Song Collections

Sources of the Songs on this Website

In line with the general aim of this website - a resource for couch potatoes  - I've tried to include lyrics to all the songs mentioned in the lectures that are not readily available in online data bases. Note that many of the data bases are fed by amateur contributors, and so must be referred to with caution. As to authenticity and reliability, the sources of genuine folksongs are generally elusive, and the words will probably vary from region to region. I deal with this subject in the first lecture - here are a couple of amusing anecdotes!

I myself have no pretensions to be a reliable resource regarding text accuracy - on the contrary! For information regarding the sources of Jewish songs, their development and collection, see the Heritage page, especially articles dealing with Sephardic music and Yiddish music. I have copied the lyrics to the songs on this site from a variety of songbooks at my disposal, listed below. I have also copied songs from disks, some of which are more reliable than others. Regarding translations: I have endeavoured to acknowledge poetic, singable versions of songs; otherwise, I have consulted native speakers and used dictionaries to understand and translate the lyrics. If you come across any errors, I would be grateful to hear from you.

Recommended Song Books

Here is a very partial and personal selection of the songbooks I refer to. For a more comprehensive selection, see the Jewish Music Web Center (for starters ...!)


[Alphabetical order]

♦ Botwinik, D. From Holocaust to Life: New Yiddish Songs, 2010.
♦ Ginzburg, S. & Marek, P. Yiddish Folksongs in Russia: Photo reproduction of the 1901 St. Petersburg Edition. Ramat Gan: Bar-Ilan University Press, 1991.
♦ Leichter, S. Anthology of Yiddish Folksongs. Vol. 5 - "Mordechai Gebirtig"; Vol. 6 - "Mark Warshavsky"; Vol. 7 - "Itsik Manger". Hebrew University of Jerusalem: Magnes Press.
♦ Levin, L. Word and Melody: Yiddish Poetry Set to Music. Tel Aviv: IL Publishing House, 2005.
♦ Mlotek, E. G. Mir Trogn a Gezang: Favorite Yiddish Songs. 4th edition. NY: Workmen's Circle, 2000.
♦ Mlotek, E. & Mlotek, J. Songs of Generations: New Pearls of Yiddish Song. NY: Workmen's Circle.
♦ Mlotek, E. & Mlotek, J. Pearls of Yiddish Song: Favorite Folk, Art and Theater Songs. NY: Workmen's Circle, 1988.
[Combined Index of the three Mlotek songbooks above] 
♦ Mlotek, E. & Gottlieb, M. We are Here: Songs of the Holocaust. NY: Workmen's Circle, 1983.
♦ Mlotek, Ch. & Slobin, M. (Eds.). Yiddish Folksongs from the Ruth Rubin Archive. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2007.
♦ Rubin, R. A Treasury of Jewish Folksong. NY: Shocken Books, 1976.
♦ Slobin, M. Old Jewish Folk Music: The Collections and Writings of Moshe Beregovski. Syracuse University Press, 2000.
♦ Silverman, J. The Undying Flame: Ballads and Songs of the Holocaust. Syracuse University Press, 2002.
♦ Vinkovetzky, A., Kovner, A. & Leichter, S. Anthology of Yiddish Folksongs, Vols.1-4. Hebrew University of Jerusalem: Magnes Press.


[Alphabetical order]

♦ Frankel, J. Sephardic Songs in Judeo-Spanish. Tara, 2001
♦ Perez, A. Blanka Flor: Un Viaje en los Kaminos de la Romansa. [In Hebrew: פרח צחור: מסע בנתיבי הרומנסה]. Instituto Maale Adumim, 2007
♦ Saltiel, A. & Horowitz, J. The Sephardic Songbook. Frankfurt: Peters, 2001
♦ Tasat, R. Sephardic Songs for All. NY: Tara Publications, 2000.
♦ The Nico Castel Ladino Song Book. NY: Tara Publications, 1981
♦ Weich-Shahak, S. Judeo-Spanish Moroccan Songs for the Life Cycle. Jerusalem: The Jewish Music Research Centre, 1989.
♦ Weich-Shahak, S. En buen siman: Panorama of the Sephardic Musical Repertoire. [In Hebrew: אין בואן סימן! מחזות פיוט ומוסיקה של יהודי ספרד ]. Pardes, 2006.