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Lyr Req: Papirosn

21 Mar 01 - 11:48 AM (#422442)
Subject: Papirosn
From: toadfrog

Does any one know where the lyrics can be found (preferably in transliterated form)? I can only get half way through the chorus.

21 Mar 01 - 01:53 PM (#422562)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Papirosn
From: Sorcha

Click here Phonetic version, then if you scroll down you'll find a clickie to the English translation, and MIDI.

21 Mar 01 - 07:14 PM (#422791)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Papirosn
From: Mark Cohen

Sorcha, thanks for that wonderful site and the beautiful renditions on it. That's been one of my favorite Yiddish songs for a long time; I just love the melody. Now I can finally learn the whole thing!

By the way, very astute Mudcatters may notice that the singer in the Yiddish Renaissance version sings the vowel "ee" or short "i", when the printed lyrics say "u". That's the accent my grandparents spoke with, which they called "Galitzianer" (Galician), as opposed to the "Litvaks" (Lithuanian), who would use the "u" sound.


21 Mar 01 - 10:17 PM (#422871)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Papirosn
From: Sorcha

Mark, glad I could help. I wouldn't know about the tune or pronounciations, my sound is broke and I can't seem to fix it!!

22 Mar 01 - 12:39 AM (#422919)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Papirosn
From: toadfrog

Sorcha, your most kind help is much appreciated. The Jewish Renaissance version is one of the most moving songs I know.

11 Oct 04 - 01:42 AM (#1294116)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Papirosn
From: GUEST,Abraham Diner

I always felt that this song is a TANGO, and
that it should be transLated into Spanish and
sung and danced to in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
tHE tANGO sound was very popular in the 1930's
when it was made popular by Carlos Gardel.

11 Oct 04 - 02:35 AM (#1294120)
Subject: ADD: Papirosn
From: Joe Offer

Hmmm. I guess we never got the lyrics posted. Here are the lyrics I found at Zemerl, the Jewish song database:


A kalte nakht a nepldike finster umetum,
shteyt a yingele fartroyert un kukt zikh arum.
Fun regn shitst im nor a vant,
a koshikl halt er in hant,
un zayne oygn betn yedn shtum.

Ikh hob shoyn nit keyn koyekh mer
arumtsugeyn in gaz, hungerig un
opgerizn fun dem regn naz.
Ikh shlep arum zikh fun baginen,
keyner git nisht tsu fardinen,
ale lakhn, makhn fun mir shpaz.

Kupitye koyft she, koyft she papirosn,
trukene fun regn nisht fargozn.
Koyft she bilik benemones,
koyft un hot oyf mir rakhmones,
ratevet fun hunger mikh atsind..
Kupitye koyft she shvebelakh antikn,
dermit verd ir a yosiml derkvikn.
Umzizt mayn shrayen un mayn loyfn,
keyner vil bay mir nit koyfn,
oysgeyn vel ikh muzn vi a hunt.

Mayn tate in milkhome hot farloyrn zayne hent,
mayn mame hot di tsores mer oyshaltn nisht gekent.
Yung in keyver zi getribn,
bin ikh oyf der velt farblibn,
ungliklekh un elnt vi a shteyn.
Breklekh klayb ikh oyf tsum ezn
oyf dem kaltn mark,
a harte bank iz mayn geleger in dem kaltn park.
In dertsu di politziantn, shlog mikh shvern kantn,
z'helft nit mayn betn, mayn geveyn.

Ikh hob gehat a shvesterl, a kind fun der natur,
mit mir tsusamen zikh geshlept hot zi a gants yor.
Mit ir geven iz mir fil gringer, laykhter vern flegt
der hunger, ven ikh fleg a kuk ton nor oyf ir.
Mit amol gevorn iz zi shvakh un zeyer krank,
oyf mayne hent iz zi geshtorbn oyf a gazn-bank.
Un az ikh hob zi farloyrn, hob ikh alts ongevoyrn,
zol der toyt shoyn kumen oykh tsu mir.

A cold night, foggy, and darkness everywhere
A boy stands sadly and looks around.
Only a wall protects him from the rain
He holds a basket in his hand
and his eyes beg everyone silently:
I don't have any strength left to walk the streets
Hungry and ragged, wet from the rain,
I shlep around from dawn.
Nobody gives me any earnings,
everyone laughs and makes fun of me

Buy my cigarettes!
Dry ones, not wet from the rain
Buy real cheap,
Buy and have pity on me.
Save me from hunger now
Buy my matches, wonderful ones, the best,
and with that you will uplift an orphan.
My screaming and my running will be for naught.
Nobody wants to buy from me-
I will have to perish like a dog.

My father lost his hands in the war
My mother couldn't bear her troubles anymore
And was driven to her grave at a young age
I was left on this earth unhappy and alone like a stone
I gather crumbs to eat in the *c*old market
A hard bench in the cold park is my bed
and on top of that, the police
beat me with the edges of their swords and sticks
my pleas and my cries are of no use.


I had a little sister, a child of nature
Together we shlepped around for an entire year.
When with her, it was much easier for me.
My hunger would become lighter when I glanced at her
Suddenly she became weak and sick
died in my arms on a street bench
And when I lost her I lost everything
Let death come already for me, too.

Zemerl -

15 May 07 - 03:28 AM (#2052092)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Papirosn
From: allie kiwi

I've always loved this song and it's fabulous to see what all the words actually are, rather than be bumbling my way through them.

I had 'Papirosn' dubbed off a CD belonging to an acquaintance over a decade ago, but both the acquaintance and the dubbed version are long gone. I've no idea who the singer was. Does anyone have suggstions of CDs to purchase with a good version of the song on?


15 May 07 - 03:40 AM (#2052097)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Papirosn
From: Joe Offer

Hi, Allie - If I'm lucky, this link (click) will lead you to CD's with recordings of "Papirosn." The only one I've heard is the very good one by the Klezmer Conservatory Band on their Yiddishe Renaissance CD.


15 May 07 - 11:56 AM (#2052418)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Papirosn
From: Stewart

Here's a Klezmer instrumental version - it sounds rather happy. But the song is the saddest I've ever heard. When I first heard the song, not knowing the words, I knew it was sad. But then the words make it even more so. Yet I love to sing the song. The link by Sorcha (2nd post) to the song on my web site still works, although the link to the Yiddish Renaissance version no longer works (I've since taken it off).

Cheers, S. in Seattle

15 May 07 - 06:36 PM (#2052884)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Papirosn
From: allie kiwi

Brilliant! Thanks to both of you.

I'd even tried looking on youtube to see if anyone had uploaded something there, but sadly not. (Unless they mis-spelt Papirosn)


15 May 07 - 09:23 PM (#2053003)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Papirosn
From: GUEST,Gerry

The lyrics were written around 1931, inspired by what the writer had seen in Eastern Europe during and after World War I. The tune goes back considerably farther, is of unclear ethnic origin, and, as an instrumental, can be played sad, happy, or anywhere in between. It's rarely played happy nowadays because so many people associate it with these lyrics.

Since the title is a transliteration, it's not clear to me that a different spelling is automatically a mistake. I've seen it spelled Papirossen.

Maybe the best recording (IMHO) is by Elizabeth Schwarz, the vocalist for and wife of Yale Strom. I think it's on the CD, Garden of Yidn, on Naxos. Abraham Diner (a few posts up) will be happy to know that they do it with something of a tango beat.

That album, and their other album, Cafe Jew Zoo, have a lot of terrific instrumental and vocal pieces.

04 Dec 07 - 05:17 AM (#2208121)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Papirosn
From: GUEST,simon84

Hi, does anyonw know the chords to play along Papirosn? Thanks

16 Jan 08 - 07:40 AM (#2237591)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Papirosn
From: GUEST,Volgadon

I was very surprised to find this song covered by Arkady Severny.
An interesting performance.

12 Oct 10 - 10:37 PM (#3005662)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Papirosn

There is a band in Louisiana called the Zydepunks who have recorded this song in the upbeat, Klezmer style. Klezmer was a major influence on the Dixieland and jazz sounds coming out of New Orleans, and this is a band that has started looking back to its roots. Their CD contains songs from the French, Spanish, Yiddish, Cajun, Creole and Louisiana Zydeco genres, all with a modern beat behind it. You can get it here

12 Oct 10 - 11:44 PM (#3005684)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Papirosn
From: Stewart

Here's a youtube video of the song

Cheers, S. in Seattle