Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Sunday, December 20, 2020

Shmuelik, Ezrielik aka Shmilik Gavrilik - not really a children's song by Isaac Reingold

Shmulik, Ezrilik
Created by Isaac Reingold
Music by G Mendelson (or N Mendelson)

(Click for larger view)


I couldn't find this song, I couldn't even find the composer, but thanks to the Yiddish music group on Facebook, the song was found - under the title Shmilik Gavrilik (or Shmulik Gavrilik). There are two recordings on YouTube: by Mark Olf and by Helene Engel

Both of these performances imply the song is for children, but the words are quite dark (as we expect from Isaac Reingold). We don't have a good word for a shmayser - it means somebody who whips or flogs, so "driver" is a very pallid translation and the bite of the original is lost.

Transliteration and translation from the Yiddish after the jump.
Shmuelik, Ezrielik, khaverimlekh tsvey
Zey shpiln zikh beyde, keyn glaykhn tsu zey
In ferdlakh, mit shverdlakh, in zamd un in erd
Shmuelik a shmayser, Ezrielik a ferd

Shmuelik, Ezrielik, zey vaksen zikh oys
Es kumt zey in zinen, Amerika iz groys
Zey kumen tsu shvimen, tsur goldener erd
Shmuelik der shmayser, Ezrielik dos ferd

Shmuelik, Ezrielik, a goldene land
Shmuelik a bos, un Ezrielik zayn hand
Shmuelik in himl, Ezrielik in d'rerd
Shmuelik a shmayser, Ezrielik a ferd!


Shmuelik, Ezrielik, two little friends
They play together, nobody's their equal
In horseplay, with swords, in sand and in earth
Shmuelik with the whip, Ezrielik a horse

Shmuelik, Ezrielik, they grow up
They start to think, America is big
They float across to the Golden Land
Shmuelik the driver, Ezrielik the horse

Shmuelik, Ezrielik, a golden land
Shmuelik a boss, and Ezrielik his worker
Shmuelik in heaven, Ezrielik in hell
Shmuelik a flogger, Ezrielik a horse!

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

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