Best of Nama From 1974 to 1986 icon

Best of Nama From 1974 to 1986


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BEST OF NAMA





From 1974 to 1986, the NAMA Orchestra was probably the country’s best-known Balkan folk dance band, and was part of the klezmer revival in the 1970’s. We played at numerous folk dances in California, and also camps in Texas, Minnesota, and Oregon. We played Yiddish and klezmer music at weddings and concerts, as well as American dance music from the pre-rock era. We did two concert tours for Community Concerts Inc.


During that time, we produced four LP records:


1974 NAMA 1, Balkan folk dances (mostly instrumental, rather imitative of existing recordings); 1976 NAMA 2, mostly Balkan folk dances (lots of vocals, more interesting arrangements,

my favorite folk dance record of all time);

1978 NAMA 3, Mazltov! - A Yiddishe NAMA (Yiddish & klezmer music – see last page);

1982 NAMA 4, The Ethnic Connection (concert album for the Community Concerts tours)


This CD has been selected from all four LPs, plus one recording from a live concert, and one not previously released. A number of these (mostly dance tunes) have been digitally edited to make them slower and/or shorter. (If you liked the original tempos better, you’ll have to find the LPs!) Included are Balkan & Israeli folk dance tunes, Yiddish & klezmer music, two American “production numbers”, and three “ethnic connections” (American pop songs that started out as ethnic songs).


Much of this would not have been possible without the help of several consultants, in particular: Dick Crum, who wrote dance notes and also advised us on translations and pronunciation of Serbian, Macedonian, Bulgarian, Greek, and Portuguese (and others); Janet Hadda, who did the same for Yiddish; and Jody Hirsh for Hebrew. Recorded mostly at Location Recording Service, Sound City, and Back Lot Recorders. Sound engineering by Jeff Peters, John Lyon, Scott Fraser, Kevin Gray, and Sound Forge 4.5. CD & booklet production by World Class Tapes, Ann Arbor. Thanks also to Al Freeman (NAMA 3 title lettering), Stephen Potter (pseudo-Slavic transcription), Stuart Nall (Community Concerts), and the Aman Folk Ensemble (for the whole experience, for costumes used in photos, and for attracting so many wonderful musicians whose talents we could draw on).


Art & photo credits: Cover (NAMA 4) Jennifer Brosious; inside front (NAMA 1) Larry Owens; back cover (NAMA 2) Leslie Brotman; inside back (NAMA 3) Ricardo Salas; #9 (^ Jove) Salas; #12 (Salty Dog Rag) Salas; #20 (Dana, 1982 tour) Sal Pleitez; #22 (Tico-tico, Bando da lua) Decca 289; #22 (Barbara) David Owens; #23 (Home in Pasadena, 1983 tour) Donald Lee.


Over the years, I have moved towards playing “real” folk dances (i.e. ones that were actually done by the “folk” in their supposed country of origin) in preference to choreographed dances or those invented in America. But early on we recorded several of the latter type dances, partly because we didn’t know better, partly because the dances were popular, and partly because we liked the music. (It complicated things for Dick Crum, trying to write historical information about invented dances.)

^ Musicians heard on these recordings




David Owens . . . . . .

Accordion 1,2,3,5,7,8,9,10,11,14,15,17,18,19,21,22




Piano 12,20,21,22,23,24 Vocal 12,23,24

Andy King . . . . . . . .

Bass 1,2,3,5,7,8,9,10,11,12,14,15,17,18,19




Bugarija 6 Guitar 13 Electric guitar 12

Miamon Miller . . . . .

Violin 1,2,7,8,10,11,13,14,15,16,17,18,19

Gŭdulka 4

Loretta Kelley . . . . .

Violin 1,8,10,11,12,14,20,21,22,24

Chris Yeseta . . . . . .

Guitar 1,2,3,5,7,8,10,11

^ Prim, Vocal 6 Tambura 4,9

Trudy Israel . . . . . .

Vocal 1,2,3,5,9,11,12,14

Susan North . . . . . .

Vocal 1,2,3,5,9,11,12,14

Phil Harland . . . . . .

Tŭpan 4,7,9 Drums 15,17,19 Dumbek 11

Neil Siegel . . . . . . . .

Frula 2,8 Flute 1,14 Kaval 4,9 Brać 6

Mark Levy . . . . . . . .

Clarinet 5,7,15 Frula 2,8 Gajda 4,9

Barbara Slade . . . . .

Vocal 12,20,21,22,23,24

Banjo 12 Guitar 20,24

Sue Komoorian . . . .

Vocal 20,21,22,23,24

Dan Ratkovich . . . .

Berde 6,20,21,22,24 Bowed bass 21




^ Guitar, Electric guitar 22

Pearl Rottenberg . .

Vocal 13,14,15,18,19

Stuart Brotman . . . .

Bass 16,23 Cymbalom 16 Trombone 23

Isaac Sadigursky . .

Clarinet 16,19

Daniel Sheehy . . . . .

Trumpet 18,19

Eytan ben Sheviya .

Percussion 21,22

Agi Ban . . . . . . . . . .

Violin, Vocal 23

Stewart Mennin . . .

Clarinet 3

Rick Schneider . . . .

Brać 6




Phil Harland and Sue Komoorian have passed away since these recordings

were made. Their contributions were enormous, and they are missed.


Following is historical information on the songs, instrumentation, sources, previous recordings (LPs if not specified), composers, copyrights, and words for foreign songs (in phonetic transcription, where necessary), with literal English translations. No words for songs in English. (Space is tight in CD booklets! LPs were much better for giving information.)


1. 3:43 NAMA Lesnoto Medley (Macedonian)

From NAMA 2. Arranged by David Owens in 1975 from four recordings: Oj ti pile. Kolo iz Beograda, Kolo Festival KF-811A (78); Žalna majka, Violeta Krnčeva & Kiril Mančevski, RTB EP-12741 (45); ^ Bitola moj roden kraj, composed by B. Petrov, sung by Kiril Mančevski, Ensemble Orce Nikolov DT-1002; and Makedonsko devojče, kitka šarena, composed by Jonče Hristovski, sung by Violeta Tomovska & Kiril Mančevski, RTB 12747 (45).


Shortly after we recorded this, Andy King said to me, “Some day I’m going to be in a bar in Salinas, and this is going to play on the juke box!” It might happen. This is our most successful recording, used by folk dance groups all over. The 7/8 rhythm in songs like this (slow-quick-quick) is called the Macedonian seven, but often referred to in America as lesnoto, a term for the dance.




^ Oj, ti pile, slavej pile,

ja zapej mi edna pesna.

Ja zapej mi edna pesna,

edna pesna žalovita.




Žalna majka v’sebe plače,

vnucite gi teši.

Bol vo gradi lut ja vie,

a nif im se smeši.

Ah, spite, vnuci moj,

pak, pak kje dojde toj.

Kje vi peje za Bitola, za naš roden kraj.




Bitola, moj roden kraj,

vo tebe sum roden, mene si mi mil.

Bitola, moj roden kraj,

jas te sakam od srce znaj.

Bitola, moj roden kraj,

jas te sakam za tebe peam.




Makedonsko devojče, kitka šarena,

vo gradina nabrana, dar podarena.

Da li ima na ovoj beli svet,

po-ubavo devojče od makedonče?

Nema, nema, ne kje se rodi,

po-ubavo devojče od makedonče.

Oh, nightingale, nightingale,

sing me a song.

Sing me a song,

a song of sorrow.




The grief-stricken mother weeps to herself,

and consoles her grandchildren.

The aching in her heart is unbearable,

but she smiles at them.

Oh, sleep, my little ones;

he will come back some day.

He will sing to you of Bitola, of our native town.




Bitola, my native town,

in you I was born; you are dear to me.

Bitola, my native town,

know that I love you with all my heart.

Bitola, my native town,

I love you and I sing of you.




A Macedonian girl is like a beautiful flower,

picked in a garden, like a lovely gift.

Is there anywhere in this whole wide world

a girl more beautiful than a Macedonian girl?

No, there isn’t, nor will there ever be,

a girl more beautiful than a Macedonian girl!



2. 2:34 Koga srce boli (Serbian, U šest)

Actually recorded by us in 1974 for an Aman record, but never used. We also recorded this on NAMA 4, but this one is a better speed for dancing and has the two frulas (wooden pennywhistles). Written by Andrija & Toma Bajić and B. Pantić, recorded originally on Jugoton by the Bajić Brothers with Bogdan Kojović. U šest is the most well-known kolo dance in Serbia.




Koga srce boli, ej, ej,

neka bira sad što voli, oj, oj.




^ Biće raznih drangulija, peršuna i mirodjija.

Neka bira ko šta voli, da ga srce ne boli.




Belog luka, da vas prodje muka

od inata u vidu zanata.




Crnog luka, da vas čuva mamurluka,

i od tuka, i utuka.




Aj, koga boli, nek’ s’odmori,

neka bira sad što voli.

Whoever has an aching heart,

let him choose whatever he likes.




There are all sorts of things, parsley and dill.

Let everyone choose what he likes,

so his heart doesn’t ache.

Garlic to be rid of the trouble

of a hassle that poses as an occupation.




Onions to guard against hangover,

and against fights and quarrels.




Oh, whoever is aching, let him rest,

let him choose whatever he likes.




3. 2:52 Siko horepse, kukli mu (Greek/Turkish, Syrto)

NAMA 2. From a Gypsy version on Jugoton by Esma Redžepova (^ Sikou hórespe mazi mou on Monitor MFS 496). A lively song for the syrto, one of the most popular Greek dances. Wonderful clarinet solo by Stewart Mennin.




^ Siko horepse, kukli mu,

na se dho na se haro;

tsifte teli turkiko.

Nina naj, javrum, nina naj naj.

Opa nina nina naj, nina naj naj,

nina naj, javrum, nina naj naj.




Tha su traghudhiso pali ston asikiko hava;

kuna ligho to kormi su. Nina naj ...




^ Mia fora monaha zume mes sto pseftiko dunja;

prepi ligho na harume. Nina naj ...

Get up and dance, my doll,

so I can see you and enjoy it;

dance a Turkish chifte-teli.

Nina nay, my baby, nina nay nay.










I’ll sing for you some romantic songs;

so shake your body.




We only live once in this phony world;

we have to have some fun.




4. 3:33 Gergebunarsko horo (Bulgarian, Pravo horo)

NAMA 1. From Strandžanskata Grupa on Balkan-Arts MK 6G 1B. These Bulgarian village (bitov) instruments are: gajda (bagpipe), kaval (flute), gŭdulka (fiddle), tambura (like a guitar), and tŭpan (large, two-headed drum). (See also #9.) Pravo horo, in 6/8, is a famous and easy Thracian dance. Starts slower and speeds up.


5. 2:28 Eleno mome (Bulgarian)

NAMA 2. Arranged by David Owens from: Eleno mome, Folk Orchestra ‘Karlo’ (Boris Karlov’s father), XOPO LP I; and Elenino Horo, Boris Karlov, Balkan-Arts MK 6G 1. The words are traditional, learned from Dick Crum. This dance tune is in 7/8 until the Elenino accordion solo, where it speeds up slightly to 13/16 (as often specified in Bulgarian printed music, but seldom played that way). The 3rd & 4th verses are shown below, although cut from this recording.




^ Eleno mome, Eleno,

ne gazi seno zeleno.

Ah, Eleno mome, Eleno,

ne gazi seno zeleno.




Štom padne seno zeleno,

mladi go momci kosili.




Mladi go momci kosili,

a mladi bulki plastili.




Mladi go bulki plastili,

a mladi kone paseli.

Elena, young Elena,

don’t tread on the green hay!

Oh, Elena, young Elena,

don’t tread on the green hay!




When the green hay had begun to droop,

the young lads mowed it.




The young lads mowed it,

the young brides tedded it. [turned and spread for drying]




The young brides tedded it,

the young horses grazed on it.




6. 2:22 Kukunješće (Serbian)

NAMA 2. Adapted from several versions, including: Kukunjesče kolo, Banat Tamburitza Orchestra, Folk Dancer MH1007B (78) or Sonart 2024 (78); and Kokonješte, Dave Zupkovich, Balkan BAL 545B (78). Our bećar band plays this ditty on Serbian tamburica (plucked string) instruments: prim (soprano), brać (tenor), bugarija (rhythm), and berde (fretted bass); lead vocal Chris Yeseta. Kukunješče (name derived from Romanian) is the predecessor of U šest. Starts slower, speeds up.




Stara baba stara je,

kad se ljubi mlada je!

^ Tebe babo voleću,

od ljubavi umreću!




Cura gazi baricu,

uvatila žabicu!

U Osijeku ćuprija,

tri se stupa prebila!

An old woman is old,

but when she makes love, she’s young!

Old woman, I’ll love you,

I’ll die of love for you!




A girl stepped in a puddle

and caught a little frog.

There’s a bridge in Osijek;

three of its piers [supports] are broken.




7. 2:22 Bučimiš (Bulgarian)

NAMA 1. Arranged by David Owens from: Bučimiš, Duquesne University Tamburitzans, Du-Tam 1004-A (45); and the music book Narodni horà i rŭčenici za akordeon, Kosta Kolev, Sofia 1961. Thracian dance tune in 15/16. Bučimiš means “hemlock”; there must have been a song, but it has not been found. Starts slower and speeds up.

8. 2:09 Čarlama (Serbian)

NAMA 2. Arranged by David Owens from: Užička čarlama, Folkraft 1498X45A (45); Kolo bosansko, Folkways 805; Čaralama, R. Abramovic, Balkan BAL503B (78); and Kolo (Šumadija), Folkways 805. The origins of the name (which is Turkish) and some of the steps (perhaps Polish or Hungarian) for this Serbian dance are not clear. It did not come from Užice, despite being sometimes called Užička čarlama.


9. 2:27 Jove, malaj mome (Bulgarian)

NAMA 2. Melody from Jove male mome, Pece Atanasovski, Folkraft LP-26. Words are traditional, from two Shope versions, learned from Dick Crum. Note: mala is grammatically more correct than male or malo, though all are heard. The j ending is typical in Shope dialect. This dance tune is in alternate measures of 7/16 and 11/16. The melody-and-drone singing style gives a sound similar to a gajda (bagpipe). There are solos on kaval (end-blown flute) and gajda by Neil and Mark.




^ Jove, malaj mome, lele, po poleka oro vodi.

Sama si sakala, lele, na oro da ideš,

na oro da ideš, lele, momče da izbereš.




Jove, malaj mome, lele, što mi se naduvaš,

što mi se naduvaš, lele, ta ne mi sboruvaš?




Jove, malaj mome, lele, sama si sakala

sofijski momčeta, lele, s rusi mustačeta,

sofijski momčeta, lele, s vezani menteta.

Oh, young Jova, lead the oro-dance more gently.

You yourself wished to come to the dance,

to come to the dance, to choose a young lad.




Oh, young Jova, why are you so haughty?

Why are you so haughty, why don’t you speak to me?




Oh, young Jova, you yourself preferred

the lads from Sofia with their fair mustaches,

the lads from Sofia with their embroidered jackets.




10. 3:37 Rŭka (Bulgarian)

NAMA 2. Arranged by David Owens from: Topčijska rŭka, Stefan Georgiev, Balkanton 2683; and Horo “Kačarko”, Ivan Šibilev, Balkanton BHA 527 (both arranged by Hristo Todorov). The dance is called rŭka (hand) because of the movements of the joined hands; it is pronounced RUCK-ah, although it was introduced in America as Dobrudjanska reka (by French speakers, for whom e represents the Bulgarian “uh”, as in French le). That dance is a stage choreography with many steps. You can dance any rŭka or tropanka to this.


11. 3:22 Snošti sakav da ti dojdam (Macedonian, Bavno oro / Lesnoto)

NAMA 1. Bulgarian accordionist Boris Karlov recorded this Macedonian tune as ^ Bavno oro, on XOPO X-301-B (45). The dance was introduced by Dennis Boxell. There was a previous dance by Anatol Joukowsky. Neither is known in Macedonia; there they would dance something like a lesnoto.

I heard this sung on the radio while on a bus in Bosnia in 1972, but could speak to no one to ask its name. Later I stumbled on the words in a book, ^ Pesme i igre naroda Jugoslavije, Broj 3, 1970.




Snošti sakav da ti dojdam.

Sitna rosa zarosi, zato ne dojdof.

^ Kakav junak ti kje bideš,

od rosa da se uplašiš, a, bre, budalo?!

Last night I wanted to visit you,

but a fine dew fell, so I didn’t come.

What kind of a hero are you,

frightened by the dew, you dummy!




12. 3:06 Salty Dog Rag (American, Round dance / Schottische)

(Edward L. Crowe, John Gordy, © 1951 Hill and Range Songs)

NAMA 2. Arranged by David Owens and Andy King, from Red Foley, 1952, Decca 27981 (78). Takes its title and chord progression (and not much else) from a Black blues piece called Salty Dog – a sexually oriented term for a “good (spicy, racy) man”. We couldn’t determine who created the famous dance (a schottische variation), though we apparently disproved all the published claims!

We do this up fine: an old-time tack piano (David), a period electric guitar and amp (Andy), our prize-winning bluegrass fiddler (Loretta), and some nostalgic three-part harmony (Susie, Trudy, & Banjo Babs), all recorded on period RCA mikes. Additional inspiration from Patty, LaVerne & Maxene Andrews, Hank Garland, Bob Wills, Chris Smith, and Felix Powell. It was a bit fast for dancing, so it’s been slowed down to just over Foley’s tempo.

^ Oejd aun jan derin distej tovar kŭnca, vermaj grejtgren pam etmaj grejtgren ma,

dedrin kepl saj drendej geta neđeg, endej dencal naj tudas alti dagreg.

Deple nol fidŭlaj kjune vrhrd bifor, deple dijon litun detdeje vrd idno.

Itser egtajm ditien diri tŭm dondreg, hirzav eju denctu dacal tid agreg:

Vŭnfut frŭnt! Dregitbek! Denjus tartu baldidžek.

Juš ej kenju bre kende njuseg, i fjur part nirzig zjur sa postuzeg.
^

Jurhar tizlaj tjute pjurfi tin rit emvit detreg tajmbiđes


pekŭp jurtra belzin jurolk itbeg, enden calnaj tudi salti dag reg!

Avej dauncau tnitdi olsa drnmun, dipa sŭmsŭpa trijen di haunzev tridekun.

Dejl hičhap abŭgitu abrok endaun neg, engo autden sintu disal tida greg.

Detunap di gŭdulka en dejrazenap dibo, destraj ken i kor dandi old tambura.

Haler hengan kŭzvien gonad regnau hirzda vejudan s tuda solt i dogreg.




13. 3:03 Hana’ava babanot (Israeli)

(Amitai Ne’eman, © 1958 Warner-Tamerlane)


NAMA 3. Hebrew love song, arranged by Miamon Miller from Hanava babanot, Sharona Aron, on Angel ANG 65018. Lovely singing by Pearl; nice violin and guitar work by Miamon and Andy.




^ Hana’ava babanot,

ana ha’iri panayikh élay.




Bo dodi ki yafita,

af na’amta ad m’od.

Shlakh yadkha v’khabkéni,

amtséni od va’od.

Oh, most beautiful of all girls,

please look upon me.




Come, my beloved, because you are handsome,

you are also very pleasant.

Reach out your hand and embrace me,

hold me again and again.




14. 2:40 Erev ba (Israeli)

(Music: Arieh Levanon; Words: Oded Avissar, © 1960 Edition “NEGEN” Tel-Aviv)


NAMA 3. From Erev Ba, Karmon Israeli Singers, arranged by Kurt Peche, on Vanguard VSD-2130. The well-known Israeli dance was composed by Yoav Ashriel.




^ Shuv ha’éder nohér bimvo’ot hakfar,

v’ole ha’avak mishviley afar.

V’harkhék od tsemed inbalim

m’lave et meshekh hatslalim.

Erev ba, erev ba.




Again the flock streams through the village entrance,

and the dust rises from the dirt paths.

And from the distance a pair of bells

still accompanies the lengthening of the shadows.

Evening comes, evening comes.

^ Shuv haru’akh lokhésh beyn gidrot ganim,

uv’tsameret habrosh k’var namot yonim.

V’harkhék al ketef hagva’ot

od noshkot karnayim akhronot.

Erev ba, erev ba.




Shuv havered kholém, khalomot balat,

uforkhim kokhavim bamarom at at.

V’harkhék ba’émek ha’afél,

m’lave hatan et bo haleyl.

Layil rad, layil rad.

Again the wind whispers among the garden fences,

and on top of a cypress, doves are already sleeping.

And far away, the shoulders of the hills

are still kissed by the last rays of the sun.

Evening comes, evening comes.




Again the rose is quietly dreaming dreams,

and stars are blooming very slowly in the sky.

And far away in the dark valley,

the jackal accompanies the coming of night.

Night falls, night falls.



15. 2:29 Di mizinke oysgegebn (Yiddish / Klezmer)

NAMA 2 & 3. Arranged by David Owens from: an unknown old instrumental recording that used Patsh tants in a medley with Mizinke; and Bessarabian Horra and Bulgar, Kammen International Dance and Concert Folio No. 9 (“very useful for any occasion”), Joseph & Jacob Kammen, 1934. Jewish wedding song composed by Mark M. Warshawsky, and originally called Di rod (kales tsad). The word mizinke derives from the Russian mizinets, meaning pinky (littlest finger)! Kazatsky is a Russian-style show-off dance. This makes a good running dance and hora. Mark Levy on clarinet.




^ Hekher! Beser!

Di rod, di rod makht greser!

Groys hot mikh got gemakht,

glik hot er mir gebrakht,

hulyet, kinder, a gantse nakht;

di mizinke oysgegebn!




Shtarker! Freylekh!

Du di malke, ikh der meylekh!

Ay, ay, ay, ikh aleyn

hob mit mayne oygn gezen

vi got hot mikh matsliekh geven;

di mizinke oysgegebn!




Motl! Reb Shimen!

Di oremelayt zenen gekumen.

Shtelt far zey dem shensten tish,

tayere vaynen, tayere fish!

Oy vey, tokhter, gib mir a kush;

di mizinke oysgegebn!




Ayzik! Mazik!

Di bobe geyt a kozik!

Ken ayne hore, zet nor zet,

vi zi tupet, vi zi tret!

Oy, a simkhe! Oy a freyd!

Di mizinke oysgegebn!

Higher! Better!

Make the circle larger!

God has made me great,

he has brought me luck,

revel, children, all night long;

the youngest daughter married off!




Stronger! Joyful!

You are the queen, I the king!

Ay, ay, ay, I myself

have seen with my own eyes

how God has made me prosperous;

the youngest daughter married off!




Motl! Reb Shimen!

The poor people have come.

Set the nicest table for them,

expensive wines, expensive fish!

Oh, daughter, give me a kiss;

the youngest daughter married off!




Isaac! You scamp!

Grandmother dances a kazatsky!

Spare her the evil eye, look, just look,

how she taps her feet, how she steps!

What a celebration! What a joyous occasion!

The youngest daughter married off!




16. 2:43 Doină (Romanian / Klezmer)

NAMA 3. Adapted by Miamon Miller and Isaac Sadigursky from Doina, Al Glaser’s Bucovinaer Kapelle (clarinet, Dave Tarras), Decca 18024A (78). A soulful, free-flowing improvisation on clarinet (Isaac Sadigursky), accompanied by cymbalom (Stu Brotman), followed by a faster freylekhs dance tune. The term doină might come from the Romanian word dor, which means “longing” or “the torment of love”.


17. 2:19 NAMA Freylekhs Medley (Klezmer)

NAMA 3. Arranged by David Owens from: Bulgar (Frailach) No. 12, Kammen International Dance Folio #9 (“Important Notice! All the Jewish Freilachs in this book, can be played as Greek dances”); Frailach No. 1, Kammen Dance Folio No. 1 (“the most useful book of its kind ever published”), 1924; and Kosher Dance (Mitzvah Dance), Ten Jewish Folk Dances, Nathan Vizonsky, 1942.


Freylekhs (spelled various ways, with and without the s) is the Yiddish term for a happy dance tune. These old melodies are sometimes given fanciful names when recorded. Various, often improvised, dance steps were done to tunes like this. More recently, many Jews have adopted the Israeli hora, a dance that originated among Palestinian immigrants from Bessarabia and Bukovina.


18. 3:15 Moyshele, mayn fraynd (Yiddish)

NAMA 3. From the book Mir Trogn a Gezang, Eleanor Gordon Mlotek, Workmen’s Circle, 1972. Composed by Mordecai Gebirtig, who also wrote Reyzele and Yankele. Arranged by Miamon Miller. Lovely trumpet solo by Dan Sheehy.




^ Vos makhstu epes, Moyshele?

Kh’derken dikh nokh on blik.

Du bist geven mayn khaverl

mit yorn fil tsurik,

un oykh in kheyder hobn mir

gelernt lang banand.

Ot shteyt far mir der rebe nokh,

der kantshik in zayn hant.




Oy, vu nemt men tsurik di yorn,

yene sheyne tsayt?

Oy, dos yunge sheyne lebn

iz fun undz shoyn vayt.

Oy, vu nemt men tsurik di yorn,

Moyshele, mayn fraynd?

Oy, nokh yenem beyzn rebn [1]

yene yunge laydn [2]

benkt dos harts nokh haynt.




Vi geyt es epes Berelen,

Avremele vos makht?

Un Zalmele un Yosele?

Zeyer oft fun aykh getrakht,

gekholemt fun aykh, kinderlekh,

gezen zikh in der mit.

Gevorn alte yidelekh;

vi shnel dos lebn flit!

How are you doing, Moyshele?

I still know you by sight.

You were my little friend

many years back,

and also in school we

studied a long time side by side.

I can see the rebe standing before me now,

the whip in his hand.




Oh, how can we take back the years,

that beautiful time?

Oh, that young beautiful life

is already far from us.

Oh, how can we take back the years,

Moyshele, my friend?

Oh, for that unkind rebe [1]

those young sorrows [2]

my heart still longs today.




How is Berele doing,

and what about Avremele?

And Zalmele and Yosele?

I’ve thought about you all often,

dreamed about you, little friends,

seen myself among you.

We have become little old men;

how quickly life flies!

19. 3:10 A heymisher bulgar (Yiddish / Klezmer)

(Abraham Ellstein, © 1947 Ethnic Music Publishing)


NAMA 3. Arranged by David Owens and Isaac Sadigursky, from the book Great Songs of the Yiddish Theater, Norman H. Warembud, Quadrangle/N.Y. Times, 1975, and the record A heimisher bulgar, Seymour Rechtzeit & Abe Ellstein with Dave Tarras, Greater Recording Co. GRC 72. Bulgar (from Romanian Bulgareasca, clearly named after Bulgaria) meant certain things in Eastern Europe, but came to be a generic term in America, similar to freylekhs. Note the interesting accuracy of the traditional phrase, “Next year we will dance in Israel”. Isaac on clarinet, Dan on trumpet.




^ Yidn, tantst dem heymishn bulgar!

Fargest in ayere tsores un ayer tsar.

Tantst dem tants fun freyd un nakhes

ale sonim oyf tsu lakhes.

Yidn, tantst dem heymishn bulgar!




Genug getroyert, tantsn viln mir.

Klezmer, shvaygt nit, git zikh shoyn a rir!

Blozt dos fleytl, klapt di tatsn,

rayst di strunes biz tsum platsn.

A heymishn bulgar dos tantsn mir.




Tantst un hulyet, Yidn,

der tants vet zayn a guter simen.

Tantst dan vi es flegn di oves fun a mol!

Tantst un freyt zikh, Yidn,

dan vet meshiekh gikher kumen.

L’shono habo veln mir tantsn in Yisrol.




Shoyn hunderter mol dikh geyogt, Yisrol.

Gelitn fun sonim,

dos hostu shoyn on a tsol.

Nor tomid iz undzer shtrebn nor tsu lebn,

un got zingen a shir.

Shrayt zhe hoykh mit mut un koyekh,

vayl eybik lebn mir.

[Fellow] Jews, dance the homey bulgar!

Forget your troubles and your sadness.

Dance the dance of joy and pleasure

to spite all of our enemies.

Jews, dance the homey bulgar.




We have grieved enough, we want to dance.

Musicians, don’t be silent, get moving!

Blow the flute, strike the cymbals,

pull the strings until they burst.

A homey bulgar is what we dance.




Dance and revel, Jews,

the dance will be a good omen.

Dance as our forefathers did!

Dance and rejoice, Jews,

then the Messiah will come faster.

Next year we will dance in Israel.




Hundreds of times you have been pursued, Israel.

You have suffered at the hands of enemies countless times.

But our striving is always only to live,

and to sing God a song of praise.

Shout out aloud with courage and strength,

because we live forever.




20. 3:38 Dana dana dana & Dona Dona (Yiddish & American)

(Yiddish: Aaron Zeitlin; Music: Sholom Secunda, © 1940)

(English: Teddi Schwartz, Arthur Kevess, © 1956 Hargail Music Press; Mills Music)


NAMA 4. These are the original words and music, as sung in the Yiddish Art Theater production of Esterke in 1940 in New York. They were apparently never published (not even in Zeitlin’s collected works), and other books and records we have seen are different, probably influenced by the English version. Most striking, the title was changed from dana to dona (unintentionally, by Teddi Schwartz; it’s a nonsense word). Note also krik (not tsurik), gekert (not gekent), and the F7 major chord. Esterke was about Casimir the Great, King of Poland; this song is not about the Holocaust. (Zeitlin called it “a silly song”, with no special significance.)


We learned this from: ^ Souvenir Book and Song Hits from Esterke, 1940, starring Maurice Schwartz (copy at YIVO); Zeitlin’s original working script, graciously located and copied for us by his widow Rachel; and Dana dana dana, Tova Ronni, Roulette SR-25352 (an Israeli recording). The English version Joan Baez recorded first appeared in Schwartz & Kevess’ book Tumbalalaika, 1956. (Sheldon Secunda is often shown as an author. This was a legal concession, related to his father’s experience with Bei mir bistu shein.) This “ethnic connection” song is world famous, but seldom correctly credited. The English version is quite true to the original.


Sue sings the Yiddish, Barbara does the English and guitar. All three verses are shown below (because you can’t find them anywhere else), though we only sing the first and last.




^ Ofyn furl ligt dos kelbl,

ligt gebundn mit a shtrik.

Hoykh in himl flit dos shvelbl,

freyt zikh, dreyt zikh hin un krik.




Lakht der vint in korn,

lakht un lakht un lakht.

Lakht er op a tog a gantsn

mit a halber nakht.

Dana dana dana, dana! ...




Shrayt dos kelbl, zogt der poyer:

Ver zhe heyst dir zayn a kalb?

Volst gekert tsu zayn a foygl,

volst gekert tsu zayn a shvalb!




Bidne kelber tut men bindn,

un men shlept zey, un men shekht.

Ver s’hot fligl – flit aroyftsu,

iz bay keynem nisht keyn knekht.

On the cart lies the calf,

lies bound with a rope.

High in the sky flies the swallow,

joyfully turns back and forth.




The wind laughs in the rye,

laughs and laughs and laughs.

It laughs a whole day

and half a night.







The calf cries out, the farmer says:

Who tells you to be a calf?

You could have been a bird,

you could have been a swallow!




Poor calves get bound,

and they are dragged, and they are slaughtered.

Whoever has wings – flies skyward,

is to no one a slave.

21. 3:10 Der nayer sher & Wedding Samba (Yiddish & American/Latin)

(Yiddish: Abraham Ellstein, © 1940 Ethnic Music Publishing)

(English: Ellstein, Allan Small, Joseph Liebowitz, © 1948 Duchess Music)


NAMA 4. From the book Great Songs of the Yiddish Theater (see #19); and The Wedding Samba, Carmen Miranda & the Andrews Sisters, MCA Coral CDLM 8029. This is a remarkable ethnic connection – from a Russian “scissors dance” (sher) to the Yiddish theater to a samba; and a “Mexican” samba at that!


Sue sings the Yiddish, Barbara and Sue the English. The Brazilian percussion instruments played by Eytan ben Sheviya on this and #22 include atabaques (conga drums), chocalhos (metal shakers), pandeiros (tambourines), agogô (double bell), maracas, and apito (two-tone samba whistle).




^ Hey, du klezmer, nem dem fidl,

shpil dos naye lidl,

tantsn vet men dem nayem sher.

In a karahod men dreyt zikh,

un dos harts derfreyt zikh,

nor ven men tantst dem nayem sher.




Hekher, hekher, biz der stelye

shpringt der zeyde, Elye,

es vilt zikh lebn im vos mer.

Un di bobe, Sosye, kvelt fun nakhes,

sonim oyf tsu lakhes;

tantsn vet men dem nayem sher.




Nu zet, nor zet, vi yeder freyt zikh,

un vi men dreyt zikh un men tupet mit di fis.

Dos harts tsegeyt, nor tantsn bet zikh,

vayl ven men tantst vert dan dos lebn azoy zis.

Hey, you musician, take the fiddle,

play the new tune,

everyone will dance the new sher.

In a circle you whirl,

and your heart gets happy,

only when you dance the new sher.




Higher, higher, up to the ceiling

springs Grandfather Elye,

he wants to live more and more.

And Grandmother Sosye beams with pride,

to the dismay of her enemies;

everyone will dance the new sher.




Oh look, just look, how everyone makes merry,

and how they whirl and tap their feet.

Your heart melts, wants only to dance,

for when you dance, then life becomes so sweet.




22. 3:51 Tico-tico no fubá (Brazilian & American, Samba)

(Music: Zequinha de Abreu, 1917; Carioca Portuguese words:

Aloysio de Oliveira, © 1939? Southern Music?)

(English words: Ervin Drake, © 1943 Peer International)


NAMA 4. Arranged by David Owens from: Tico-tico,

Carmen Miranda & Bando Da Lua, Decca 23414A (78);

Tico-tico, Charles Wolcott & Aloysio Oliveira, Decca

23318A (78); and Tico tico, Xavier Cugat, Elena

Verdugo, Columbia 36780 (78)

(“For perfect tone use Columbia Needles”). Melody written as a chorinho by Abreu, a Brazilian bandleader, and called “sparrow in the cornmeal” because of the dancers bobbing up and down.

(A tico-tico is a Brazilian finch, the rufous-collared sparrow.) Lyrics by Aloysio Oliveira, leader of the ^ Bando da lua (“group of the moon”), featured by Miranda and in the 1942 Disney “Good Neighbor” film Saludos Amigos. Jose Oliveira (above) did the parrot Joe Carioca!


Barbara sings the Brazilian vocal (you have to hear Carmen Miranda’s recording to know how good this is!), she and Sue the English. Dan Ratkovich plays the guitar solo, originally done by Nestor Amaral on a Del Vecchio dynamic tenor guitar. Brazilian percussion by Eytan ben Sheviya (see #21). Thanks to Aloysio Oliveira for consultation on this song.


(* not sung by Carmen or Barbara.)




^ O tico-tico tá, tá outra vez aqui,

o tico-tico tá comendo o meu fubá.




Se o tico-tico tem, tem que se alimentar,

que vá comer umas minhocas no pomar.

(Eu sei que ele vem viver no meu quintal,

e vem com ares de canário e de pardal.)*




Mas por favor tira esse bicho do celeiro,

porque ele acaba comendo o fubá inteiro.

Tira esse tico de lá (cá),

de cima de meu fubá.

Tem tanta fruta que ele pode pinicar.




Eu já fiz tudo para ver se conseguia.

Botei alpiste para ver se ele comia.

Botei um gato, um espantalho,

e um alçapão, mas ele acha

que o fubá é que é boa alimentação.

The tico-tico is, is once again here,

the tico-tico is eating my cornmeal.




If the tico-tico has, has to feed himself,

let him eat some worms in the orchard.

(I know that he comes to live in my yard,

and comes with airs of a canary and a sparrow.)




But please take that creature out of the granary,

because he is eating up all the cornmeal.

Get that tico out of there (here),

from on top of my cornmeal.

He has so much fruit that he can peck.




I have done everything to see if I can catch him.

I threw out birdseed to see if he would eat it.

I put out a cat, a scarecrow,

and a trap, but he thinks

that the cornmeal is the best food.




23. 3:53 Home in Pasadena (American)

(Music: Harry Warren; Words: Grant Clarke, Edgar Leslie,

© 1923 Clarke & Leslie Songs; Fisher; Four Jays)


Recorded live in our Community Concert 30 Oct 1983, in Santa Ana CA (the last time we ever sang this). This was done by Al Jolson with Isham Jones, Brunswick 2582 (78), but immortalized by Vernon Dalhart (Marion Try Slaughter) & Ed Smalle in their inventive counterpoint version, Regal 5442 & Bell P276A (78s). A wonderful old-time song, and the official song of Pasadena CA (which is not widely known!). Sue sings the melody, Barbara and David most of the harmony and counterpoint. Close your eyes and picture Pasadena in 1923!


24. 2:39 Orange Blossom Special (American)

(Ervin Thomas Rouse, © 1938 Rouse; MCA Music)


NAMA 4. Arranged by David Owens, Miamon Miller, and Loretta Kelley from: Rouse Brothers, 1939, RCA LPV-532; Bill Monroe, RCA Camden CAL-719; Johnny Cash, Columbia CS 9639; and Stone’s Throw (w/Paul Severtson), Sierra SRS-8709. A train in Florida inspired this famous exhibition tune. Loretta Kelley on the flying fast fiddle. Hope you enjoyed these as much as we did.


(Revised Jan 2011 for downloads)


Also check out my 2010 CD by The Ethnic Connection, called “An Eclectic Collection”.


http://www.pasty.net/~dowens/EthnicConnectionCD.html



^

A brief history (at our 25th Anniversary)


The Aman Folk Ensemble was founded in Los Angeles CA in 1964 by Tony Shay and Leona Wood. I joined in 1966 as a novice accordionist and folk dance enthusiast. There I started learning about Balkan music (especially from Phil Harland), and met most of the musicians on this CD. Around 1970 Miamon Miller and I started playing some other jobs, including street music. In 1972 we were arrested in Westwood Village for “carrying on a business with no license”! The ACLU took our case. We lost the trial and the appeal, but persuaded the City Council to exempt street musicians, making Westwood the mecca it became for street acts!


By 1974 some of us were playing for folk dances as well, and Aman suggested we not use their name if they weren’t booking the jobs. NAMA (Aman backwards) was sort of a joke at first, but stuck, especially after we released NAMA 1. We later found out it also meant “us” in Serbian (as in igrajte s nama) and “live” in Japanese (as in nama ōkesutora)! Regulars then included Miamon, Andy King, Neil Siegel, and Loretta Kelley. For the recordings we also used Chris Yeseta, Phil Harland, and Mark Levy. Our singers were Trudy Israel and Susan North. They had a wonderful blend (listen to the Lesnoto Medley or Jove), and did most of the vocals on NAMA 1 & 2.


Meanwhile, Pearl Rottenberg (now Taylor) had interested us in doing Yiddish songs, starting in the early 1970’s. By 1974 we were playing weddings etc., and working on material for an Aman Jewish suite that never happened. In 1976 we recorded Di mizinke on NAMA 2, our first klezmer type recording. And in 1978 we released NAMA 3, which may have been the second full Yiddish/klezmer record in the 1970’s klezmer revival (just after The Klezmorim in 1977). Most Yiddish records available at that time were either operatic singers (like Jan Peerce) with symphony orchestras or folk singers with a guitar. We wanted a sound more like an old world ensemble. To me, that was klezmer, but we didn’t use the term, because it was just coming into use then. Before that it mainly meant a musician, and not always in a complimentary way. Traditionally, klezmer music did not include singing, but I feel that it does now.


In the late 70’s, Barbara Slade and Sue Komoorian became our singers (and Dan Ratkovich joined). They handled not only the Balkan and Yiddish, but also Hungarian, Russian, Hebrew, American, Latin. I studied Yiddish at UCLA under Janet Hadda. Folk dancing was fading, so we did a lot of klezmer jobs. And in 1982/83 we did two tours for Community Concerts Inc., through nine western states and Canada, performing in towns as large as Boise ID and as small as Thermopolis WY! We called that program “The Ethnic Connection”, because we played a number of pop songs that started out as ethnic songs. Dan and Loretta did the first tour with us, Stu Brotman and Agi Ban the second. In the mid 80’s, Stu played regularly, as did Mike Gordon on clarinet.


In 1986 I moved to Ann Arbor MI, where I started a new group called . . . . The Ethnic Connection! (Not knowing there was already such a group in Madison WI.) We also play Balkan, Yiddish, klezmer, and old American ballroom & contra dance music. The other regulars are Nan Nelson, Ralph Katz, and Carol Palms, all wonderful musicians who sing and play multiple instruments.


© p 1999 David H. Owens, 2608 Traver Blvd., Ann Arbor, MI 48105. (734) 662-5253.

^ The NAMA Orchestra, an offshoot from the Aman Folk Ensemble, was from 1974 to 1986 probably the country’s best known Balkan folk dance band, and part of the klezmer revival of the 1970’s. Here are their “greatest hits” ----

Serbian, Macedonian, Bulgarian, Greek, Israeli, Yiddish, klezmer, American, and Latin – by a remarkable group of musicians.

1. 3:43 NAMA Lesnoto Medley (Macedonian)

2. 2:34 Koga srce boli (Serbian, U šest)

3. 2:52 Siko horepse, kukli mu (Greek/Turkish, Syrto)

4. 3:33 Gergebunarsko horo (Bulgarian, Pravo horo)

5. 2:28 Eleno mome (Bulgarian)

6. 2:22 Kukunješće (Serbian)

7. 2:22 Bučimiš (Bulgarian)

8. 2:09 Čarlama (Serbian)

9. 2:27 Jove, malaj mome (Bulgarian)

10. 3:37 Rŭka (Bulgarian)

11. 3:22 Snošti sakav da ti dojdam (Macedonian, Bavno oro / Lesnoto)

12. 3:06 Salty Dog Rag (American, Round dance / Schottische)

13. 3:03 Hana’ava babanot (Israeli)

14. 2:40 Erev ba (Israeli)

15. 2:29 Di mizinke oysgegebn (Yiddish / Klezmer)

16. 2:43 Doină (Romanian / Klezmer)

17. 2:19 NAMA Freylekhs Medley (Klezmer)

18. 3:15 Moyshele, mayn fraynd (Yiddish)

19. 3:10 A heymisher bulgar (Yiddish / Klezmer)

20. 3:38 Dana dana dana & Dona Dona (Yiddish & American)

21. 3:10 Der nayer sher & Wedding Samba (Yiddish & American/Latin)

22. 3:51 Tico-tico no fubá (Brazilian & American, Samba)

23. 3:53 Home in Pasadena (American)

24. 2:39 Orange Blossom Special (American)

73:44

© p 1999 David H. Owens, The Ethnic Connection, 2608 Traver Blvd., Ann Arbor, MI 48105

http://www.pasty.net/~dowens/




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