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

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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):

“Di velt iz meshige” Performed by Sara Nomberg-Przytyk

Posted in Main Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 4, 2020 by yiddishsong

Di velt iz meshige/The World Has Gone Mad
Sung by Sara Nomberg-Przytyk [pronounced “Pshitik”]
Recorded with English subtitles by Wolf Krakowski, Way’s Mills, Quebec, Canada, 1986

 

Information on the song and Yiddish transcription provided by Eliezer Niborski, Jerusalem:

This seems to be a transformation of a song that was popular in the Lemberg/Lviv area in the 1910s. There is a 78rpm recording of Pepe Litman singing this song that you can hear here by clicking here.  There are at least two other 78rpm recordings of the song with this title, one by N. Glimer from Lemberg and one by Sam Schilling. 

Gilmer (1)78 Recording “Die Welt is Meschuge” by N. Gilmer recorded in Lemberg (Lviv) (Favorite, 1-27132X)

The same song, but titled “Meshige ist die welt” is sung by Julius Kalisch (1909) (Lemberg/Lviv) and can be heard by clicking here.

All three singers of these 78rpm recordings are basically using the same text and arrangement. In Sara Nomberg-Prztyk’s version, however, the content is adapted to the theme “modern women”. 

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman:

Thanks to Sara Nomberg-Przytyk’s introduction to the song in which she tells us her grandmother sang it with no sarcasm, but meant it literally, we can add her “Di velt iz meshige” to a number of songs using irony to mock the old-fashioned Jewish way of life or to make fun of the Hasidic rebbe and his Hasidim.

 In some interpretations of these songs, the irony was indeed often “lost” to the singer. But, of course, Sara, the more modern granddaughter did indeed “get it”. The naive narrator of the song in Nomberg-Przytyk’s version decries modern Jewish society, women in particular, with their “reading books”,  going to spas, and wearing their own hair and new immodest fashions. By “suffragettes”, the singer clearly just means “modern women”.

The video came with a translation and is mostly accurate. However as Niborski points out, when she sings “furn di kur”, this is shorthand for “furn af der kur” — going to spas, resorts.

Thanks for help with this week’s post to discographer Michael Aylward and Eliezer Niborski.

TRANSCRIPTION 

SPOKEN: Di lid vus ikh vil  atsind zingen iz zayer an alt lid. Zi iz antshtanen in di tsatn fin di sufrazhistkes. In dus iz geveyzn di yidishe sufrazhistkes. Ikh mayn az der vos hot geshribn di lid hot zi geshribn als a “joke”. R’hot gelakht derfin. Ober mayn bube hot es gezugt ernst. Zi hot es traktirt zeyer ernst.

SUNG:

Gevald vel ikh shrayen,
me zol hern, me zol hern!
Tsi hot zikh nokh azoyns gehert?
Dus yidishkayt vil du zikh iberkern, Oy-vay!
S’nemt mikh on a groys gevayn.

Zay furn “di kur”. 
Zay gayen in di hur.
Zay laynen bikher un a tsul.
Fin groys biz klayn,
zey makhn khayn,
un redn ale inter der nuz.

A mol hot men gefirt di kale tsu der khipe,
hot men ir ungetin di bubes a yipe.
Haynt geyen zey mit di naketdike paskudstves un – tfuuuu!
Zey hobn a punim vi a klipe.
Derfar haltn zey ober di hern far klige.
Ober ikh shray “Gevald!”
Di velt iz meshige!
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