Speaking of Buenos Aires…

First of all, thanks to all of you for your kind comments and words of encouragement <g>. Makes me happy…

Up early this morning, so I got to work at the crack o’ dawn to work on the blog.

Since my last post was about my trip to Buenos Aires, I thought I would continue on that theme from a slightly different angle, specifically songs that came out of the experiences of young women abducted by the notorious Zwi Migdal Society, an organization of Jewish gangsters who ran a world-wide prostitution ring. These can be found in Yiddish Folksongs from the Ruth Rubin Archives, published by Wayne State University Press in cooperation with YIVO in 2007.

But first, let’s see and hear Ruth Rubin herself, accompanied by Pete Seeger(!):

Ruth and Pete: Tum balalayke

I came across these songs while working on Saints and Tzadiks, my Irish-Yiddish project with Dublin-born chanteuse Susan McKeown. We took all the Yiddish material from Ruth’s book, including one tale of a young woman being lured to Buenos Aires with promises of nice places to sleep, beautiful jewels to wear and gite tshekolyade tsi nashn.

Lucky too, for us, that all of Ruth’s original field recordings are housed here at YIVO. Here is Charles Leiken performing the song in 1947, accompanying himself on the mandolin…

Fin mayn mamelyu hot men mikh aroysgenimen

In the same section of the book (Songs of the Underworld), there’s another piece from the same period. Rubin’s informant, Harry Ary (recorded in Montréal in 1955), sings it here:

Oy, unter dem himl ligt di shtot Bunos-ayres

Oh, under the sky lies the city of Buenos Aires, where no God exists in the world. Where such beautiful young girls are taken away to Buenos Aires, and they are sold for so many millions…

I am looking forward to attending KlezKanada for the first time this coming August, where I will be teaching a song repertoire class using material drawn exclusively from this incredible treasure trove of Yiddish song.


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4 Responses to Speaking of Buenos Aires…

  1. Janet Leuchter says:

    Sh’koyekh un a hartsikn dank, Lorin–wonderful.

  2. Semafor says:

    Dear blogger, I enjoyed this song immensely. Please keep up the good work, and follow your teaser with more posts! Best wishes from Poland.

  3. itzik gottesman says:

    A variant (almost exact) of the song “Mayn mamelu hostu mikh aroysgenumen” with melody appears in Shmuel Lehman’s collection “Di untervelt in ire lider” (The underworld in its songs) on pages 47-48. A variant of the first verse of “Oy unter dem himl…” is found on page 53, song 4, no melody. Lehman’s collection was printed in “Arkhiv far yidisher sprakhvisnshft, literaturforshung un etnologye”, pp. 115-78, Warsaw 1926-33.

  4. Pingback: All about the gonifs CD: Di Moyd fun Gas – Jeanette Lewicki

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