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Friday, April 22, 2016

Khsidemlekh zingen (Khsidemlekh tantsn) - Yiddish theater song by Yosele Kolodny

UPDATE:Reposted to add the Instagram minute-video I just made, but then I found a live version from the first time pianist Aviva Enoch and I performed the song. So here are both.


Yosele Kolodny, composer of this song, died in the Holocaust. Little is known about him. He was composer of another song in the Itzik Zhelonek collection - Dem Rebns Shirayim - which I have not been able to find (it's possible it was sung to a tune very much like this one, the scansion is similar). In the book The Jews of Pinsk, 1881 to 1941 Yosele Kolodni is mentioned as a young actor, a Pinsker, married to Ulia Rabinowitsch, performing in a comedy called Dolarn in 1923.

Zhelonek sold (and transcribed) a 78 made by Yossele Kolodni himself, but I haven't found it. Ben Bonus sang the song - as a cheery tango - and that's what I transcribed (download his version here). It's at the Dartmouth Jewish Sound Archive. At the Freedman catalogue you can find mention of quite few recordings of the song, which is sometimes called Khasidemlekh Tantsn and sometimes Khasidemlekh Zingen. These include a performance by Ben and Florence Belfer available online in the Florida Atlantic University collection: Khasidimlakh. Chava Kramer sent me the link.

Click the album cover below to hear and/or buy this track and all the others from our cd Nervez!




hasidic dancing




The slippers and socks mentioned here are cited in Wikipedia:

Hasidim in the mid-19th century show a far more Levantine outfit (i.e. a kaftan lacking lapels or buttons) that differs little from the classical oriental outfit consisting of the kaftan, white undershirt, sash, knee-breeches (halbe-hoyzn), white socks and slippers (shtibblat). This outfit allegedly had a Babylonian origin before its later adoption by Jews, Persians and lastly the Turks, who brought it to Europe.

Here's my translation:

When the rebbe gets up from the table he winks at the sexton Shepsl
The chasids eat zestily after some good shnaps
There is such spirit, such enthusiastic
Everybody sings and shouts, everybody is in the dances.

Who's worrying now? Banish melancholy!
One sits with the rebbe and God will provide,
Who is there to be afraid of?

Hasids sing and swallow, they twine together in the circle
In high spirits, one turns on the feet, it's an important dance.
Faces with beards, peyus, fur hats, feet in slippers and socks
Dancing and singing, fired up and springing and the hands clapping

Remember the merchant Reb Pinkhus? Poverty whistles through his house.
He has troubles without end, don't ask.
He has seven daughters, each of the marrying age
But since no destined one has come along
They're all just getting older.

Who's worrying now? Banish melancholy!
One sits with the rebbe and God will provide,
Who is there to be afraid of?

Hasids sing and swallow, they twine together in the circle
In high spirits, one turns on the feet, it's an important dance.
Faces with beards, peyus, fur hats, feet in slippers and socks
Dancing and singing, fired up and springing and the hands clapping

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