Fisherman's Song

Words and music by Aliza Greenblatt (1888-1975). Published in the poet’s collection Tsen lider. Popular in the 1930’s in Europe and the United States. See “Du, du”.

Illustration of musical notes from the books


A fisherman sails on the ocean
he sails out at dawn,
The fisherman hopes at least
to find some little fish…
Tra-la-la, la-la, tra-la-la,
to find some little fish.

The waves murmur quietly to themselves,
the sea is sad
Is the sea perhaps, like me,
also in love?
Tra-la-la, la-la, tra-la-la,
also in love?

I walk along here by the shore
and spin my dreams.
Maybe, somewhere,
I will yet find my beloved…
Tra-la-la, la-la, tra-la-la,
I will yet find my beloved.

The fisherman returns sadly,
he has not caught any fish,
and I am melancholy,
my dream did not come true.
Tra-la-la, la-la, tra-la-la,
my dream did not come true.

Fort a fisher oyfn yam,
Er fort aroys baginen,
S’hoft der fisher min-hastam,
Fishelekh gefinen…
Tra-la-la, la-la, tra-la-la,
Fishelekh gefinen.

Murmlen khvalyes shtil far zikh,
Der yam iz a batribter,
Tsi iz der yam azoy vi ikh,
Oykhet a farlibter?
Tra-la-la, la-la, tra-la-la,
Oykhet a farlibter?

Gey ikh mir baym breg ot do,
Un tu mayn kholem shpinen,
Efsher vel ikh ergets vu,
Mayn libstn nokh gefinen. . .
Tra-la-la, la-la, tra-la-la,
Mayn libstn nokh gefinen

Kumt der fisher troyerik,
Er hot keyn fish gefangen,
Un ikh bin more-shkhoyredik,
A kholem iz fargangen.
Tra-la-la, la-la, tra-la-la,
A kholem iz fargangen.

פֿאָרט אַ פֿישער אױפֿן ים,
ער פֿאָרט אַרױס באַגינען,
ס’האָפֿט דער פֿישער מן־הסתּם,
פֿישעלעך געפֿינען. . .
טראַ־לאַ־לאַ, לאַ־לאַ, טראַ־לאַ־לאַ,
פֿישעלעך געפֿינען.

מורמלען כװאַליעס שטיל פֿאַר זיך,
דער ים איז אַ באַטריבטער,
צי איז דער ים אַזױ װי איך,
אױכעט אַ פֿאַרליבטער?
טראַ־לאַ־לאַ, לאַ־לאַ, טראַ־לאַ־לאַ,
אױכעט אַ פֿאַרליבטער?

גײ איך מיר בײַם ברעג אָט דאָ,
און טו מײַן חלום שפּינען,
אפֿשר װעל איך ערגעץ װוּ,
מײַן ליבסטן נאָך געפֿינען. . .
טראַ־לאַ־לאַ, לאַ־לאַ, טראַ־לאַ־לאַ,
מײַן ליבסטן נאָך געפֿינען.

קומט דער פֿישער טרױעריק,
ער האָט קײן פֿיש געפֿאַנגען,
און איך בין מרה־שחורהדיק,
אַ חלום איז פֿאַרגאַנגען.
טראַ־לאַ־לאַ, לאַ־לאַ, טראַ־לאַ־לאַ,
אַ חלום איז פֿאַרגאַנגען.

Song Title: Fisherlid

Composer: Allza Greenblatt
Composer’s Yiddish Name: עליזה גרינבלאַט
Lyricist: Aliza Greenblatt
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: עליזה גרינבלאַט
Time Period:20th century

This Song is Part of a Collection

Pearls of Yiddish Song Cover with Illustration of musicians playing instruments

Pearls of Yiddish Song

First published in 1988 as Pearls of Yiddish Song: Favorite Folk, Art and Theatre Songs, this anthology contains 115 songs. Some material had never been published, while others, included in rare song collections or sheet music, were largely inaccessible. The songs presented reflect Jewish life in Eastern Europe and the United States and depict childhood, love, family celebrations, poverty, work and struggle. There are also songs from the Hasidic and Maskilic movements, songs of Zion and of America, as well as songs from the Yiddish theater.

The title of this anthology derives from the weekly two-page feature column “Pearls of Yiddish Poetry,” which the compilers Yosl and Chana Mlotek initiated in 1970 in the Yiddish newspaper Der Forvertz (the Yiddish Daily Forward). Hundreds of readers from around the world — including authors, composers, singers, actors — became co-participants in this collective folk project and recalled melodies, lines, fragments, stanzas and their variants of songs, poems, and plays which they had heard in their youth. At first, readers sent in only written material. Later, they also taped songs on cassettes, many of whose melodies had, until then, never been recorded. They also identified and supplied missing information regarding lyricists, poets, and composers and described the circumstances surrounding the songs’ origins, their dissemination, diffusion and impact.

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