Papirosen

from by L'chaim Kapelye

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about

Papirosen is probably Herman Yablokoff's best-known song. It was written for a play of the same title, and is thought to be an adaptation of a European folk melody. It is the haunting story of an orphan boy, forced to sell cigarettes on the street.

lyrics

A kalte nakht, a nepldike finster umetum,
shteyt a yingele fartroyert un kukt zikh arum.
Fun regn shitst im nor a vant,
a koshikl trogt er in hant,
un zayne oygn betn yedn shtum.

Ikh hob shoyn nir keyn koyekh mer
arumtsugeyn
in gaz, hungering 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 she, koyft she papirosen,
trukene fun regn nisht fargozen.
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,
ale lakhn, makhn fun mir shpaz.

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.

Kupitye koyft she, koyft she papirosen,
trukene fun regn nisht fargozen.
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.

Herman Yablokoff


English translation:

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 naught.
Nobody wants to buy from me –
everyone laughs and makes fun of me.

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.

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 naught.
Nobody wants to buy from me –
I will have to perish like a dog.

credits

from Papirosen, released January 4, 2015
Lucie Phillips - Vocals
Pippa Goodall - Violin
Jemima Kingsland - Flute
Daniel Mawson - Clarinet
Ellie Sherwood - Clarinet
George Turner - Trombone
Hat Wells - Clarinet

Studio recording by Martin Atkinson (M.A.R.S)

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about

L'chaim Kapelye England, UK

L'chaim Kapelye is a 7-piece ensemble based in Manchester, who specialise in music from the Klezmer and Balkan tradition. We all started out as music students at the University of Manchester and developed our love of this wonderful Eastern European Jewish music, under the supervision of Richard Fay and Ros Hawley. ... more

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