Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Vayl ikh lib dikh (Because I Love You) - romantic Yiddish theater song from 1899

Because I love you
With the melody from the English song Because I Love You
Sung by artist Elias Rothstein
Written by Louis Gilrod




There are two period recordings of this song, which was originally written in German by composer Theodore Wottitz: Weil ich dich liebe. It was recorded in Germany in 1907 by "The Black Nightingale" "The South American Caruso" "Australische nachtigall" Arabella Fields (or Belle Fields): Because I Love You

It was recorded eight years earlier by now-completely-unknown theater singer May Kelso: Because. She was also known as Maym Kelso or Mayme Kelso, born in 1867. There's information about her at that Youtube link.

The Yiddish version appeared in Judah Katzenelenbogen's Lider magazin. I once said Louis Gilrod wrote only one truly romantic song () but I was wrong. This is another one. I got Bob Vasile, who I've played with since 1981, to play guitar on our rendition, which is faster than the originals. Here's our living room recording from yesterday:


Transliteration and translation from the Yiddish after the jump.


Vayl ikh lib dikh

Ven ales iz ruik un shtil
Ven es ruen vald un flur
Ven ales vos lebt iz vi toyt
Ven es shloft shtil di natur
Dan vakh ikh un denk fun dir,
Nor fun dir aleyn ikh trakht.
Tsi bistu gliklekh irgend vu?
Ikh bet far dir tog un nakht...

Vayl ikh lib dikh yo vayl ikh lib dikh
In mayn herts trog ikh dayn bild
Dayn sheyn gezikht zo mild
Vayl ikh lib dikh yo vayl ikh lib dikh
Nor dir gehert mayn "ikh"
Vayl ikh lib nor dikh

Meglekh ven in lebns veg
Ven ikh tref dikh a mol nokh aleyn
Un du bist di zelbe dan
Un dayn herts vi a mol nokh reyn
Dan vet nokh shaynen mayn zun
Un treystn mikh vet dayn blik
Mir veln nokh tsuzamen zayn
Un lebn vider in ful glik

Because I Love You

When everything is peaceful and still
When the woods and flowers rest
When everything that lives is as if dead
When nature sleeps quietly
Then I wake, and think of you,
I think only of you.
Are you happy somewhere?
I pray for you day and night...

Because I love you
I carry your image in my heart,
Your beautiful, mild face
Because I love you
My being belongs to you
Because I love only you

Perhaps on life's journey
If I chance upon you, still alone,
And you are the same then
And your heart is as pure as before
Then my sun will shine again
And your glance will console me
We will be together again
And live once more in full happiness


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

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