Archive for lullabye

“Hayda-liu-liu” Performed by Mordkhe Schaechter

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2012 by yiddishsong

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

“Hayda-liu-liu” was performed by Mordkhe Schaechter in 1954 in New York and was recorded by Leybl Kahn.

Mordkhe Schaechter

Mordkhe Schaechter (1927 – 2007) was a well known Yiddish linguist, grammarian, writer, master teacher and Yiddishist. He was also my uncle, my mother‘s younger brother and was born and grew up in Chernovitz, Romania. Together with my parents and my grandmother, after the war, he lived in the Displaced Persons camp of the Rothschild Hospital in Vienna, 1947 -1950. My mother Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman and Mordkhe collected folklore and historical materials among the Jews in the DP camp and sent them to YIVO in NYC. When Leybl Kahn, as a member of the I. L. Cahan Folklore Club, recorded Mordkhe‘s mother Lifshe Schaechter-Widman in NY in 1954,  Mordkhe took the opportunity at one session to record  for Kahn some of the children‘s folklore material he recorded in Vienna. This week is his fifth yortsayt so this blog entry is in his memory – click here to read his obituary in the New York Times.

This lullaby is popularly known in Hebrew as Numi, Numi, originally entitled ‟Shir Eres‟ [lullaby]. Many versions can be heard on Youtube such as this animated one:

Joel Engel (1868 – 1927) was the composer and Yekhil Halperin (or Heilperin) (1880 – 1942), the Hebrew lyricist. It is generally acknowledged that Engel used a Yiddish lullaby as the melody but I cannot find a recording nor a printed version of the Yiddish original. I am hoping the readers of the YSW blog will help me out on this one. The lyrics of Numi, Numi (Halperin‘s lyrics) are similar to what Schaechter sings – click here for the Hebrew words.

But since Halperin‘s words were put to Engel‘s melody in the 1920s, I am hesitant to write that Schaechter is singing the ‟original‟ Yiddish version. Perhaps enough time had passed so that Schaechter‘s version was already influenced by the Hebrew one?

Hayda-liu-liu kleyninker
Hayda-liuinku.
Hayda-liu-liu sheyninker
Hayda-liulinku.

Hayda-liu-liu my little one,
Hayda-liulinku.
Hayda-liu–liu my beautiful one,
Hayda-liulinku.

Der tate iz in vald avek,
in vald avek mayn kind.
A feygl vet er brengen dir,
A feygele mayn kind.

Hayda, liu-liu…..

Father has gone to the woods,
into the woods my child.
He will bring you a bird,
a little bird, my child.

Hayda-liu-liu…

Der tate iz in feld avek,
in feld avek mayn kind.
A bliml vet er brengen dir,
a blimele mayn kind.

Hayda-liu-liu.

Father has gone to the field,
to the field my child.
He will bring you a flower,
a little flower my child.

Hayda-liu-liu…

 
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“Ven ikh volt gehot dem keysers oytsres” Performed by Ita Taub

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2010 by yiddishsong

Notes by Itzik Gottesman

This recording of Ita Taub was done in our dining room in our Bronx home in the 1980s after a meal, as you can hear from the clanging of dishes. For biographical information on Taub see the earlier post on “Oy vey mame.”

Ven ikh volt gehot dem keysers oytsres (If I were to have the Emperor’s Treasures) was written by Mikhl Gordon (1823 – 1890). According to Chana and Joseph Mlotek in their Yiddish-language work Perl fun der yidisher poezye, 1974 (now available in English), this song was originally called “Shlof mayn kind” and included in his first collection printed in 1868.

Mikhl Gordon

The Mloteks also say that Isa Kremer performed the song often and popularized it, though I cannot find a recording of her singing it. The Freedman Jewish Sound Archive lists two recent recordings of the song with the title “Az ikh volt gehat dem keysers oytsres.”

I have not seen Gordon’s work so I am not sure how many verses are in his original but a third verse is included in some recordings and collections such as Z. Kisselgof’s Lider-zamlbuch, Berlin 1914, that concern the father going to hell. That verse adds a little bittersweet humor to the song, and it’s interesting that with a woman singer such as Ita Taub the verse is dropped. As Taub sings it, the song only relates directly to the mother and child relationship.

Taub’s interpretation is truly moving and culminates in that great dramatic last line “Let enter the Tsadik’s mother!”

Ven ikh volt gehot dem keysers oytsres
mit zayn gantser melikhe.
Volt es nit geveyn bay mir nikhe,
vi di bist bay mir nikhe. 

If I were to have the Emperor‘s treasures
and his entire land.
It would not be as pleasing to me,
as you are pleasing to me.

Mayn kind, mayn kroyn
Ven ikh derzey deyekh
Vayst zikh dokh mir oys,
az di gontse velt iz mayn.

My child, my crown.
When I see you
It seems to me
That the whole world is mine.

Shluf mayn kind, shluf mayn kind,
zolst nor leybn un zayn zezint.
Ay-lu -lu -lu, Ay-lu- lu-lu

Sleep may child, sleep my child.
You should only live and be healthy,
Ay-lu-lu.

Ven ikh vel amol darfn
af yener velt geyen,
veln toyern funem gin-eydn
far mir ofn shteyen.

When I will have to
go to the other world,
the gates of Heaven
will stand open for me.

Vayl di mayn kind
vet zayn a frimer un a giter.
Vet me zugn af yener velt –
„Lozst arayn dem tsadiks miter!‟

Because you my child,
will be observant and good,
So in the other world they will say –
„Let enter the Tsaddik‘s mother!‟

Shluf mayn kind, shluf, mayn kind,
zolst nor leybn un zayn gezint,
Ay-lu-lu-lu, Ay-lu-lu-lu

Sleep may child, sleep my child.
You should only live and be healthy,
Ay-lu-lu.