Saturday, April 25, 2009

"Siete Dias Enserados" - Greek Sephardic poetry of the Holocaust, new music by me.

David Haim was originally from Salonika in Greece. He survived the death camps and immigrated to Tel Aviv after the Holocaust.

This year our local Yom HaShoah (Holocaust remembrance) memorial featured a speaker from Greece, so Sheva Zucker and her committee worked on finding music from Greek tradition. They wanted to feature this poem although the speaker was not a Sephardic Jew, because Sephardic Jews actually outnumbered Greek-speaking (Romaniote) Jews in the country.

I offered to set this poem to music. I listened to about thirty Greek cds (I bought them all in a bundle on eBay a few years ago!) and then channeled Tsitsianis. Here's the first and perhaps only-ever performance of the song as I put it together. Sung by the Triangle Jewish Chorale, April 20 2009, with Ken Bloom on guitar, Bob Vasile on bouzouki, and I was playing fiddle.

Siete Dias Enserados (free mp3 for download)

It's been brought to my attention (see comments) that the author had a melody for this song and has performed it.

Siete dias enserados (Seven Days Locked Up)
Poem by David Haim, music adapted/written by Jane Peppler

Siete dias enserados
en vagones de bemas
ouna ves alos tres dias
mos quitavan ayrear.

Madre mia mi querida
ya touvites el zehout
de mouerirte en tous tieras
y non passates por el olouk.

Padre mio mi cerido
quien te lo iva dezir
que vinieras con tou ermano
al cramatorio de Auchvits?

Padre y madre ermanos y ermanikas
saliendo todos redjadjis
a el patron de el moundo
que embie saloud ami
que me quite de estos campos
para vos etchar kadich.

Seven days locked up in boxcars for animals. Once every three days they would take us out for air.

My dearest mother, you were fortunate, dying in your own country and not passing through the chimney.

My dearest father, who would have told you that you would come with your brother to the crematorium of Auschwitz?

Father and mother, brothers and sisters, may you all be supplicants to the Master of the World, to grant me health and remove me from these camps to recite Kaddish for you.




At 12:26 PM, Blogger Jen said...

I thought it was BEAUTIFUL! You did a wonderful job!

At 12:27 PM, Blogger Cap'n Sylvia Sharkbait said...

What a powerful poem. I had to sit for some time and ponder humankind. How can people can be so cruel to others? How are people able to rise out of the worst situations and find life again? How are people able to deal with such overwhelming grief and still find love in their hearts? Thank you for sharing this poem and the amazing song that you wrote. Nicely done.

At 7:08 AM, Anonymous Judith Cohen said...

hi, nice arrangement But why are you telling an untruth? The author of the poem was recorded singing it, and it is in Israeli and Holocaust Musem archives. And it is NOT the tune you use or anything like it. How DARE you claim that your setting is the first performance of this song? Do at least a LITTLE research before making such clams and in effect stealing something from Holocaust survivor. Judith Cohen

At 7:41 AM, Blogger melinama said...

Dear Judith Cohen, I was just saying this was the first performance of the tune I used. And I also did not say there had never been any other tune. For goodness sake, read more carefully before you impugn me. If there is a link to the author's setting, I would be happy to post it.

At 5:34 PM, Anonymous desertpoet said...

Important poem and music. Thank you so much for posting. I am writing a series of poems about Auschwitz in various voices. The photographs I have accompany the poems.
There is no better way to keep this history alive than through art.
Carine Topal

At 7:56 AM, Blogger תמר מצ'אדו רקנטי said...

It was not a poem as it was sang in the Birkenau. It had a melody borrowed from a song known in Saloniki before the war. So it was sang on this melody in Birkienau. Saying it is a poem is not right, Singing during the Holocaust had many different and very important roles for Jews and non-Jews in the camps. For Jews wherever they were.
Tamar achado Recanati
Musicologist: Music if the Jews during the Holocaust


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