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Friday, February 12, 2016

Dos lebedike yesoymele (The living orphan girl) sung by Kalman Juvelier

There are three songs by this name on the Library of Congress site. The one found in the American Yiddish Penny Songs collection is the one by Perlmutter and Wohl, words by Boris Tomashevsky, find the sheet music here: Dus lebedige yisoimele.

There's a fourth version which my band Mappamundi recorded with Randy Kloko, you can find it on my other blog, In that version, curiously, the term Lebedike yesoymim means "children of divorced parents," ie, they're unwanted by the new spouses.

Lebedike generally means lively (ie cheerful) but clearly that is not the case with the orphan girl in this Perlmutter/Wohl setting.

The song is from a 1911 show called "Blind Love" (Di blinde libe). The singer is Kalman Juvelier, click below to hear him with my translation in the subtitles. He was born in Lemberg (now Lvov), Ukraine, in 1863 and came to American in 1900. He sings the first verse and then two choruses. His text is slightly different. Have a listen if you want to be in a dreary mood and both verses are below if you feel this truncated version does not provide enough misery:

Vos iz dos lebn nor veytog un trern
Ikh hob nit keyn tate, mayn mame vert blind.

Ikh bet bay Got er zol mir derklern
Far vos kumt es mir, far velkhe zind?
Ikh bin a yesoymele, eyn opgehakte boymele!
Di bleterlekh flien avek fun dem vind
Ikh leb in sakones, men hot keyn rakhmones!
Af eyn orem yesoymele, eyn elend kind!

Ikh bet dir Gotenyu, du herst mir mistame
Abi yesoymim, helf mir atsind
Ikh hob nit keyn tatenyu, oy shenk mir mayn mamenyu
Es bet a yesoymele, eyn elend kind.

Vos ken den vern, ven mir vet nit shtitsn
Mayn tserlikhe mame, ikh shoyder fun shrek
Ver vet mir hitn fun faynt bashitsn
Ven du nemst oy Got mayn mamen avek.
On a pastukh a shefele, eyn orem shvakh eyfele
Dos iz ven di libende mame felt
Dos herts iz tserisn, keyn fraynshaft genisn!
S'iz a bitern lebn a finstere velt.

What is this life? Only pain and tears.
I have no father, my mother is blind.
I beg God to tell me:
Why has this happened to me, what was my sin?
I am an orphan, a cut down sapling.
The wind blows the leaves away.
I live in danger, nobody takes pity on me,
On a poor orphan, a desolate child.

I beg you, God, You probably hear me
Since I'm an orphan, help me now,
I have no father, oh, send me my mother,
An orphan is asking, a desolate child.

What will happen when my tender mother can't support me
I shudder with fear
Who will protect me and care for me
When You, oh God, take my mother away?
A lamb without a shepherd, a poor weak infant
When the beloved mother is gone
The heart is torn, no friendship enjoyed!
It's a bitter life, a dark world.

For sheet music and/or performances contact me:

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