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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

S'iz nisht geven, s'iz nishto, un s'vet nisht zayn. (It wasn't then, it isn't now, and it never will be) Honesty in this world? Never happen. (Yiddish theater song)

UPDATE: Re-posting to add the video with words and translation:


Or click the album cover to visit the song and the cd Nervez! - or even buy it. Randy Kloko is the soloist.



Itzik Feld, yiddish theater starHere's Isaac Feld, the singer.

Yiddish sheet music from the Library of CongressIs there an honorable person, is there honesty in the world? Nope, never was, isn't now, and never will be. And as for that girl you're panting for, if you think she is a maiden, well...

This uber-cynical song, which appears in Zhelonek as recorded by Itzik Feld, was copyrighted by Julius Jaffe and the indefatigable Morris Rund (but the copyright was never renewed). It was supposed to be at the US Copyright Office according to the card catalog, but it was lost for decades. It appears in Heskes but according to the music librarians at the Library of Congress they didn't have it. My friend Sharon Horowitz at the Judaica Collection in the Library of Congress discovered it for me, in a hidden trove offsite at Landover. She believes there is other lost music out there, but she has not been allowed to go on a field trip to find out.






My English translation from the Yiddish:


Call me what you like, I stand by my belief that there's not a person on the planet who's honest. Every single one wants to be rich, all of you here know it. We all swindle and weasel around the same way, there's nobody honest. If somebody tells me he knows a fine man, a gentleman, I say, "Yeah, right."

It never was, it isn't now, and it never will be. I don't believe the rebbe or even the rebbetsin. These days everything is a masquerade, an act, everybody bluffs and deceives the world. There's nobody honest, I say no. It never was, it isn't now, and it never will be.

I met up with a friend of mine, he told me his good news. "I got married today, brother," he says, "to quite a woman. She's like a pure queen, and that's what I wanted." "Well, brother," says I, "listen up: you're a big patsy. If this, brother, is your source of pride, that she's a virgin, well, sorry, dear brother..."

It never was, it isn't now, and it never will be. I don't believe the rebbe or the rebbetsin herself. Every girl, if she blushes, then I can swear to you she's a virgin. There never was an honest person, I say no. Honesty? It never was, it isn't now, and it never will be.

The third verse, which we did not record:

Di hayntike politikantn zaynen sharlatans
Mir veysn az zey vayzn oys vi blofers un khuligans
Velf in shepsene peltsn, zey opnarn, gift un gal
Di eygene glik mir hobn fun zey iz tsu lakhn fun zeyer skandal
Zey veynen far undz mit tsibele trern
Zey zogn zayne ligns mit kuperne shtern
Un dos iz di sibe farvos mir shvern:

Politicians these days are charlatans, we know they are bluffers and hooligans
Wolves in sheeps' clothing, they deceive and poison
The only happiness we have from them is to laugh at their scandal
They cry onion tears in our presence
They tell their lies completely deadpan
And that's why we swear:

Here is the song as published by Itzik Zhelonek:

Ruft mikh nor vi aykh gefelt
Ikh halt mikh bay dem meyn
Nishto keyn mentsh haynt oyf der velt
Er zol zayn erlikh fayn
Yeder eyner vil zayn raykh
Ir veyst es ale do
Mir shvindlen, dreyen ale glaykh
Keyn erlekhs iz nishto
Tomer zogt mir eyner
Az er ken a faynem man, a 'gentleman,'
Zog ikh, veys ikh vos
Veys ikh ven

refrayn:
Es iz nisht geven, es iz nishto
Un s'vet nisht zayn
Ikh gloyb nisht dem rav
Nisht di rebetsin aleyn
Ale iz dokh haynt maskirt, farshtelt,
A yeder bloft un nart op di velt
Nishto keyn erlekhs, ikh zog neyn
Es iz nisht geven, es iz nishto
Un s'vet nisht zayn

Bagegnt hob ikh mayns a fraynt
Dertseylt er mir a glik,
Ikh hob khasene, zogt er, bruder, haynt
Mit a bsule an antik.
Zi iz vi a malke reyn
Un dos hob ikh gevolt
Ey, bruder, zog ikh, her zikh ayn
Du bist a groyser yold
Oyb dos, bruder, iz dayn gdule
Oyb du meynst, az zi iz a bsule
Bet ikh dikh, bruder, lebn, mekhile

refrayn:
Es iz nisht geven, es iz nishto
Un s'vet nisht zayn
Ikh gloyb nisht dem rav
Nisht di rebetsin aleyn
A yeder meydl, oyb zi vert royt,
Ikh ken dir shvern, az zi iz nokh a moyd
Es iz nishto keyn erlekhs, ikh zog neyn
Es iz nisht geven, es iz nishto
Un s'vet nisht zayn

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