We've updated our Terms of Use. You can review the changes here.

Ikh bin busy! (I'm busy​!​)

by Jane Peppler

  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

    With a cd download you get the 18-page liner notes with lyrics in transliteration and English translations.
    Purchasable with gift card

      $7 USD  or more


First verse translation: I've written lots of songs, tunes and lyrics both I've sung for Jews and gentiles The world has my songs on records and in print I certainly didn't deserve thanks like this! It happened while I was unbelievably busy That's when the Angel of Death heard it straight from me: I'm too busy, I'm also too busy to die When death comes around, I tell him: Don't bother me!
First verse translation: A friend of mine told me he lacked everything he should have. His life's not going well, he doesn't have what he needs. He has no peace, no happiness, he has no shoes, no clothes. He has no life, he has no death, he has no home, he has no bread. He has no wife, he has no child, he has no luck, he has no health. He has no honor, he has no money, he doesn't have this world or the world to come. Naturally, you'll see every pauper always laughing and delighted, and he's always happy at every turn. He says "To hell with the whole world, because I go by 'Live it up, pauper, troubles are nothing to worry about!'"
Translation of first verse: I bring a cleaned skirt to a girl, she shouts "Gevald!" and wrings her hands. "What have you done?" What have I done? "You spoiled a new dress! Your work isn't worth a cent! What have you done?" What have I done? Gevald, hear me out: It's true I'm no good at cleaning. But so what if it's wrinkled? It doesn't matter. It will all iron itself out. Why should I slave away for nothing? After all, you're just going to a picnic. It will all iron itself out. Go on an elevator, go to the theater, It will iron itself out.
Translation of first verse: I took a walk once with five good friends We passed by a big restaurant. One of them proposed I should pay for a treat When I went in I saw I had no money with me. I went in, I turned around and went back out! I changed my mind in that very blink of an eye! As if awaking from sleep, I took to my heels. I went in, I turned around and went back out
Translation of the first verse: The girl next door has a pretty new dress, new shoes, a new purse, She has pretty red cheeks, Teeth like pearls, pretty combed hair. Her parents are rich and buy her everything. I, too, once had a father. Now I'm an orphan and I'm endlessly plagued. God, give the wheel a turn and help an orphan, a poor girl, May my father in heaven intercede for my poor mother. Father, it's bitter here for me without you, The kids in the street bully me. God, see my tears and give the wheel a turn.
I live in constant sorrow. How have I deserved this? Because my lover is untrue, must I suffer patiently?
First verse: These days there are no more shirkers. Everyone is a striker. The tailors, the shoemakers, and the bakers are striking now. The streetcars, the elevators, the actors in theaters, The subway conductors ... and people support them. You come into a restaurant hungry and tired, You quickly order a steak with potatoes from the waiter. As you take the first bite you see the feet of a walking delegate. He says one word and all the waiters strike right away. The waiter doesn't fool around, he takes your steak away. Everyone is striking now, long live the sweet time. Everyone is striking now, long live the union members. Oh, brothers, it's good! March, don't be afraid! Give Vanderbilt the finger.
First verse: America is a golden land, as everyone admits, With swindlers, fakers, bluffers All known there as “company.” A greenhorn comes over and opens a soda stand, The second day already he calls it “Chaim Chaskel and Company” Though the stand doesn’t Amount to very much, he still calls it a company, So you see, everything’s a company!
First verse: Tell me, answer me this: Why is everything too little for you? Nothing's too hard when it comes to getting richer. However much you have, you want even more. You suffocate the poor man, you oppress the worker. You never get tired of flaying him. But when your last minute arrives Good brother, things won't be very good for you, Then they'll sing you a sad song:
First verse: This is a worldwide rule everybody knows: As soon as one has a bit of money he must become proficient. My landsman earned a lot of money, he soon went into business with somebody And now he comes to me crying and lamenting. I answer him: It has to be this way Don't go where you don't belong, it'll be healthier for you. If you don't have the ability or the understanding, don't undertake it. If you can't manage it and you don't understand it - don't try it.
People always used to complain, when you caught up with them in the street, you asked a guy: "How's business," he'd say: "Blegh, it's lousy." Now if you ask a businessman, "how's it going, mister?" - Ask the butcher, the grocer, the tailor, the shoemaker - They won't complain, they won't answer, they won't hit you, Together, without broadcasting it, they'll say to you: "The Kaiser should have my luck." Ask a friend, "How's it going?", He'll say the same thing. "I wish my luck on the Kaiser!"
First verse: There was a shepherd once in the land of Canaan He worked with lots of sheep and cows When he got rich, he dealt in grain And he lost his money, things went badly for him. So as not to beg for his bread, he molded bricks Built houses, shops, worked as a slave. Yes, it's pretty, it's charming, tell it, don't stop Yes, it's sweet, it's not ugly, tell it to the end.
FIrst verse: I live quietly in the woods, far from modern noise I don't like commotion and I don't guzzle booze. I don't understand our era, it assails my spirit. I'm losing my mind because the world is too harsh. Weaklings like me, they can put us in institutions. I can't get with the program! I can't keep up!


Mostly turn-of-the-century Yiddish theater songs, but also two I wrote myself (Ikh ken shoyn nit mithaltn won the Grand Prize in the 2015 "Der Yidisher Idol" international competition in Mexico City!)


released May 28, 2018

Jane Peppler: Fiddle, concertina, vocals, keyboard
Good keyboard playing: Aviva Enoch and Roger Lynn Spears
Guitar & bass: Ken Bloom & Jim Baird


all rights reserved



Mappamundi Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Folk music band plays "More-or-less traditional music of the Northern Hemisphere and the Previous Millennium." Vocals, lots of instruments, specializing in Eastern European music (Balkan, Slavic, Russian, Polish); Jewish music in Yiddish, Hebrew and Ladino; Celtic, British Isles and early American / Colonial music. And swing. ... more

contact / help

Contact Mappamundi

Streaming and
Download help

Redeem code

Report this album or account

If you like Ikh bin busy! (I'm busy!), you may also like: