Opgenarte velt (Deluded World)

by Jane Peppler

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Yiddish theater songs from the turn of the twentieth century


released May 28, 2018

Jane Peppler: vocals, fiddle, concertina, keyboard
The good keyboard parts played by Aviva Enoch and Roger Lynn Spears
Guitar: Ken Bloom
Bass: Jim Baird


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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

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Track Name: Shtek arayn (Put 'er there!)
First verse:
Who doesn't know the whole world's custom:
Always to give your hand, because it doesn't cost a cent
Right away people are ready to wish you a safe journey
And when you return, this is what you'll hear:

Give it here, don't be a chump. Give it here, it doesn't cost anything.
Everywhere, on all paths, folks are ready to give you a hand.
"Greetings, brothers, put 'er there." (second time: put out your paw)
Track Name: Uptown, Downtown
All together, in a pretty house
We'll be happy together,
We'll comport ourselves comfortably.

All as one, in a pretty house
We'll be comfortable, we'll all be happy

From downtown, uptown! Where only the rich live.
From downtown, uptown! We'll behave like the wealthy.
From downtown, uptown! We'll move there.
Our homies will envy us, yes, yes!
Track Name: Mener, mener! (Men, men!)
First verse:
I'm not one of those very rich girls.
I don't have any pretty dresses, I don't care about them
I can give a couple of punches, you'd be amazed
I swear on my life, I'm happiness for a man
Well, what good is a thin, elegant girl with a lot of earnings?
Whatever happens, you're going to have to run take her straight to the doctor

Oy vey, men, oy vey, don't you go believing
That because she's pretty, you'll be happy.
Beauty? Forget about it. Because I know, clearly:
You'll be miserable if she's not healthy.
Track Name: Di opgenarte velt (The Deluded World)
First verse:
When a merchant swears to you up and down
That he's selling below cost and everything is a great bargain
Where is he making his money? He'll tell you:
"God helps from above, and down here, I do it all himself."

Oy, the deluded world. Nothing but lies, upside down and sideways.
People are posers these days, just as it's written in Scripture
Track Name: A mentsh zolstu nor zayn (A mentsh zol men zayn) (Be a decent person)
First verse:
You think, when you're rich, that you're Master of the Universe
You think nobody's your equal, that nothing but money matters.
You think as soon as you're rich, folks owe you lots of respect.
The arrogant fool doesn't understand: money is round, it rolls away.
Today I have it, tomorrow you have it, later, other people have it.

You mustn't be proud that you have money, it's easy to lose it.
Then you'll suddenly feel the bitterness of being a pauper.
If you want to earn a good name that will endure after your death
Don't brag about your fancy forefathers, just be a good person.
Track Name: Eylu voeylu (A Drinking Song)
First two verses:
Homeowners who sit in their houses
Drinking wine from their vessels
All of them yell to you:
"A drink of whiskey is wanted!"

Homeowners who live in their own houses
Drink all the whiskey, whole breweries full
All of them yell in one voice:
"A drink of whiskey is really great!"
Track Name: In hundert yor arum (100 years from now)
First verse:
Rejoice, kids, a new era is coming. Listen, it's a wonder: things are gonna be ok.
You don't need to worry, don't go around in a tizzy.
Tomorrow's coming soon! You'll get what you want.
What you talk about, what an eye can see,
It'll be free for everybody if you just ask.
I myself will give it to you, I swear to you here and now
If I can just survive till then with my health intact!

A hundred years from now, a hundred years from now
We'll be able to have a high old time without even a penny, oy!
I'd have quite the bone to pick with my mother now:
Who told her she should have me so many years too early?
A hundred years from now ... it wouldn't have been bad at all
If she'd had me a hundred years from now.
Track Name: A mentsh ken dokh makhn a mol a toes (A person can sometimes make a mistake)
It starts:
I have a lot of jobs, I'm running around everywhere
I get so addled I don't know what to do
Well, and so what? A person obviously makes a mistake once in a while.

So, I was the "Reverend" presiding at a wedding
I forgot what I was doing and made the blessing for circumcision
Well, so? So sometimes a person makes makes a mistake!
Track Name: Vos kh'hob gevolt hob ikh oysgefirt (What I wanted, I got)
First verse:
What I wanted, I succeeded in, let me go on that way.
I wanted good luck and God gave it to me.

Sisters, listen: Stay free, dance like the gypsies
Because worry and bother, they help like a bandaid on a corpse
Track Name: Alts far gelt (Everything For Money)
First verse:
Because of money everybody will love you
Because of money people ask your advice
Because of money you always are respected
Because of money people tip their hats to you
Because of money you're dear to everyone
Because of money everybody loves you
For money you'll run into fire
And for money, you'll run even into the grave

Everything for money, only money, the little bit of cash...
Everything for money, it's only money that'll get you everything.
I swear to you, there's nothing to it, if you have money and you're rich
Yikes, the whole world loves the little bit of money.
Track Name: Di zibn boarders (The Seven Boarders)
First verse:
My first boarder, Rosen, was a blowhard.
For three dollars, tea and coffee, I washed his clothes and on top of that:
He broke the spring in my sofa.
He was a big eater, for him no ? nothing kosher.
He used to sneak into the booze...
He wanted me to make him kremslekh and kreplekh.
He had a hankering for everything.

Listen, women, get this in your heads, take advice from me.
If you want to live well and peacefully
Don't let any boarders into your house.
Track Name: Mentshn-freser (Devourer of People)
First verse:
The pale pestilence lives deeply buried in the lungs
The bacilli, the microbes build their nest
They gobble us up, body and soul, and multiply a lot
And we must ourselves dwindle/fade away before our time
And we feel how we're expiring quietly and slowly,
and the suffering and crying are terribly great.
And the dark thoughts increase the pain.
For years the Angel of Death lies deep in our hearts.

Macrobes, bacilli, what do you want? Whose mission are you carrying out?
You gobble the victims mercilessly, you aim only at blooming lives
You bathe yourselves in the tears of those who weep, you suck the marrow from the bones
You poison the entrails, you crawling worms. Microbes, bacilli, what do you want?

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