A Glezele Yash

from by Isle of Klezbos

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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Comes in an attractive six-panel digipak with extensive liner notes including lyrics in Yiddish, transliteration and English translation

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about

Professor Dov-Ber [Boris] Kerler, son of Yiddish writer Yosl Kerler, writes: “The song's text is included as a poem in my father's longer cycle entitled Mayn zeyde Yosele badkhn [My Grandpa Yosl the Wedding Jester], which was dated by him in his 1972 edition: Vorkuta, 1953. This means that it was originally written as a poem, albeit in the style (or genre) of Drinking Songs, by a person who was at the time a political prisoner in the Vorkuta labor camp. He was imprisoned in early 1950, then in Vorkuta he first worked in the coal mines and was later [around 1953] reassigned to another physically less demanding work just 10 years after he courageously fought and was nearly fatally wounded in battle -- in February 1943 (for the latter he was awarded the ‘For Bravery’ medal, a Soviet version of the Purple Heart, I guess).” Yosl Kerler’s poem was later set to music by Vladimir Shainskiy, who became one of the best-loved Soviet composers for his many popular Russian songs. Yash was originally recorded in 1961 by Nechama Lifshitsaite, during Krushchev’s post-Stalin ‘thaw.’

lyrics

Ven ikh nem a bisele yash, oy-oy,
Finklt alts un glantst;
Kh'gib a varf di puste flash, oy-oy,
Un ikh gey a tants!

Oy-oy, tsuker-zis
Halt mir bay di hent;
Flekhtn beygelekh di fis,
Di neshome brent!

Vos mir shviger, ver mir vayb, oy-oy,
Veys ikh zey di shlek!
Mitn ershtn kelishik vayn, oy-oy
Shvimen zey avek.

Oy-oy, tsuker-zis
Brider, kumt in kon
Lomir vaysn vind un vist
Vos a kabtsn kon.

Vos mir dayges, ver mir zorg, oy-oy,
Shtrof nit far di reyd
Gib mir, gotenyu, af borg, oy-oy
Khotsh a tropn freyd

Oy, tate, tsuker-zis
S’redele zikh dreyt
S’kostn tsores halb umzist
Shpring tsezesterhayt

Ven ikh nem a bisele yash, oy-oy,
Bin ikh gor nit der
Kh'gib a varf di puste flash, oy-oy
Un ikh gey a sher!

[When I drink a little wine, everything sparkles and shines.

I throw away the empty flask, and I do a dance.

Oh sugar-sweet, hold me by the hand.

Feet braiding bagels, the soul’s on fire!

Mother-in-law? Wife? Who cares?
They’re only trouble!

With my first glass of wine, they just swim away.

Oh sugar-sweet, brothers ante up:
Come into the circle,
Let’s show what a poor man can do.

Why worry? What trouble?
May my words not be punished.

Lord, lend me just a drop of joy!

Oy tate [father] sugar-sweet, the circle is turning.

Troubles half-price for free, jump until you burst!

When I take a little drink, I’m not the same.
I throw away the empty flask, and I dance a sher (scissor step)]

credits

from Live From Brooklyn, released April 8, 2014
words: Yoysef Kerler, music: Vladimir Shainskiy, arr. Isle of Klezbos

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Isle of Klezbos New York, New York

NYC-based ISLE of KLEZBOS approaches tradition with irreverence and respect. The soulful, fun-loving powerhouse all-women’s klezmer sextet has toured from Vienna to Vancouver since 1998. Repertoire ranges from rambunctious to entrancing: neo-traditional folk dance, mystical melodies,Yiddish swing & retro tango, late Soviet-era Jewish drinking song, re-grooved standards, & genre-defying originals. ... more

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