Yaneks Khasene

Yanek’s Wedding
יאַנעקס חתונה

Sung by Chana Mlotek in the 1930’s and ’40’s in the United States. Mikhl Gelbart attributed the words to Moyshe Kulbak (1896-1940), one of the first Yiddish writers arrested and killed in the Soviet Union during the Stalinist purge. The text was published by Gelbart in 1937-8. The melody was used by Sam Liptzin for his song “Kumt aroys di zun” (When the sun comes out).

Illustration of musical notes from the books


In a large villiage, it is joyful now.
A child of Yanek’s is getting married.
Tra-la-la-la, tra-la-la-la,
A child of Yanek’s is getting married.

There are bottles of wine on a large table,
Yanek, the in-law, guzzles it down his throat.

The bride dressed up in a linen dress,
the groom’s new boots smeared
with boot black.

An old gentile leans against the wall,
he is holding a harmonica –
he’s the musician.

There are no chairs, so people stand by the walls;
there are no spoons or forks –
so they eat with their hands.

In a groysn dorf, freylekh iziatslnd,
Khasene iz haynt bay Yaneks a kind.
Tra-la-la-la-la, tra-la-la-la-la
Khasene iz haynt bay Yaneks a kind.

Oyf a groysn tish shteyen flesher vayn,
Yanek, der mekhutn, gist in haldz arayn.

In a layvnt kleyd, di kale oysgetsirt;
Dem khosns naye shtivl mit
dzhegakhts oysgeshmirt.

Shteyt an alter goy ongeshpart in vant,
A harmoshke halt er —
er iz der muzikant.

S’iz nito keyn shtuln, shteyt men bay di vent;
Nishto keyn lefl, gopl —
est men mit di hent.

אין אַ גרױסן דאָרף, פֿרײלעך איז אַצינד,
חתונה איז הײַנט בײַ יאַנעקס אַ קינד.
טראַ-לאַ-לאַ-לאַ-לאַ, טראַ-לאַ-לאַ-לאַ-לאַ,
חתונה איז הײַנט בײַ יאַנעקס אַ קינד.

אױף אַ גרױסן טיש שטײען פֿלעשער װײַן,
יאַנעק, דער מחותּן, גיסט אין האַלדז אַרײַן.

אין אַ לײַװנט קלײד, די כּלה אױסגעצירט;
דעם חתנס נײַע שטיװל מיט דזשעגעכץ אױסגעשמירט.

שטײט אַן אַלטער גױ אָנגעשפּאַרט אין װאַנט,
אַ האַרמאָשקע האַלט ער — ער איז דער מוזיקאַנט.

ס’איז ניטאָ קײן שטולן, שטײט מען בײַ די ווענט;
נישטאָ קײן לעפֿל, גאָפּל — עסט מען מיט די הענט.

Song Title: Yaneks Khasene

Composer: Unknown
Composer’s Yiddish Name: Unknown
Lyricist: Moyshe Kulbak
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: משה קולבאַק
Time Period: Unspecified

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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