Re: An Old Song - Possibly Russian, possibly Yiddish #general


Mikhoyel Basherives
 

Moshe Beregovski transcribed a song by ear containing the words or name Tane Godl (as written according to YIVO standards which corresponds to the short a in "toni") in 1928 sung by Sh. Dobin, a scientific worker in Kiev, who learned it from his grandmother in about 1875 in Bobr, Belarus when she was 60 years old. It's the only verse he remembered. I myself think it could very well be a fragment of a long ballad sung centuries before by Jewish troubadours/minnesingers. As Beregovski notes Meylekh means both "king" as well as being a male first name. A Tane as pronounced in Yiddish tav-nun-alef was one of the tanoim, again as pronounced in Yiddish, who were sages during the first two centuries CE whose teachings are included in the Mishnah, so tane-godl (godl is Yiddish for Hebrew gadol) could mean "great teacher". Beregovski wrote that tane-godl means great secret. Beregovski noted that the meaning of the verse is quite obscure. In Mark Slobin's book "Old Jewish Folk Music" reprinting Beregovski's works you can find the music notes. For some reason I sing it often to myself.

The words are:

Meylekh hot geheysn khásene shpiln, khásene shpiln,

me shpilt un me shpilt mit groys gevéyn,

me shpilt un me shpilt mit groys geshréy.

Tane-godls tokhter vil nit Meylekhs zun,

Tane-godls tokhter vil nit Meylekhs zun.


In a loose translation:

Meylekh ordered wedding to be played,

They/We play and play with great weeping,

play and play with great shouting.

Tane-godl's daughter does not want Meylekh's son.

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