Archive for Vitebsk

“A Pastekhl” Performed by Hirsh Reles

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , on April 25, 2010 by yiddishsong

Notes by Dmitri Slepovitch

A Pastekhl (A Shepherd), is known from several cantorial recordings, including that of Zinoviy Shulman, and was sung by Hirsh (Grigoriy L’vovich) Reles in his family’s version. Hirsh Reles (1913 – 2004) happened to be the last Belarusian Yiddish author of the older generation. He was born into a rabbi’s family Chashniki, Vitebsk oblast. Reles started his career as a Yiddish literature teacher at a Jewish school. After Jewish schools had been shut down by Stalin, Reles started teaching Russian literature, but he never stopped writing in Yiddish. Having had been raised in a traditional Jewish environment, Hirsh Reles remembered quite a lot of songs and life facts from the pre-war time till his very last days in Minsk.


Hirsh Reles

This recording made in 1997 was the beginning of my systemic research of Jewish music in Belarus. Several years later Dr. Nina Stepanskaya, Z”L, and I recorded two video interviews with Hirsh Reles, which I hope will be published some time soon.

The song, though being sung mainly on behalf of a narrator, also involves a dialog between the shepherd and G-d. Like in many other Yiddish and, specifically, cantorial songs, the theatric element is represented here as well. Although not a ballad, this song clearly shows a story-like plot, tending to correspond with many niggunim’s texts and therefore it might be considered as somewhat a musical midrash.

Musically, the song demonstrates one of very typical structures often seen in Yiddish songs as well as cantorial compositions. It has three verses, each beginning with a non-metrical part followed a metrically organized chorus (pizmon). Having had been inspired by this recording of Reles’s singing, I later recorded this song with Minsker Kapelye for the Tutejsi (Di Ortike/The Locals) album, adding my own rap rhymes to the folk ones.

Editor’s Note: Anyone doing research on Yiddish song, particularly discographic information on LPs,  should be aware of the Robert and Molly Freedman Jewish Sounds Archive. For instance, if you wanted to research who else had recorded this week’s song contribution, you could browse by the first line “Iz geven a mol a pastekhl” and find numerous recordings of the song.  Then you could go to the Judaic Sound Archives of Florida Atlantic University and see if they have any recordings on line of the song that you could listen to (I searched a little by title and couldn’t find it, but searching by singer after finding the names in Freedman’s website, in this case, would be easier). More Yiddish song resources on-line in future posts. – Itzik Gottesman, Editor 


Iz geven amol a pastekhl, a pastekhl,
Iz ba im forlorn gegangen a shefele, a shefele.
Geyt er, zet er: fort a fur mit shteyndelekh, mit shteyndelekh.
Hot er gemeynt a’(z) dos iz fun shefele di beyndelekh, di beyndelekh.
Zogt er: “Adeyni! Adeyni! Oy Adeyni!
Tshi nye bachyu ty, tshi nye vidzyeu ty ovtsy moi?”
Makh er, “Nyet.”
Byeda-byedu, ovtsy nishto!
A yak zhe ya damoy pridu?
A yak zhe ya damoy pridu?

Once upon a time there lived a shepherd.
It happened once that he lost a sheep.
Off he went and saw a wagon with stones.
It seemed to him they were his sheep’s bones.
He says, “My Lord, my Lord, my Lord!
Have you seen, have caught sight of my sheep?”
God says, “No!”
“Woe is me! My sheep is gone.
How shall I come back home?”

Geyt er, zet er: fort a fur mit dernelekh, mit dernelekh.
Hot er gemeynt a’ dos iz fun shefele di hernelekh, di hernelekh.
Zogt er: “Adeyni! Adeyni! Oy Adeyni!
Tshi nye bachyu ty, tshi nye vidzyeu ty ovtsy moi?”
Makh er, “Nyet.”
Byeda-byedu, ovtsy nishto!
A yak zhe ya damoy pridu?
A yak zhe ya damoy pridu?

Off he went and saw a wagon with turf.
It seemed to him these were his sheep’s horns.
He says, “My Lord, my Lord, my Lord!
Have you seen, have caught sight of my sheep?”
God says, “No!”
“Woe is me! My sheep is gone.
How shall I come back home?”

Geyt er, zet er: fort a fur mit niselekh, mit niselekh,
Hot er gemeynt a’ dos iz fun di shefele di fiselekh, di fiselekh.
Zogt er: “Adeyni! Adeyni! Oy Adeyni!
Tshi nye bachyu ty, tshi nye vidzyeu ty ovtsy moi?”
Makh er, “Nyet.”
Byeda-byedu, ovtsy nishto!
A yak zhe ya damoy pridu?

Off he went and saw a wagon with nuts.
It seemed to him these were his sheep’s hoofs.
He says, “My Lord, my Lord, my Lord!
Have you seen, have caught sight of my sheep?”
God says, “No!”
“Woe is me! My sheep is gone.
How shall I come back home?”

Yiddish text below from “Anthology  of Yiddish Folksongs”, Volume 3, Vinkovetzky, Kovner, and Leichter, Jerusalem, 1985, pages 132 – 135.

 

 

“Got hot bashafn himl mit erd” performed by Hoda Yudovin-Zavelev

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , on March 23, 2010 by yiddishsong

Notes by Dmitri Slepovitch

”Got hot bashafn himl mit erd”  (God Has Created Heaven And Earth) was recorded by Dmitri Slepovitch and the late Nina Stepanskaya from Hoda Yudovin-Zavelev (b. 1925 in Beshenkovichi, Vitebsk oblast) in Vitebsk, Belarus, December 2001.

This song is an example of a Yiddish cumulative tale. It first starts as a typical moralizing parareligious rhyme, but it finishes with describing a bride and a groom lying on a pillow. A song that begins with the same words is found in Ruth Rubin’s collection, defined as a ballad of Adam and Eve (Ruth Rubin, Voices of a People, University of Illinois Press, 2000, p.497). However, musically the song collected by Rubin is different from this one.


Got hot bashafn himl mit erd (x2)
Vos iz in der erd? –
A sheyner, fayner vortsl (x2)
Der vortsl fun der erd,
Di erd fun Got

God created heaven and earth.
What was in the earth?
A beautiful, fine root;
The root from the earth.

Got hot bashafn himl mit erd (x2)
Vos i’ fun dem vortsl?
A sheyne, fayne beymdl (x2)
Di beymdl fun dem vortsl,
Der vortsl fun der erd,
Der erd fun Got.

God created heaven and earth.
What came out of the root?
A beautiful, fine tree
The tree from the root..
The root from Heaven and earth…
The earth from God

Got hot bashafn himl mit erd (x2)
Vos iz fun dem beymdl? –
A sheyne, fayne tsveyndl (x2)
Di tsveyndl fun dem beymdl,
Di beymdl fun dem vortsl,
Der vortsl fun der erd,
Di erd fun Got.

God created heaven and earth.,…
What came from the tree?
A beautiful, fine twig.
The twig from the tree..etc.

Got hot bashafn himl mit erd (x2)
Vos i’ af dem tsveyndl? –
A sheyne fayne feygl (x2)
Di feygl af der tsveyndl,
Di tsveyndl fun dem beymdl,
Di beymdl fun dem vortsl,
Der vortsl fun der erd,
Di erd fun Got.

God created heaven and earth.,…
What came from the twig?
A beautiful, fine bird.
The bird from the twig..etc.

Got hot bashafn himl mit erd (x2)
Vos iz fun der feygl? –
A sheyne, fayne feder (x2)
Di feder fun der feygl,
Di feygl afn tsveyndl,
Di tsveyndl fun dem beymdl,
Di beymdl fun dem vortsl,
Der vortsl fun der erd,
Di erd fun Got.

God created heaven and earth.,…
What emerged from the bird?
A beautiful, fine feather.
The feather from the bird..etc.

Got hot bashafn himl mit erd (x2)
Vos iz fun der feder? –
A sheyne, fayne kishn (x2)
Di kishn fun der feder,
Di feder fun der feygl,
Di feygl afn tsveyndl,
Di tsveyndl fun dem beymdl,
Di beymdl fun dem vortsl,
Der vortsl fun der erd,
Di erd fun Got.

God created heaven and earth.,…
What came from the feather?
A beautiful, fine pillow.
The pillow from the feather..etc.

Got hot bashafn himl mit erd (x2)
Vos i’ af der kishn? –
A sheyne, fayne kale (x2)
Di kale af der kishn,
Di kishn fun der feder,
Di feder fun der feygl,
Di feygl afn tsveyndl,
Di tsveyndl fun dem beymdl,
Di beymdl fun dem vortsl,
Der vortsl fun der erd,
Di erd fun Got.

God created heaven and earth.,…
What came from the pillow?
A beautiful, fine bride.
The bride on the pillow..etc.

Got hot bashafn himl mit erd (x2)
Vos iz bay der kale? –
A sheyner, fayner khosn (x2)
Der khosn ba’ der kale,
Di kale afn kishn,
Di kishn fun der feder,
Di feder fun der feygl,
Di feygl afn tsveyndl,
Di tsveyndl fun dem beymdl,
Di beymdl fun dem vortsl,
Der vortsl fun der erd,
Di erd fun Got.
Got hot bashafn himl mit erd (x2)

God created heaven and earth.,…
What emerged from the bride?
A beautiful, fine groom.
The groom with the bride,
The bride on the pillow,
The pillow from the feather…etc.