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Lyr ADD/Info Req: Friling (Yiddish)

Joe Offer 04 Aug 10 - 03:26 AM
GUEST 04 Aug 10 - 06:43 PM
GUEST,Wolf 08 Aug 10 - 12:28 PM
Joe Offer 08 Aug 10 - 07:02 PM
GUEST,Wolf 08 Aug 10 - 09:44 PM
GUEST 06 Mar 13 - 12:11 PM
Jack Campin 06 Mar 13 - 02:53 PM
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Subject: Lyr ADD/Info Req: Friling
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 03:26 AM

Wolf Krakowski posted something in another thread this evening, and that prompted me to listen to the one Wolf Krakowski album I have, Transmigrations. One song struck me: "Friling" (Springtime). I remember the tune from years and years ago, so I imagine it was something popular in the 1950s that my dad listened to on an easy-listening station. Anybody know English-language songs that use this haunting tune?
Click here for a YouTube video that features the Chava Alberstein recording of this song. I also like this recording very much.

(lyric by Shmerke Katsherginski; melody by Avrom Brudn)
I roam through the ghetto from alley to alley,
And I cannot find any haven;
My beloved is not here, how can I bear it?
Oh, people, at least say something.
The blue sky illuminates my home
But what benefit do I have from it now?
I stand like a beggar at each gate,
And beg for a little bit of sunshine.
     Springtime, dispel my sorrow,
     And bring back my beloved, my adored one to me.
     Springtime, on your blue wings,
     Oh, take my heart with you and return joy to it.
[…] This year springtime came very early,
And my longing blossomed for you once again,
I see you before me all laden with flowers,
Happily you come to me.
The sun showered the garden with its rays,
The earth has sprouted its green.
My adored one, my darling, where have you gone?
You are never out of my mind.
     Springtime, dispel my sorrow…
Ikh blondzhe in geto fun gesl tsu gesl,          
un ken nisht gefinen keyn ort;           
nishto iz mayn liber, vi trogt men ariber?       
mentshn, o zogt khotsh a vort.           
Es laykht? oyf mayn heym itst, der himl der bloyer, 
vos zhe hob ikh itst derfun?   
ikh shtey vi a betler bay yetvidn toyer,          
un betl, a bisele zun.
Friling, nem tsu mayn troyer,             
Un breng mayn libstn, mayn trayen tsurik.    
Friling, oyf dayne fligl bloye,                               
O, nem mayn harts mit un gib es op mayn glik.         
[...] S’iz hay-yor der friling gor fri ongekumen,         
Tseblit hot zikh benkshaft nokh dir,  
Ikh ze dikh vi itster balodn mit blumen,
A freydiker geytse tsu mir.    
Di zun hot fargosn dem gortn mit shtraln,
Tseshprotst hot di erd zikh in grin.    
Mayn trayer, mayn libster, vu bistu farfaln?  
Du geyst nisht aroys fun mayn zin.   
     Friling, nem tsu mayn troyer...

    The moving Yiddish song 'Friling' (Spring) was written by Shmerke Katsherginski in April 1943, after the death of his wife Barbara in the Vilna ghetto. Set to a tango melody composed by fellow inmate Avrom Brudno, the song's lyrics tell of the author's sadness and sense of despair and loneliness.

    English translations by Lloica Czackis and Bella Klein. All lyrics have been adapted and transliterated according to the standardized YIVO Yiddish, except for where is required by rhyme.

Also at Note the additional verse.

Composer: Abraham Brudno


Shmerke Kaczerginski (1908-1954)
(from liner notes to "We are Here - Songs of Remembrance, Hope, and Celbrat Written by the poet after the death of his wife in April 1943. Kaczerginski joined the partisan forces following the liquidatio of the ghetto in September '43. After the war he compiled several hundred poems and song lyrics. He survived the war to meet his death in a plane crash. The music is by Abraham Brudno, who, following the liquidation of the ghetto was deported to a concentration camp in Estonia, where he died.


Translation, etc.

Ikh blondzhe in geto
Fun gesl tsu gesl
Un ken nit gefinen keyn ort
Nito iz mayn liber,
Vi trogt men ariber?
Mentshn, o zogt khotsh a vort.
Es laykht oyf mayn heym itst
Der himl der bloyer
Vos zhe hob ikh itst derfun?
Ikh shtey vi a betler
Bay yetvidn toyre
Un betl a bisele zun.

Friling, nem tsu mayn troyer
Un breng mayn libstn
Maynt trayen tsurik
Friling oyf dayne fligl bloye
O, nem mayn harts mit
Un gib es op mayn glik.

Ikh gey tsu der arbet
Farbay undzer shtibl
In troyer, der toyer farmakht.
Der tog a tsehelter
Di blumen farvelkte,
Zey vanynen, far zey iz oykn nakht.
Far nakht oyf tsurikvegs,
Es noyet der troyer,
Ot do hostu libster gevart.
Ot do inem shotn
Nokh kentik dayn trot iz,
Flegt kushn mikh liblekh un tsart


S'iz hay-yor der friling
Gor fri ongekumen,
Tseblit hot zikh benkshaft nokh dir,
Ikh ze dikh vi itster
Balodn mit blumen,
A freydiker geystu tsu mir.
Di zun hot fargosn
Dem gortn mist shtraln,
Tseshprotst hot di erd zikh in grin
Mayn trayer, mayn libster,
Vu bistu farfaln?
Du geyst nit aroys fun mayn zin.


Here's a singable translation:
I walk through the Ghetto alone and forsaken,
There's no-one to care for me now.
And how can you live when your love has been taken,
Will somebody please show me how?
I know that it's springtime, and birdsong, and sunshine,
All nature seems happy and free,
But locked in the Ghetto I stand like a beggar,
I beg for some sunshine for me.


Springtime, what good is springtime,
What good is sunshine, when he is away?
Springtime, you shine upon my sorrow, but still tomorrow
Is as bleak as today.

The house that we lived in is now barricaded,
The windows are broken and bare.
The sun is so fierce that the flowers have faded,
They wilt in the wintery air.
Each morning, each evening I have to walk past it,
Hiding my eyes from the sight
The place where you loved me the place where you kissed me,
The place where you held me so tight.


How thoughtful, how kind of the heavenly powers
To send spring so early this year.
Why thank you for coming, I see you brought flowers
You want me to welcome you here?
They say that the Ghetto is golden and glowing
But sunlight and tears make me blind.
You see, my beloved, how soon they start flowing
I can't get you out of my mind.


here's another translation:

I wander through the ghetto
From lane to lane
Useless, no solace I find.
My beloved is gone
How can I go on?
Someone, oh say just a word!
My house is aglow now
The sky's like a blue dome
But what is there left in my life?
I stand like a beggar
At each of these doorways
And beg for a little bit of sun

Springtime, please take my sorrow
And bring my loved one,
My dear one back to me.
Springtime, upon your wings of blue
Take my heart with you
And bring love back to me

I go to my work
And pass by our small house
In sadness, the door is closed tight
The days is full of sunlight
But flowers won't bloom now,
They're wilting, for them too it's night
At night when returning
The sadness is burning
Right here love, you waited for me
Right here in the shadows
I still hear your footsteps
You kissed me so passionately


Springitme is with us
This year very early
My longing for you is in bloom.
I see you before me
Adorned with spring lfowres
Smiling, you will greet me soon
The sun's rays have lit up
The garden with sunlight,
Turning the hard earth to geen.
My dearest, my loved one
Are you gone forever?
I can't get you out of my mind.

Clip Location:

Friling (Springtime)

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Subject: RE: Lyr ADD/Info Req: Friling (Yiddish)
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 06:43 PM

Hi Joe:

Thank you for highlighting "Friling" ("Springtime").
I had the opportunity to re-record this greatest of love songs
for the "Rough Guide to Klezmer Revolution" compilation CD.

We recorded it Live in the studio: nine of us all going for it;
it clocked in at one second under eight minutes.

Same personnel as on the Kame'a Media and Tzadik editions with 2 exceptions:
Jaye Simms was replaced by fabulous Latvian songstress Laila Salins on back-up vocals
and with the addition of the stellar Josh Horowitz (Budowitz, Varetski Pass)on accordion.

Jim Armenti's (Lonesome Brothers) electric guitar solo will tear you apart.

zol zaan mit mazl,


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Subject: RE: Lyr ADD/Info Req: Friling (Yiddish)
From: GUEST,Wolf
Date: 08 Aug 10 - 12:28 PM

Dear Joe:

I wouldn't stake my life on it but I seriously doubt there was a commercial or any other recording of "Friling" on an Easy Listening station in the 'Fifties ( with the most extreme possible exception of a =yidishe shtunde= program).

With all great compositions, we tend to think we have heard it before.
That's just one of the ways the brain processes pleasing sound patterns, IMO.

Great site, Joe!



PS: Isn't there a "musical genome site" where you might plug "Friling" in and see what similar melodies have been documented?

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Subject: RE: Lyr ADD/Info Req: Friling (Yiddish)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Aug 10 - 07:02 PM

Hi, Wolf-
I'm sure I heard the melody before I heard the song sung in Yiddish. It sounds Latin American to me.

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Subject: RE: Lyr ADD/Info Req: Friling (Yiddish)
From: GUEST,Wolf
Date: 08 Aug 10 - 09:44 PM

Hi Joe:

Of course, it sounds Latin American; it's a tango.
The tango was all the rage with hip Jews between the wars in E. Europe.
Brudno could have "stolen" it or adapted it.
Like the blues, there was a lot of cross-fertilization within
standard forms. You could probably find a similar melody in the repertoire of Carlos Gardel. Or that of guitarist Oscar Aleman, who used to sub for Django in Paris when he was too fu%^ed up to play or had a hot date.

Take it easy,


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Subject: RE: Lyr ADD/Info Req: Friling (Yiddish)
Date: 06 Mar 13 - 12:11 PM

Hello Joe:

Hope all is well.
Had an opportunity to perform "Friling" @ Memorial to Adrienne Cooper
(NYC 12/22/12).

Peace and Love,

Wolf Krakowski

Kame'a Media:

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Subject: RE: Lyr ADD/Info Req: Friling (Yiddish)
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Mar 13 - 02:53 PM

Could somebody tell me the chords? The score is here:

where the tune is just about readable but the chord symbols are sometimes too small and blurry.

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