Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Papirosn (Buy My Cigarettes)

English translation of Yiddish lyric:

A cold night, foggy, and darkness everywhere.
A boy stands sadly and looks around.
Only a wall protects him from the rain.
He holds a basket in his hand
and his eyes beg everyone silently:

I don't have any strength left
to walk the streets hungry and
ragged, wet from the rain,
I shlep around from dawn.
Nobody gives me any earnings,
everyone laughs and makes fun of me.

Buy my cigarettes!
Dry ones, not wet from the rain.
Buy real cheap,
Buy and have pity on me.
Save me from hunger now

Buy my matches, wonderful ones, the best,
and with that you will uplift an orphan.
My screaming and my running will be for nothing
Nobody wants to buy from me-
I will have to die like a dog.

My father lost his hands in the war.
My mother couldn't bear her troubles anymore
And was driven to her grave at a young age.
I was left on this earth unhappy and alone like a stone.
I gather crumbs to eat in the cold market.

A hard bench in the cold park is my bed.
And on top of that, the police
beat me with the edges of their swords and sticks.
My pleas and my cries are of no use.

I had a little sister, a child of nature.
Together we shlepped around for an entire year.
When with her, it was much easier for me.
My hunger would weaken when I glanced at her.

Suddenly she became weak and sick,
died in my arms on a street bench.
And when I lost her I lost everything.
Let death come already for me, too.

Original Yiddish lyric:

A kalte nakht, a nebldike finster umetum
sheyt a yingele fartroiert un kukt zikh arum
Fun regn shtist im hor a vant, A koshikl trogt er in hant,
un zayne oygn betn yedn shtum

Ikh hob shoyn nit keyn koyekh mer arumtsugeyn in gaz,
hungerig un opgerizn fun dem regn naz.
Ikh shlep arum zikh fun baginen, keyner git nisht tsu fardinen,
ale lakhn, makhn fun mir shpaz.

Kupitye koyft zhe, koyft zhe papirosn,
trukene fun regn nisht fargozn.
Koyft she bilik benemones, koyft un hot oyf mir rakhmones,
ratevet fun hunger mikh atsind.

Kupitye koyft she shvebelakh antikn,
dermit verd ir a yosiml derkvikn.
Umzizt mayn shrayen un mayn loyfn, keyner vil bay mir nit koyfn,
oysgeyn vel ikh muzn vi a hunt.

Mayn tate in milkhome hot farloyrn zayne hent,
mayn mame hot di tsores mer oyshaltn nisht gekent.
Yung in keyver zi getribn, bin ikh oyf der velt farblibn,
ungliklekh un elnt vi a shteyn.

Breklekh klayb ikh oyf tsum ezn oyf dem kaltn mark,
a harte bank iz mayn geleger in dem kaltn park.
In dertsu di politziantn, shlog mikh shvern kantn,
z'helft nit mayn betn, mayn geveyn.

Ikh hob gehat a shvesterl, a kind fun der natur,
mit mir tsusamen zikh geshlept hot zi a gants yor.
Mit ir geven iz mir fil gringer, laykhter vern flegt
der hunger, ven ikh fleg a kuk ton nor oyf ir.

Mit amol gevorn iz zi shvakh un zeyer krank,
oyf mayne hent iz zi geshtorbn oyf a gazn-bank.
Un az ikh hob zi farloyrn, hob ikh alts ongevoyrn,
zol der toyt shoyn kumen oykh tsu mir.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

La Mer (The Sea)

English translation of original French:

The Sea
That one sees dancing along the clear gulfs
Has silver reflections
The Sea, changing reflections
Under the rain

The Sea
In the summer sky merges its white sheep
With such pure angels
The sea, shepherdess of azure

Close to the ponds
These large wet reeds
These white birds
And these rusted houses

The Sea
Has rocked them along the clear gulfs
And with a song of love
The Sea has soothed my heart for life

Music and lyric by Charles Trenet

Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Felicidade (Happiness)

Lyrical translation of original Portuguese lyric (partial):

Our sorrow never dies
Our joy, so soon it flies.
Don’t you know that happiness is just a dewdrop on the petal of a rose?
Brilliant and tranquil, it shimmers and it sways
Before it falls just like a tear of love

Yes, I know the joy of the poor girl resembles
The grand illusion of carnival.
All year she keeps working from Sunday to Sunday
For just one moment of dreaming
Just to make a fantasy
A pirate or a king or flower maiden
But all the magic tumbles down on Wednesday.

Jobim / de Morães (trans, Cartwright)

Chega de Saudade (No More Blues)

English translation of original Portuguese:

Go on, my sadness, and tell her
That without her it cannot be
Tell her in a prayer
To come back to me
Because I cannot suffer anymore

Enough longing
The reality
Is that without her there's no peace
There's no beauty
There's only sadness
And the melancholy
That won't leave me
Won't leave me, won't leave.

But if she comes back,
if she comes back
What a beautiful thing
What a crazy thing
Cause there are fewer fish
swimming in the sea
Than the little kisses
I shall give her on her mouth.

Inside my arms,
The hugs,
They will be a million hugs
So tight like this,
Together like this,
Silent like this
Hugs and little kisses
And endless caresses
That is for you to stop this thing
Of living away from me
I don't want this thing anymore
Of you living without me
Let's stop this thing
Of you living without me
Music by Antonio Carlos Jobim, lyric by Vinicius de Morães

Agua de Beber (Water to Drink)

Original Portuguese lyric with edited English lyrics interpolated:

Eu quis a-mar mais ti-ve me-do
Eu quis sal-var meu co-ra-cão
Mas o a-mor sa-be um se-gre-do
O me-do po-de ma-tar o seu co-ra-ção.

A-gua de be-ber a-gua de be-ber ca-ma-rá… (2x)

I wan-ted love, but I was fear-ful
I tried to guard my wor-ried heart.
But then old love gave me an ear-ful
He laughed and told me, “it’s fear that'll kill your heart”

Agua de beber, give the flower water to drink… (2x)

Eu nun-ca fiz coi-sa tão cer- ta
En-trei pra es-co-la-do per-dão
A min-ha ca-sa vive a-ber-ta
Ab-ri to-das as por-tas do co-ra-çao.
A-gua de be-ber a-gua de be-ber ca-ma-rá…

Well, I have never felt so certain
And, yes, forgiveness I've been taught
So now I've pulled back all the curtains
Opened all of the doors that lead to my heart

Agua de beber, give the flower water to drink… (2x)

Oh love is rain, the heart, the flower
The heart needs love to stay alive
A fearful heart will lose its power
A heart that’s open to love surely will revive

A-gua de be-ber give the flower water to drink…(2x)

Music by Antonio Carlos Jobim, lyric by Vinicius de Morães. English lyric by Norman Gimbel, edited (with additional verses) by Cartwright.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Desafinado (Slightly Out of Tune)

DESAFINADO (English lyric)
If you say my sing-ing is off key, my love,
you will hurt my fee-lings, don’t you see, my love?
I wish I had an ear like yours, a voice that would be-have,
but all I have is fee-ling, and the voice god gave.

You say I'm not jazz and I'm not clas-si-cal,
and that my com-port-ment’s an-ti-mu-si-cal.
I sing this lit-tle song for you, but you don’t care.

The thing that you would see,
if you would play your part,
is e-ven though I’m out of mode,
I have a gen-tle heart.
I took your pic-ture with my trus-ty ro-lo-flex,
What developed was your vast ingratitude.

You have got no right to speak like that of all my love,
Don't forget my passion's bigger than you'll ever dream of.
You and all your music, but you still don't understand
Inside of those who may be out of step
a heart beats inside them, a heart beats in silence;
que no peito dos desafinados também bate um coração. 

Antonio Carlos Jobim
Portuguese lyr. Newton Mendonça
English lyr. Gene Lees, ed. Cartwright

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Boum (Boom)

The clock goes tic-tac tic-tac.
The birds in the lake, pic-pic pac-pac.
Glug-glug-glug go the turkeys,
And the pretty bell, ding-din-don, but ... 

Bang, when our heart goes boom,
Everything with it says boom, and love awakens.
Boom, he’s singing "Love in Bloom."
The rhythm of this boom caroling boom in the ear.

Everything has changed since yesterday,
And the street has eyes that look in the windows.
There are trains of lilacs draped over the sea, and the sun appears.

Boom, the sun goes boom.
Everything with it says boom,
When our heart goes boom.

La pendul-e fait tic-tac tic-tac,
Les oiseaux du lac, pic-pac pic-pac.
Glou-glou-glou font les dindons,
Et la jolie clo-che ding-din-don, mais… 

Boum, quand notre coeur fait boum.
Tout avec lui dit boum, et c'est l'amour qui s'évei-lle.
Boum, il chan-te "love in bloom,"
Au rhyth-me de ce boum, qui rédit boum à l'orei-lle.

Tout a changé depuis hier,
et la rue a des yeux qui regardent aux fenêtres.
'Ya, du lilas et des trains tendues.
Sur la mer, le soleil va paraitre.

Boum, l'astre du jour fait boum.
Tout avec lui dit boum, quand notre coeur fait boum.

Words and music by Charles Trenet

En Septembre, Sous la Pluie (September in the Rain)

The leaves of brown came tumbling down, remember?
In September, in the rain
The sun went out just like a dying ember,
That September in the rain.

To every word of love I heard you whisper,
The raindrops seemed to play our sweet refrain
Though spring is here, to me it's still September, That September in the rain.

Le so-leil ce ma-tin, de l'ho-ri-zon, est en-trée dans la mai-son.
Pour-tant mon coeur est tris-te, pour moi plus rien n'ex-iste.
Que ce jour où tu vins me pré-ve-nir, que tout al-lait fi-nir. 

Le vent du soir pleu-rait dans no-tre cham-bre, en Sep-tem-bre sous la pluie.
Tu vins t'as-seoir tout près, bra-vant mes lar-mes, plein de char-me, et d'en-nui.

En quel-ques mot, mon bel a-mour s'en-vo-la, et je re-stai, sans toi, cet-te nuit là.
Le vent du soir pleu-rait dans no-tre cham-bre, en Sep-tem-bre, sous la pluie.
French lyric by Jacques LaRue

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Tout le Jour, Toute la Nuit (Night and Day)

Comme le tam-tam qui ré-son-ne
dans la jun-gle sombre au loin,
comme le tic-tac mo-no-to-ne
qui le temps mar-que le point,
com-me cet-te pluie ob-sé-dan-te
Qui s'a-char-ne sur le toit,
Sans ar-rêt ce rê-ve fou me han-te: toi, toi, toi

Tout le joir, tou-te la nuit
Rien que toi, tou-jours, to-jours; j'en suis é-blou-ie
Que tu sois au loin, qu'im-porte
puis-qu'en moi ten-dre-ment je t'em-porte,
Oh mon a-mour, nuit et jour.

Sans ré-pit, le jour, la nuit
Le dé-sir comme un dé-mon me hante et pour-suit
Dans le tour-bil-lion du monde,
dans la so-li-tu-de si pro-fonde
Je suis à toi, jour et nuit.

Nuit et jour, au plus pro-fond de moi,
Un feu brû-le qui me con-sume et ne brû-le que pour toi,
Mon tour-ment ne fi-ni-ra
que quand tu me per-met-tras de t'ai-mer tou-jours,
tout le jour, tou-te la nuit.

Night and day, you are the one
Only you beneath the moon or under the sun
Whether near to me or far
Its no matter darling where you are
I think of you night and day.

Day and night, why is it so
That this longing for you follows wherever I go?
In the roaring traffic’s boom
In the silence of my lonely room
I think of you, day and night.

Night and day under the hide of me
Theres an oh such a hungry yearning burning inside of me
And this torment wont be through
‘Til you let me spend my life making love to you
Night and day, day and night.

Oy, Mame, Bin Ikh Farlibt (Oh, Mama, I'm in Love)

When he plays on his fiddle a pretty heartfelt Yiddish song,
Oh, mama, I’m good & happy.
With his pretty black eyes, he has me sworn to him.
Oy, mama, nice and good am I.
 And when he says, “Hey girl, you’re so lovely and fine,”
And his playing creeps into the heart, makes one dance, makes one sing,
Oy gevalt, I’m jumping, I couldn’t be more into him.

Oy mama I'm so in love. Oy mama I'm so in love.
A musician boy I’m devoted to.
I’ve lost my sense.
I cry and laugh and just don't know what world I'm living in.

Oy mama I'm so in love. Oy mama I'm so in love.
I’d go around the whole world pressed close to him.
Oy mama, I'm so in love.

Ven er tsu-shpilt zikh oyf zayn fi-dl, a sheyn hart-sig Yid-ish li-dl,
Oy, ma-me, vert mir gut on a shir.
Mit zay-ne shey-ne shvar-tse oy-gn, hot er dan mir tsu-ge-tsoy-gn,
Oy, Ma-me, voyl un gut iz mir.

Un ven er zugt, "Hey, du mey-dl, bist doch azoy lib un ey-dl,"
Un zayn shpi-ln krikht in har-tsn a-rayn.
Vilt zikh tan-tsn, vilt zikh zing-en, oy ge-valt ikh ver-tsu-shpring-en
On im oy ken ikh mer nit zayn.   

Oy ma-me bin ikh farlibt
Oy ma-me bin ikh farlibt
A klezmer yingl mame ge-trai-e ligt mir nor in zin
Ickh veyn un lakh un veys nit mama, oyf vel-che velt ikh bin.

Oy ma-me bin ikh farlibt
Oy ma-me bin ikh farlibt
'kh'volt di gantze velt arum-ge-numen un tzu-ge-drikt tzu zikh, oy
Oy ma-me bin ikh farlibt!

Words and music by Abe Ellstein

Yiddishe Mame (Jewish Mother)

I’d like to ask of you a question, tell me who knows.
With which dear possession does God bless everyone?
It can't be bought for money, it’s given only for free.
And when it is lost, how many tears are shed?
A second is given nobody, no cry can help.
Oy, he who has lost it, he already knows what I mean.

A Jewish mother, she makes the whole world sweet.
A Jewish mother, how bitter life is when she is not there.
You must thank God that she is still with you.
How sad we are when she passes away too soon.

She would go through fire and water for her child.
It is the worst of sins not to hold her precious.
Happy and rich is the man who has got
this beautiful gift of God, his old Jewish mother.

Ikh vil bay aykh a kashe freygen,
zog mir ver es ken
Mit velkhe tayere farmeygens
bentsht got ale men?
Men koyft dos nit fir kayne gelt,
dos git men nokh umzist
Un dokh az men farlirt dos,
oy vi trern men fargist
A tzveyter git men kaynem nit,
es helft nit kayn geveyn
Oy, ver es hot farloyrn,
der vays shoyn vos ikh meyn.

A yidishe mame, Zi makht
dokh zis di gantze velt,
A yidishe mame,
Oy vey, vi bitter, ven zi felt,
Vi sheyn un likhtig iz in hoys
Ven di mame's du,
Vi troyrig finster vert, Ven Gott
neymt ihr oyf Oylem HaBo

In vaser un fayer
Vilt zi gelofn far yikh kind.
Nit haltn ir tayer,
Dos iz gevis di greste zind.
Oy vi gliklekh un raykh
Iz der mensh, vos hot
Aza sheyne matune
geshenkt fun Got,
Aza altitshke yidishe mame,
Mame mayn!

My Heart Belongs to Daddy (Mayn Harz Iz Nor far Tateh)

Katchie's Yinglish version of Cole Porter's lyric:
Vayl shpilen off a round of golf,
I may shpilen zikh mitn caddy
But when I do, I’ll not follow through
‘Cause my heart belongs to Daddy.
When I in-vite a boy some night
Far esn mayn fayn finnan haddie
Oy, ikh adore his ask-ing for more,
Vayl mayn harz iz nor far Daddy.
Oy, mayn harz iz nor far Tateh
Hok mir nit kayn tchaynik mayn fraynt,
Oy, mayn harz iz nor far Tateh
So I have to warn you, lad-die,
Though I know you're per-fect-ly swell,
Vayl mayn harz iz nor far Daddy
‘Cause my Tateh, he treats me so well.

Ikh Zing (I Sing)

King Solomon sang a love song to his Shulamit.
And just like Solomon, my love, I now bring my song to you.

I sing my Song of Songs for you.
With love I adorn it,
only for you, soul of mine,
I sing my dreams
My love for you is like a dream
Only for you, my comfort,

When I’m about to die from longing
for you, my beloved.
And when I still think
that you will once again be mine,

I sing my song from the heart,
my Song of Songs again.
Beloved, for you I sing.
Ikh zing far dir mayn shir ha-shi-rim,
Mit li-be ikh ba-tsi-rim,
Far dir nor ne-sho-me mayn.
Ikh zing, far dir may-ne kha-loy-mes,
Mayn li-be vi a troym iz,
Fun dir nor ne-kho-me mayn.

Ven ikh gey oys fun ben-ken
nokh dir ge-li-bte mayn.
Un ven ikh halt in eyn den-ken
az du vest nokh a-mol
may-ne zayn.

Ikh zing fun har-tzn may-ne li-der,
Mayn shir ha-shir-im vi-der  
Ge-lib-te, far dir ikh zing.

By Abe Ellstein and Molly Picon

Friday, October 17, 2014

Bay Mir Bistu Sheyn (By Me, You're Lovely)


Kh’vel dir zogn, dir glaykh tzu hern
Az du zolst mir libe erklern
Ven du redst mit di oygn
Volt ikh mit dir gefloygn vu du vilst
S'art mikh nit.
Un ven du host a bisele seykhl
Un ven du vaytzt dayn kindershn shmeykhl
Ven du bist vild vi Indiana
Bist afile Galitsianer
Zog ikh: dos art mikh nit.
Zog mir vi erklerstu dos?
‘Kh’vel dir zogn shoyn farvos.

Bay mir bistu sheyn,
Bay mir hos tu kheyn
Bay mir bistu eyner oyf der velt.

Bay mir bistu gut
Bay mir hostu “it”
Bay mir bistu tayerer fun gelt.

Fil sheyne Yinglekh
hobn shoyn gevolt nemen mikh,
Un fun zey ale oysgeklibn hob ikh nor dikh.


I'll say to you so you'll hear it, "I love you."
When you speak with your eyes,
I’d fly with you wherever you wish, I don’t care where.
Whenever you have a bit of sense,
And when you show your childlike little smile,
Whenever you’re as wild as a crazy person,
Even when you're a Galitzyaner,
I say, "It doesn't bother me."

How do you explain this?
I want to tell you why already.

To me, you are lovely,
To me, you are charming.
To me, you’re the only one in the world.

To me, you are good,
To me, you have “it,”
To me, you’re more precious than money.

Many pretty boys
Wanted me for a wife already
But among them all I chose only you.

Abi Gezunt (You Got Your Health)

Yiddish lyric:

A bisl zin, a bisl regn
A ruig ort dem kop tzu leygn
Abi gezint, ken men gliklakh zayn

A shikh a zok, a kleyd on lates
In keshene, a dray fir zlotes
Abi gezint, ken men gliklakh zayn

Di luft iz fray far yedn glaykh
Di zin zi shaynt far yedn eynem, orem oder raykh.

A bisl freyd, a bisl lakhn
A mol mit fraynt, a shnepsl makhn
Abi gezint, ken men gliklakh zayn

Eyner zikht ashires, eyner zikht gevires
Aynemen di gantze velt
Eyner meynt dos gantze glik
Hengt nor up in gelt

Zoln ale zikhen, zoln ale krikhen
Nor ikh trakht bay mir
Ikh darf dos oyf kapures
Vayl dos glik shteyt bay mayn tir

A bisl zin, a bisl regn
A ruig ort dem kop tzu legn
Abi gezint, ken men gliklakh zayn

Katchie's English lyric (some poetic license, but fairly literal)

A little sun, a little rainin’
A quiet spot to lay your noggin
You got your health? Thank your lucky stars.

A shoe, a sock, a dress sans patchin’
A little jar to keep some cash in
You got your health? Thank your lucky stars.
The air is free for all who breathe it
The sun will shine on everybody--who can feel it
A little joy, a little laughter
A toast with friends, some schnapps for after
You got your health? Thank your lucky stars.

Some’ll chase a fortune
Some are seekin’ stardom
Others want the whole shebang
Some folks think that all that counts is what’s in the bank

Let ‘em all keep lookin’
Let ‘em all keep searchin’
I don’t ask for more
I can do without, as long as luck stays by my door
A little sun, a little rainin’
A quiet spot to lay your noggin
You got your health? Thank your lucky stars.