Archive for Lionel Libson

“Kale lebn, kale lebn” A Badkhn Parody Performed by Dora Libson

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2021 by yiddishsong

Kale lebn, kale lebn
A badkhn parody sung by Dora Libson
Recorded by Lionel Libson, 1977

Transcribed by Eliezer Niborski, English translation by Itzik Gottesman.

Kale-lebמ, kale-lebn
Kale-lebn, kale-lebn,
Meyn darfsti veynen un shrayen.
Az zolst hobn aza velt azoy zis
vi borsht fun klayen.
Un zolst darfn geyn borgn un layen.
Un zolst keyn mol nit aroys
funem rov un funem dayen.

Dear bride, dear bride,
You should cry and scream some more.
You should have a world so sweet
as borsht made with bran.
You should rely on borrowing and lending.
And may you never get out from 
the rabbi and his assistant.

Oy, a ber un a shver un a shlimazelnitse 
zenen dokh oykhet darbay.
A ber hot a langn veydl 
un a shver hot lib a sheyn meydl.
Un az a shlimezalnitse geyt in mark – 
fardripet zi dus kleydl.

Oy, a bear and a father-in-law and an unlucky woman
are also present. 
A bear has a long tail,
and a father-in-law loves a pretty girl.
And when an unlucky woman goes to market
she spatters her dress

Oy, a bukher un a meydl un a shlimezalnitse
zenen dokh oykhet darbay.
A bukher az er geyt avek heyst men zikh im nit (h)aylen.
un a meydl, az zi geyt avek heyst men zikh ir nit zamen.
Un az me shikt a shlimezalnitse nokh fleysh 
brengt zi plyamen.

Oy, a young man and girl and an unlucky woman
are present as well. 
A young men when he leaves is told not to hurry
and a girl, when she leaves is told not to wait.
And when you send an unlucky woman to buy meat
she comes back with stains. 

כּלה־לעבן, כּלה־לעבן
,מיין דאַרפֿסטו וויינען און שרײַען
אַז זאָלסט האָבן אַ וועלט אַזוי זיס
.ווי באָרשט פֿון קלײַען
,זאָלסט דאַרפֿן גיין באָרגן און לײַען
און זאָלסט קיין מאָל ניט אַרויס
.פֿונעם רבֿ און פֿונעם דיין

אוי, אַ בער און אַ שווער און אַ שלימזלניצע
.זענען דאָך אויכעט דערבײַ
אַ בער האָט אַ לאַנגן וויידל
.און אַ שווער האָט ליב אַ שיין מיידל
–און אַ שלימזלניצע גייט אין מאַרק
.פֿאַרדריפּעט זי דאָס קליידל

אוי, אַ בחור און אַ מיידל און אַ שלימזלניצע
.זענען אויכעט דערבײַ
אַ בחור, אַז ער גייט אַוועק, הייסט מען זיך אים ניט אײַלן, [אַרויסגערעדט „הײַלן”]
,און אַ מיידל, אַז זי גייט אַוועק, הייסט מען זיך איר ניט זאַמען
,און אַז מע שיקט אַ שלימזלניצע נאָך פֿלייש
… ברענגט זי פּליאַמען 
[“וואַריאַנט־מערצאָל פֿון „פּליאַמע“ = „פֿלעק]

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

In the spirit of Purim this week, we present a parody of a badkhn’s bazetsns.  Before the ceremony of veiling the bride, the wedding entertainer, the badkhn, used to address the bride, reminding her of the youth that she leaves behind and how to lead an observant Jewish life with her husband. Sometimes the rhymes would be a stretch, almost non-sensical  and that is at the heart of the parodies.

I believe the repeated lines in our parody “…are also present” are mocking the lines of the badkhn when he reminds the bride that although her parents or grandparents may have died, they are with her today at this happy occassion. 

The badkhn parodies are usually of the bazetsns, the seating, and the badekns, the veiling; two emotional moments before the marriage under the khupe/canopy. The bazetsns is strickly a women’s ceremony, except for the badkhn, and a time of much weeping. I have added below two pages from Hayyim Schauss’s work The Lifetime of a Jew (1976) in which he discusses these moments at the wedding. Schauss was a Litvak from Lithuania so much of what he describes is particularly true of his region. It is worth reading.

This is a link to a “real” badekns, not a parody, as sung by Majer Bogdanski, born 1912 in Piotrkow-Tribunalsky, Poland, from the CD Yiddish songs / Yiddishe liders:

One can also see the badkhn perform in such Yiddish films “Yidl mitn fidl” “Uncle Moses” and “The Dybbuk”. The badkhn tradition has made a comeback in today’s Hasidic world and many examples can be found on YouTube. As far as I can tell, they have become mainly comics, and do not paricipate in other wedding ceremonies.

To get a feel for the type of music that might be played at the bazetsn, here is violinist Jutta Bogen playing an example (from Pete- this one has the structue of a Romanian doina):

Many such bazetsnbadekn parodies were recorded on 78 RPMs in the 1910s- 1930s, and even later. Here is Henri Gerro’s Kolomeyer badchn. The badkhones parody begins at 1:00.  

Further reading on the badkhn:

1) Article by Joel Rosenberg “Badkhones in Life and Cinema” on the website In geveb
2) “Badkhonim” in the YIVO Encyclopedia by Jean Baumgarten.
3) Book: הבדחן (in Hebrew) by Ariela Krasney

Special thanks this week to Eliezer Niborski who transcribed the recording. 

Excerpt from Hayyim Schauss’s work The Lifetime of a Jew (1976):

“Khanike-gelt (mume, mume, mume gite)” Performed by Dora Libson

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2020 by yiddishsong

Khanike-gelt (mume, mume, mume gite) – Hanukkah Money (Aunt, Aunt, Aunt So Good)
A Hanukkah song sung by Dora Libson. Recorded by Lionel Libson, 1977 

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

There seems to be a connection between this song and the Yiddish schools of Argentina. Avrom Lichtenbaum, director of the Argentina YIVO, remembers singing it in kindergarten in a Yiddish school in Buenos-Aires. The only printed version I have found was in the children’s song collection Heym un mishpokhe, yomim-toyvim, edited by Sara Fischer, Buenos-Aires, 1948. A scan of the song from that volume is attached (Fischer). 

In Heym un mishpokhe, yomim-toyvim it is called “Khanike gelt” and includes only the first two verses which I also transliterate since the rhymes are better in those verses than the ones in Libson’s version.  It also states that the poem was “From the Hebrew” translated by the Argentinian Yiddish children’s writer Shemuel (Shmuel) Tsesler (1904 – 1955).  

Sure enough, in the Israeli Zemereshet website we find the song in Hebrew in several versions, with more and different stanzas but the composer and writer of the Hebrew original song remains unknown.

Libson’s third and fourth verse, however, are not included in these Hebrew versions. Click here to see the Hebrew versions.

Libson’s pronuncation of the holiday as “Khaniko” instead of the usual “Khanike” in Yiddish, or “khanuka” in modern Hebrew,  reflects an Ashkenazic Hebrew pronunciation.

Thanks this week to Avrom Lichtenbaum, Gila Flam and Dina Pozniak.

Khanike-gelt as sung by Dora Libson

1) Mume, mume, mume, gute,
vi ikh hob dikh lib.
Bist a gite, bist a zise,
khanike-gelt zhe gib.
Bist a gite, bist a zise,
khanike-gelt zhe gib.
Khaniko iz haynt! Khaniko iz haynt!

Aunt, aunt, aunt, so good,
how I love you.
You’re so good, you’re so sweet.
So give me Hanukkah-gelt!
Hanukkah is today! Hanukkah is today!

2) Un az di mume hot gegebn
loz ikh mikh tsurik.
Un ikh gey mir glaykh tsum feter
feter gib zhe di!
un ikh gey mir glaykh tsum feter
feter gib zhe di!
Khaniko iz haynt!   Khaniko iz haynt!

And after Auntie gave me,
I returned back
and go straight to my uncle.
Uncle give me!
Hanukkah is today! Hanukkah is today!

3) Dem [Di] badaytung fun dem yontif
veys ikh dokh gants git.
Antiyoykhes iz [hot] fargosn
fil yidish blit.
Antiyoykhes hot fargosn
fil yidish blit.
Khaniko iz haynt!  Khaniko iz haynt!

The significance of this holiday
I know so well.
Antioches spilled 
much Jewish blood.
Antioches spilled 
much Jewish blood.
Hanukkah is today! Hanukkah is today!

4) In beys-hamigdesh fremde geter
hot men ungeshtelt. 
Un du ayl zikh nisht mayn dreydl
zay zhe mir a held.
un du ayl zikh nisht mayn dreydl
zay zhe mir a held.
Khaniko iz haynt!  Khaniko iz haynt!

In the Temple, foreign gods
were erected.
And don’t hurry my dreydl
be my hero. 
Khanike is today!  Khanike is today!

חנוכּה איז הײַנט
געזונגען פֿון דאָרע לאַבסון

מומע, מומע, מומע גוטע
.ווי איך האָב דיך ליב
ביסט אַ גוטע, ביסט אַ זיסע
.חנוכּה־געלט זשע גיב”
!חנוכּה איז הײַנט! חנוכּה איז הײַנט

,און אַז די מומע האָט געגעבן
.לאָז איך מיך צוריק
,און איך גיי מיר גלײַך צום פֿעטער
„פֿעטער, גיב זשע דו !”
!חנוכּה איז הײַנט! חנוכּה איז הײַנט

די באַדײַטונג פֿונעם יום־טובֿ
.ווייס איך דאָך גאַנץ גוט
אַנטיוכות האָט פֿאַרגאָסן
.פֿיל ייִדיש בלוט
!חנוכּה איז הײַנט! חנוכּה איז הײַנט

אין בית־המיקדש פֿרעמדע געטער
.האָט מען אָנגעשטעלט
,און דו אײַך זיך נישט מײַן דריידל
.זײַ זשע מיר אַ העלד
!חנוכּה איז הײַנט! חנוכּה איז הײַנט

The two verses in the Shemuel (Shmuel) Tsesler collection Heym un Mishpokhe Yomim-Toyvim:

Tsu der mumen, tsu der guter
makh ikh a shpatsir.
“Khanike-gelt, gute mume,
Gib zhe gikher mir!”

Git di mume mir a groshn
“Kh’dank dir!” Zog ikh hoykh.
Itster gey ikh tsu mayn feter:
“Feter gib mir oykh!”
Khanike iz haynt! Khanike iz haynt! 

“Mir nemen veytslekh” Performed by Dora Libson

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2012 by yiddishsong

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

Mir nemen veytslekh is a matso-baking song, sung in a Litvish-Yiddish dialect by the singer Dora Libson. This version was recorded in 1977 by Lionel Libson. Dora is from the Western Ukraine. [See her earlier post in this blog for her biography].

The collective baking of matse during the weeks preceeding Passover was, (and is in Orthodox circles today) a joyous event, and the songs that accompany the event, are playful work songs. For another example listen to Michael Alpert sing Dos lid fun matse bakn on the Lori Cahan-Simon Ensemble‘s CD Songs My Bubbe Should Have Taught Me, Volume One: Passover.

The singer sings “moyre” instead of “meyre,” a dialectical hypercorrection. Meyre is the dough of the matse.

I was unsure of the words in a couple of places and any corrections or suggestions would be welcome.

Mir nemen veytslekh

“We Take Wheat”

Mir nemen veytslekh, a fule koyshn,
Afile ot azelkhe.
Un mir moln, un mir moln,
moln veytslekh bilkhe.

We take wheat, baskets full
Even ones like these.
And we grind and we grind
Grinding the preferred wheat.

Itstert kinder nemt a zipke
un tsezipt di mel.
Zipt zhe, zayt zhe, zipt zhe, zayt zhe,
varft aroys di klayen.

Now children take a sifter
and sift the flour.
Sift and strain, sift and strain.
Throw out the bran.

Itstert kinder farkatsht di arbl,
Khane ober [oder] dvoyre.
Shit on mel, gist on vaser,
un farknet a moyre [meyre].

Now children roll up your sleeves,
Khane or Dvoyre.
Pour out flour, pour out water,
and knead the meyre.

Un fun der moyre shnaydt on teyglekh,
shnaydt on teyglekh kleyne.
Velgert, velgert, velgert, velgert,
velgert matses sheyne.

And from the meyre cut up clumps of dough.
Cut up the clumps small.
Roll and roll, roll and roll [with the rolling pin.]
Roll the beautiful matzos.

Itstert kinder nemt a redl,
a redl mit sharfe tseyner.
Redlt, redlt, redlt, redlt,
feln zol nisht keyner.

Now children take the hole puncher,
a puncher with sharp teeth.
Puncture, puncture, puncture, puncture,
And no one should be missing.

Itstert kinder zetst di matses;
der eyvn [oyvn] iz a heyser.
Vasht zikh opet, nemt aroyset,
Esn vi der keyser!

Now children put in the matzos,
the oven is hot.
Wash up and take them out,
Let‘s eat them like the emperor.