Yiddish Curiosities: a library of wonderful but forgotten Yiddish songs from the late 1920s and after (includes Polish Jewish Cabaret). Have a listen!

1. Link to list of posts on this site
2. Link to songs for sale
3. Click here for our music videos of Yiddish songs with English subtitles (mainly post-1925)
4. List of the still lost songs. Do you know any of them?
5. Warszawa zumerkurs song links


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Goodbye New York by Pesach Burstein (aka Gud-bay Nyu York)

UPDATE:Reposted because a reader of the blog found a recording of this song, by Aaron Lebedeff, at the Mayrent collection in Wisconsin. Have a listen: גוד־באַי, ניו יאָרק.

Here's a 1-minute Instagram video. It's fun making short videos and the square size is entertaining! Here it is:

Click the album cover to listen to and/or buy our recording of this song, Good-bye New York, from the In Odess cd.

On page 130 of Pesach Burstein's autobiography Oh, What a Life! he mentions this song as being sung in Warsaw, and it appears in one of the Itzik Zhelanek books along with "Zi Hot Es," another number from the same show. Zhelanek says the show was Gasn Zinger but Burstein says it was from Radio Singer.

On my trip to Harvard's Judaica collection I found orchestra parts for this song, but not a lead sheet. That was the case for a number of other songs; I wonder if this was because the singers were afraid their songs would be stolen so they committed them to memory and ate the lyrics pages. I reconstructed the tune from the fiddle part, so it might not be exactly right - I've never heard the song as it was sung. If you "click to order" you can buy the sheet music with translation etc for $2.50 (includes the mp3 of the song):

I think it's pretty obvious why this song became "lost" - the protagonist says he has had ill luck in New York and is going back to Eastern Europe. Nobody would have sung such a thing after the Holocaust. Nikolai Borodulin found, maybe, the town our protagonist was returning to - Berëzovka [Russia], Berezivka [Ukraine], Berezówka [Polish], Beresowka, Beresovka - in Ukraine, 223 miles south of Kiev.

As always, if you have information about this song let me know. I reconstructed the melody from a hand-written fiddle part for the score in Harvard's Widener Library Judaica Collection, it might not be quite right, I've never actually heard anybody sing the song.

Here's the transcription:

Ikh hob farkoyft mayn alte heym
Di kishns oykh farzetst
Gelofn bin ikh zukh glik in goldn land
Gemeynt ikh hob gefunen
Tsum sof hot zi a tsveyter gor
un ikh muz zogn yetst

Good-bye New York (Gud bay niu-york)
ikh for aheym
vayl lenger do farblaybn
iz mir do nisht bakvet
nisht gefunen hob ikh do mayn glik
un take nor derfar muz ikh forn yetst tsurik

Di hener veln krayen
Ven zey veln mikh derzen
Mayn bobe vet zikh prayen
Un mikh oyfnemen sheyn
Gud Bay niu-york
Un vintsh mir glik veyst az
ikh for yetst keyn beryozevke tsurik

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