Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Klezmatics: Shnirele Perele

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The Klezmatics are a well-known American klezmer group:
The Klezmatics are world-renowned superstars of the klezmer world. They erupted out of New York City’s East Village in 1986 and revitalized klezmer for the new century.

Their klezmer is one steeped in Jewish spiritualism and Eastern European tradition while incorporating more provocative themes such as social rights and anti-fundamentalism with eclectic musical influences such as gospel, punk, and Arab, African, and Balkan rhythms.

Over the course of nearly twenty years, they have released six albums of wild, spiritual, provocative, reflective, and ecstatically danceable music, forever redefining and transcending traditional labels.
Joshua Nelson, a Black Jew, accompanies The Klezmatics. Nelson sings what he describes as kosher gospel, "the marriage of Jewish religious lyrics and meanings with the soulful sounds of American gospel music."

Many sources say this Yiddish folksong, Shnirele Perele, originated from a Jewish religious source, Got fun Avrom (God of Abraham), a woman’s prayer read at the ending of Shabbat (the Sabbath) on Saturday after sundown. The prayer is attributed, by some sources but not confirmed, to the Rabbi Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev (1740-1810), a Hasidic rabbi who also, according to tradition, wrote several Yiddish songs.

You can hear a version of the prayer done by Bella Bryks-Klein, who supplied the English and Yiddish text; this version was passed down from her mother.

If you have more information on this song's origins, I would be glad to emend this posting.  For your benefit, the lyrics for both the secular folksong and the religious prayer are written below.


Shnirele Perele

Shnirele perele gilderne fon
meshiekh ben dovid zist oybn on
halt a beckher in der rekhter hant
makht a brockhe afn gantsn land.

Oi, omeyn veomen dos iz vor
meshiekh vet kumen hayntiks yor.

Vet er kumen tsu forn
veln zayn gute yorn
vet er kumen tsu raytn
veln zayn gute tsaytn
vet er kumen tsu geyn
veln di yidn in Eretz Yisroyl aynshteyn

English Translation

Ribbons, Pearls

Ribbons, pearls, golden flags
the Messiah, son of David, is above us
he holds a goblet in his right hand
and gives his blessing to the whole earth.

Amen, amen, this is the truth
the Messiah will come this year.

If he comes by riding, good years are ahead.
If he comes by horse, new times are ahead.
If he comes by foot, every Jew will be settled in Eretz
Yisroel.
  
God fun Avrom (God of Abraham)

Got fun Avrom fun Yitskhok un Yankev,
bahit un bashirem dayn lib folk yisrol
vegn daynem loyb.

Got of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,
Protect and shield us, your dear people of Israel
Who praise you.


Az der liber shabes koydesh geyt avek,
az di zise libe vokh zol undz kimen:
tsu gezint, tsu leybn, tsu shulem,
tsi parnuse, tsu gite bsires toyves.

Now that the dear holy Sabbath is leaving,
may the sweet, dear week now come to us
and bring us good health, life, peace
livlihood, good news.


Umeyn Veumeyn! S’zol vern vur
Meylekh hamoshiekh ben duvid zol kimen dus yur.
Kimen zol er tsufurn,
in zayne sheyne yurn.
Kimen zol er tsi raytn
in zayne sheyne tsaytn.

Amen and amen! May it come true
Messiah the King son of David should come this year.
May he come traveling,
and bring with him beautiful years.
May he come riding,
and bring wonderful times.


Eliyahu hanuvi kimt in der hoz arayn,
brengt er aldus gits arayn,
Eliyahu hanuvi geyt fin undzer hoz aros,
trugt er aldus beyzs aros,
Eliyahu hanuvi kimt in undzer hoz aran,
nemt a bekher in der rekhter hant,
Makht a brukhe ibern gantsn land.

Elijah the prophet comes into our house,
and brings all good things inside.
Elijah the prophet leaves our house,
and takes all the bad things out.
Elijah the prophet comes into our house,
and takes a goblet in his right hand,
and makes a blessing over the entire land.


Di brukhe zol hoykh zan,
zol iber undz ale zan.
Tir un toyer shteyt dokh ofn
tsu dir futer, al rakhmim shaday,
in zibetn himl tien mir ale hofn.

The blessing should be loud,
and be over all of us,
Door and Gate are thus open
for you father, god of mercy,
into the seventh heaven we all hope for this. 


A gite vokh! a gezinte vokh!
A gebentshte vokh! A zise vokh!
A sheyne vokh!

A good week! A healthy week!
A blessed week! A sweet week!
A wonderful week!