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Child Ballads - Yiddish versions

05 Oct 21 - 06:47 PM (#4121980)
Subject: Folklore: Child Ballads - Yiddish versions
From: Felipa

Many ballads of the British Isles codified by Francis Child have versions collected elsewhere in Europe. For instance Child mentioned French and German language variants of "Our Goodman". Yiddish speakers were not so isolated from majority popular culture as you and I may have thought. So since I've come across Our Goodman (Seven Drunken Nights, Dos Daytshl and a version of The Elfin Knight in Yiddish, I'm wondering what else is out there (the older the better). Any suggestions?

Going beyond the Child Ballads to other widespread traditional/folksongs, there is also The Rattlin' Bog aka The Tree in the Wood aka Funem Sheynem Vortsl Aroys and I'm sure there are more songs in this category to be found in Yiddish language .

05 Oct 21 - 07:25 PM (#4121982)
Subject: RE: Child Ballads - Yiddish versions
From: Felipa

versions of the Elfin Knight are discussed in pages 82-89 of "The Folk Songs of Ashkenaz", Volume 6
edited by Philip V. Bohlman, Otto Holzapfel
which I saw part of in Google books. Songs selected for this book are mainly those which have variants in both German and Yiddish.

06 Oct 21 - 04:14 AM (#4122005)
Subject: RE: Child Ballads - Yiddish versions
From: GerryM

The same Susan McKeown & Lorin Sklamberg CD, Saints & Tzadiks, that has The Rattlin' Bog / Funem Sheynem Vortsl Aroys, also has Yiddish and Scots versions of Child 11, The Cruel Brother. The Yiddish version is titled, Fort a Yidele Fort Aroys, A Young Man Rode Out.

06 Oct 21 - 08:33 AM (#4122043)
Subject: RE: Child Ballads - Yiddish versions
From: Felipa

Fort a Yidele, Fort Aroys sheet music, transliteration and translation is published as #28 in Jewish Life: the Old Country by Ruth Rubin. Again, I saw that in Google books so I can't easily reproduce it on Mudcat. I haven't tried yet to compare with the song sung by Voices of Askenaz. They have lyrics set to a tune attributed to Michael Alpert (a contemporary American who was raised in a Yiddish-speaking family)

I see a song in the afore-mentioned Ruth Rubin book which has counterparts in English and German language songs, but which it seems to me could have been derived independently: #53 Tsi Vus Zhe Gibn Dir, Mayn Lib Kind (what will I give you, my dear child -mein leibes kind). A mother and daughter discuss what sort of man the daughter should marry and why life with a cobber, blacksmith, carpenter is hard and life with a doctor is better. Substitute a musician for a doctor, and one could pair this song with the Irish "Ceol an Phíobaire" although in the latter the narration is by the piper himself and there is not a dialogue.

Another mother-daughter conversation is found in "Mame a Kholem"
"The motif of the lover who returns as a beggar is as old as Homer’s Odyssey and is found in ballads throughout the world. In this Yiddish ballad version, the former lover is not disguised as a beggar but has indeed become one because of his 'character'.

"I consider this ballad to be one of Lifshe Schaechter-Widman’s [LSW] masterpieces. Not only because it is certainly among the older songs in her repertoire, but because of the deeply emotional way she performs it, concluding with the dramatic last verse in which the woman reveals to her mother who is at the door.

In typical old ballad style, the dialogue prevails: first between mother and daughter, then between daughter and beggar (former lover) and finally, again, between daughter and mother. There is a break in the narrative after the third verse when the dialogue changes and at this point Leybl Kahn, who is recording the song, feels compelled to ask LSW to continue.

"This transition from third to fourth verse is noteworthy. A new plot/scene develops at this point. It leads me to believe that originally there might have been two ballads that were combined to form one.

"Supporting this idea are the awkward transitions between the two scenes in all the versions. We also have examples of separate ballads. Singer/researcher Michael Alpert recorded Fanya Moshinskaya, (born 1915 in Babyi Yar, Kiev), singing a ballad of the first scene – ‘Oy a kholem’. And he has recorded Bronya Sakina (1910 – 1988) from Olvanisk (Holovanivsk/Golovanevsk, Ukraine) singing a ballad – 'Derbaremt aykh'- depicting the beggar/lover scene. Alpert currently sings both of them and sometimes combines them."

06 Oct 21 - 08:36 AM (#4122044)
Subject: RE: Child Ballads - Yiddish versions
From: Felipa Vus Tisti du Sheyn Meydele is similar to Yo Yo Du Vilst cited in the first message of this discussion thread.