Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Thursday, August 5, 2021

About Sani Shapiro, publisher of penny songs

It had never occurred to me to look for Sani in Zylbercweig's Leksikon fun yidishn teater, but he's there! Here is the translation done by Berl Cohen:

SANI SHAPIRO (March 25, 1861-February 11, 1931)
He was born with the Jewish first name of Nosenel-Dovid in Jassy (Iași), Romania. He traveled around with acting troupes or on his own, singing songs through Romanian taverns and wealthy establishments. In the early years of the century, he emigrated to New York. He sold old things in an alleyway, among them storybooks and poetry that he would publish at two or four pages in length. In two such collections were the songs: “Der komisher kidesh” (The comic benediction), “Der ployderzak” (The chatterbox) “Der yontefdiker kidesh” (The holiday benediction), “Borkhu” (Call to prayer), “Fraytig af der nakht” (Friday night), “Der kidesh fun purim” (The Purim benediction), “Der farmishter kidesh fun shvues” (The mixed up benediction for Shavuot), “Veyiten lekho” (And he will give it to you), “Hamavdil” (The separation), and “Di havdole” (The ceremony at the end of the Sabbath). He wrote several songs of his own, but inasmuch as no song bears the author’s name, it is difficult to identify Shapiro’s songs. He also published the pamphlet: Vi azoy tsu veren a sitizen, nokh dem nayem gezets (How to become a citizen, according to the new law) (New York, 1915), 31 pp. He died in New York.


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

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