Sunday, August 27, 2006

For instance, I wrote another song...

My friend Scott, who is crazy for Yiddish literature in general and the work of Jacob Dinezon in particular (he and his sister have paid to have several of Dinezon's works translated), turned me on to a song lyric I never really listened to before.

A tailor has a worn out coat...

It doesn't have a single whole stitch in it
So I thought about what to do
And I turned it into a jacket

Then I had a worn out jacket, not a whole stitch in it
I thought about what to do and I turned it into a vest

I turned the vest into a hat

I turned the hat into a button."

Scott went on, "Then I lost the button, then I had nothing.
But what can you make from nothing?

Well, from it I made this song."

Isn't that GREAT? But it turns out Scott, an excellent storyteller, has made somewhat more of a story out of this song than was actually there... it also turns out the traditional tune is very lame, and it's full of "tra-la-la," and I don't know if it's the irony and ennui of the modern age or what, but nobody is willing to sing tra-la-la anymore, have you noticed that? ...

So I wrote a verse that was in line with the excellent story he had told, and I wrote my own tune and arranged it (and I left out the tra-la-la part), and now there's a new version of the old song, "Hob Ikh Mir a Mantl," and I feel pretty cheery about that.

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At 12:38 AM, Anonymous Sylvia said...

For me, whenever I hear a la-la or a tra-la-la it's like hearing fingernails on the blackboard. I'm pretty happy that people don't sing these much anymore. I wonder what happened in my past that makes me loathe these innocuous words? Good for you for leaving out the tra-la-la!


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