Archive for Omega Institute

“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