Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Oy der yeytser hore (Oh, the Evil Inclination) - Aaron Lebedeff's anti-Valentine's Day anthem

I'm in a hurry to get off to the protest at my senator's office (why won't Thom Tillis hold a town hall meeting and listen to his constituents?) so this is a quickie, I wanted it to launch on Valentine's Day.

Aaron Lebedeff (Lebedof, Lebedoff, Lebedev, Lebedef, etc) was known as a womanizer. But what a voice! And I guess when he tells girls to be careful, boys don't mean everything they say, he knows from personal experience.

I think he was about five feet tall.

Anyway, I came across this song when I was looking for another one (a cooler one) with the same title, sung by Annie Lubin. I don't have the words for that one but hope to find them some day.

"Der yeytser hore" is a creepy concept. I was taught it means "the evil inclination" but it's often used to mean "sex." Its original meaning is richer and more nuanced, I encourage you to google it and find out.

The song was transliterated "Oi der jeizer hore" and "Oi der yeizer hore" if you want to find it.

Click below for the video:



Text and translation (including the first verse, which is not on the recording) and also the sheet music cover after the jump.



Whoever wants a peaceful life and wants to look young and fine
I have advice for you and you'll thank me.
First of all, be modest, never do anything bad
You must avoid the Evil Inclination when you see it
You'll be a fine, good person.
And if you always do as I tell you
Then you'll thank me kindly for my advice.

Because when the Evil Inclination harasses you
Then you must unquestionably vanquish it
Don't creep into forbidden places
Even if you know it's nothing
Follow my advice and understand it,
You'll thank me.

Boys, when you go around with girls and live the high life
Don't be bothered by the skirts, and remember what I say:
With a girl, when she goes walking around,
Look, I beg you, but don't fall in love too much.
And if she wants you to take her to the wedding canopy
Tell her, there's no hurry
And when the pretty girl gets heated up and blushes
Take to your heels, good brother, run away quickly and save yourself from death

Girls, listen to my advice now
And you, too: understand my plan!
Listen well and understand, you'll thank me:
If you're hanging out with a guy, you should know
Not everything he tells you is true.
See that later you won't get aggravated
And that you won't be a fool.
And when a handsome boy embraces you this way
Don't be embarrassed, girls, and tell him: Brother, No!



For sheet music and/or performances contact me: jane@mappamundi.com

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