Apostrophe Now

There was once a place, or something like a place, called Yiddishland, a spectral country without territory that existed alongside the mapped states of Europe. It was "a nation of words," in Miriam Weinstein’s phrase, the only commonwealth for generations of stateless Askenazi Jews. Where other peoples celebrated landscapes and victories, they celebrated their language, praising in songs and poems its poignance and expressiveness, its resourcefulness in capturing the lived experience of Askenazi Jewry.

This song, with words by Yoysef Kotliar and music by Henech Kon, was written in the former Soviet Union before the Second World War.

"Play me a little song in Yiddish,
a song with heart and feeling,
a song without sighs or tears. . ."

Stephen Varney, piano