Dem Zeydns Nign

from by Zing Along Ensemble

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about

This song is set to a philosophic poem by Shike (Ovsey) Driz, a Soviet Yiddish author. Driz was beloved by generations of Soviet children who may not have realized that most of his poems were originally written in Yiddish. This poem is about a search for a little tune, dos nigndl, with a wise, warm and deep smile on zeyde’s (grandpa’s) face, is quite appropriate for Shabbat, as it might be the only day when we have the time to get to the bottom of the glass to look for that elusive long-forgotten family song.

This recording is of a setting of the poem by the contemporary New York-based songwriter and filmmaker Josh Waletzky.

lyrics

TRANSLITERATION - DEM ZEYDNS NIGN
Gis mir on, mayn tayere,
A bekherl mil vayn­
Lekhayim vel ikh trinken,
Gezunt zolstu mir zayn!

Gehert hob ikh dertseyln,
Az in dem vayn dem altn
Hot aleyn der zeydenyu
A nigndl bahaltn.

Gis mir on, mayn tayere,
A glezele mit yayin!
Far ale mayn libe
Vel ikh oystrinken lekhayim!

Gehert hob ikh dertseyln­
Un s'iz mistam keyn lign,
Az in der tsveyter koyse
Ligt dem zeydns nign

Gis mir on, mayn tayere,
Dem same bestn yayin,
Lomir take far dem nign
Oystrinken lekhayim !

Gehert hob ikh dertseyln,
Az dortn muz er lign-
Az oyfn dno fun dritn kos­
Der nign-she-benign.

TRANSLATION - GRANDFATHER'S TUNE
Pour me, my dear,
A goblet of wine.
I'll drink a toast
To your good health.

I've heard people say
That in the old wine,
My grandfather himself
Hid a little tune

Pour me, my dear,
A glass of wine.
I' II drink a toast
To all my loved ones.

I've heard people say,
And it's probably true,
That my grandfather’s tune
Is in the second half

Pour me, my dear,
From the very best wine. Let's drink a toast
To that tune.

I've heard people say
That it must be there,
At the bottom of the third cup,
The tune to end all tunes.

RUSSIAN TRANSLATION - Дедушкин Напев
Налей мне, дорогая,
Хоть стопочку вина,
Что за твое здоровье
Распита быть должна.

Упрятал дед мой песенку
В холодном том вине.
Дошли до меня слухи:
Она на самом дне.

Налей мне, дорогая,
Теперь еще одну.
За все моих любимых
Ее я подниму.

Дошли до меня слухи,
Я доверяю им,
Что также в этой стопочке
Мы песенку таим.

Налей мне, дорогая,
Вина таких сортов,
Чтоб стопочку за песенку
Я выпить был готов.

Сказал знаток, которому
Всем верить надлежит:
На дне той третьей стопочки
Песенка лежит.

credits

from Zing Along Shabes, released December 30, 2014
Music by J. Waletsky. Poetry by S. Driz. Russian translation by Slutskoy.

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Zing Along New York, New York

Zing Along Shabes is a companion musical recording to the Zing Along Shabes project, a set of materials to help families foster traditions around celebrating Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest. The project was created by Inna Barmash, Dmitri Zisl Slepovitch and Irina Sheynfeld. ... more

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