Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Khaye Sores brif (Khaye Sore's letter) - Yiddish theater song by Morris Rund and Abraham Goldfaden

Morris Rund typically sides with the husband in his endless series of songs about rotten marriages, but the jury's out in this case. The man abandoned his wife, now she is an agunah, so he's bad, but she's being shrewish about it, so she's bad too. It's enough to make you despair about the human race!

One of three songs in the Penny Song Collections set to the same tune, which you can hear Richard Tucker sing on Youtube: Faryomert, farklogt.

Bassist Jim Baird and guitarist Ken Bloom joined me on this cut, thanks guys. We perform together, see the Mappamundi Cabaret Warsaw project. Click to hear our recording (I combined parts of the 3rd and 4th verses):

Here's the translation I did, and the songsheet is below:

My dear husband, go to Hell,
May your years be short.
How long has it been? I ask you: write me a letter.
Day and night I wonder, can you live without me there?
I ask you, husband, be so good and send me an answer.

Write soon, my dear husband, don't forget your wife Khaye Soreh
Otherwise, may the devil seize your father,
you'll be sorry.

Oy, Fat Khayke and that dark Dobeh,
They're already happy!
Their husbands sent them two tickets, they're off to America
But I sit imprisoned, waiting,
I keep writing to you.
You aren't waiting for your wife! May you get a lesion,
I want an answer!

Oh, you rascal, you scoundrel,
May the devil find you there.
You went away, woe is me,
You don't want to have me with you.
The child cries for food and you've forgotten
You don't give us anything to live on
I've forgotten everything, even your good points,
And you won't give me an answer!

Maybe you have a wife in my place,
I resent your happiness
Don't think I'll cry for you
I just want you to send me a divorce
Go kill yourself in your new land
God will send me another husband
Take this curse from me, Khaye Sore,
Who waits for you to send her a divorce.

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