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


Friday, April 22, 2016

Kolumbus, ikh hob tsu dir gornit (Columbus, I've got nothing against you)

UPDATE: Reposted to include a 60-second Instagram video. I just noticed Routenote has been churning out fake videos of our songs via some kind of bot. But the ones I post have translations in the subtitles. You can see the ones I really make here: Yiddish songs with English subtitles and here: Yiddish Penny Song videos. So here's Columbus ikh hob tsu dir gornisht, Randy Kloko is singing baritone:

Sheet music for Columbus ikh hob tsu dir gornishtFrom the Yiddish point of view, "I have nothing against you" is actually high praise. I found the sheet music (Friedsell & Meyerovitz) at YIVO. When Zhelonek printed the song in Warsaw Poland he removed the Americanisms and added some mysterious things like ritsneyl (I thought it would be root beer but it's evidently cod-liver oil) and tani-kukhniyes (which is probably some kind of Polish cookie).

There are some good jokes in this one. It's much more optimistic and cheerful than, say, Kolumbus mit zayn golden land

We recorded this on our cd Nervez: Columbus, ikh hob tsu dir gornisht.

Lyrics translation:

America, you dear land, you please me like a good pudding
You're a marvel for us Jews, we'd do anything for you
People say your earth is very good
Uncle Sam, with his beard, looks like a Jew too
You're like a mother to us
Every woman is a lady by you,
Everybody is a "mister" there from a shoemaker to a doctor

Columbus, I've got nothing against you,
Your America isn't bad
Jews, sing with me:
Columbus, I've got nothing against you
Let's dance

Everything good is there, milk meals, meat meals, hot, cold,
Cookies, cod-liver oil, bitter salts,
People run and shout, it's a winter without snow and without sunshine
One can even travel safely underground
It's a land of everything good, without enemies or anti-Semites
Everybody lives like a duke there, from a bird to a slave

America with your homeland, I'm just dying for you
With you, every greenhorn gets rich and important
My landsman Chaim with the nose, he used to be an attendant in the bathhouse
Now he's a big deal, nobody holds a candle to him
And his wife, that coarse cow, is now President of a Women's Society
She's become a lady overnight. She dances the Charleston on one foot.

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Anonymous Jan Kulig said...


bunch of comments about Polish in (your) Yiddish above, if you do not mind, right from Warsaw, Poland:

rycyna [reetseenah] - castor oil
cod-liver oil - tran [trahn]

Both were widely used in pre-war Poland as a cure for various diseases, as well as in post-war Poland, too. I still remember their terrible taste. Now rather out of use.

tania kuchnia [tahnyah kookhnyah] - cheap bar or low-priced eatery, a slightly derogatory term yet with some understaning for, actually, poverty, hidden beneath, sort of "I understand you can hardly afford a better restaurant yet one has to feed himself, so go enjoy".

Also used to describe a way to cook at home at no big cost.

Its 1944-1989 version was called the "bar mleczny", i.e. a cheap, socialist state-sponsored eatery for everybody. Some remnants still exist, though.

December 15, 2017 at 5:43 PM  

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