Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Khaveyrim, khazeyrim! (Friends, pigs!) - a parody of the Irving Berlin song "In My Harem"

No author is cited on this broadside.

Sheva Zucker pointed out that "harem" and the Yiddish word kheyrim (excommunication) which figures in this lyric come from the same root meaning a place apart.

It was easy to find the cited melody, In My Harem, but it wasn't so easy to play or sing. Thanks to Roger Lynn Spears for creating and performing the piano arrangement! My translation is on our video (click the pig to watch it):

The first verse maligns Tsar Nicholas and his family, so what else is new.

The second verse disparages the disgraceful human inclination to kick dirt in the faces of those who are a few steps behind us. Evidently even a single year in America turned an immigrant into a "sport" or a "boychik" or an "allrightnik" who was all too ready to turn his back on new arrivals.

Relevant to our times is this line: "America's leaders would have a fine name if only they wouldn't lock the doors."

For sheet music and/or performances contact me:

Here's the songsheet (click for a larger view):

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