Dray yingelekh 02:58

Liner Notes

Nicholas Saslavsky’s Dray yingelekh, to a poem by Itsik Goichberg, is a lighthearted play on words and names that is modeled on an older Yiddish folk poem.

By: Neil W. Levin



Poem: Itsik Goichberg
Sung in Yiddish

My mother has three little boys,
Three little boys she had,
With soft, ruddy checks,
Smooth as delicate velvet.

The first is called Berele—
The second—Chaim-Shmerele—
And the third one was called—
We need to buy him shoes.

I fooled you,
I knew: you were waiting,
The third little boy,
The third one, that's me, it's me!

My mother had three little nuts
That she brought from the fair,
Three good, meaty nuts,
Three splendid nuts.

One was for Berele,
And one for Chaim-Shmerele,
And the very best nut—
She kept for herself.

You're wondering a bit,
Why no nut for me?
Because Nisn, Nisn1, Nisele,
The third one's me, it's me!

My mother brought home
Two nuts and me,
Two nuts for the brothers
And two new shoes for me.

1. The name Nissan, and also an irregular plural of "nut" (nus/nis)

Poem: Itski Goichberg

di mame hot dray yingelekh,
dray yingelekh gehat,
mit veykhe royte bekelekh,
vi tsarter samet glat.

hot eyns geheysn berele—
dos tsveyte—khayim-shmerele—
dos drite hot geheysn—
men zol im koyfn shikh.

ikh hob aykh opgenart.
ikh hob gevust: ir vart,
dos drite kleyne yingele,
dos drite dos bin ikh, bin ikh!

di mame hot dray niselekh
fun dem yari’d gebrakht,
dray gute fete niselekh,
dray niselekh a prakht. 

iz eyns geven far berelen
un eyns far khayim-shmerelen,
un gor dos beste nisele—
hot zi gelozt far zikh.

ir vundert zikh a bisl,
farvos nit mir a nisl?
vayl nisn, nisn, nisele,
dos drite, dos bin ikh, bin ikh!

di mame hot aheym gebrakht
tsvey niselekh un mikh,
tsvey niselekh far di briderlekh
un mir tsvey naye shikh!



Composer: Nicholas Saslavsky

Length: 02:58
Genre: Art Song

Performers: Re'ut Ben-Ze'ev, Soprano;  John Musto, Piano

Date Recorded: 12/01/2001
Venue: Lefrak Concert Hall/Colden Center for the Arts (D), Flushing, New York
Engineer: Lazarus, Tom
Assistant Engineer: Frost, David
Project Manager: Schwendener, Paul

Additional Credits:

Translation: Adam J. Levitin


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