a second hand clothing store. He would  take the train into New York and make his purchases there, I believe.

He and his wife raised 3 children, one of which was my mother. I remember spending weekends in their apartment, listening to WEVD, and seeing the Foverts newspaper.  He loved to sing songs in Yiddish, Hebrew, and English with me for fun but he really enjoyed performing at the Jewish Community Center in Bridgeport for various events. He was not a professional singer but had a very strong and pleasant voice. He even performed at the Jewish Home for the Elderly in Fairfield, CT. while he was a resident there. He wanted everyone to be freylach!

In dir, in dir, du glezele vayn,
In dir, in dir, mayn gantser (gantse) glik.
Ven ikh vil mir freylekh zayn
Damolts gib ikh af dir a kuk.(kik)


In you, in you, you glass of wine,
In you, in you, my whole fortune.
When I want to be happy
Then I take a look at you.

Tsu dir tsu dir, hob ikh lust.
Du bist di nekhome
fun mayn neshome.


For you, for you I lust,
You are the comfort
of my soul.

Af kapores darf ikh gelt
A riekh in dos (dem) gelt arayn.
Ikh lakh mir oys fun der gantser velt.
Nor tsulib dir du glezele vayn.


I have no use for money
The devil take the money!
I laugh at the whole world,
because of you my glass of wine.