Folk Roots, August/September 1994
“…a garland of pleasure…”
Dirty Linen, August/September 1994
“…a lovely and loving compilation of Jewish Music…”
Lyrics to all the songs can be downloaded here:
Lyric Sheets for Tzimmes – Sweet and Hot
1. Yossel Yossel [4:25]
Music: Samuel Steinberg
Words: Nellie Casman
A real hooked-on-love song, Yiddish style: “Oh, Yossel, I’m out of my mind over you”!
2. Hashem Yishmorcha (May the Lord Watch Over You) [5:15]
Music: Moshe Denburg
Words: Traditional (The Prayer for the Way)
An original melody in a Hassidic ‘dveykut’ (devotional) style. ‘May the Lord watch over your going out and coming in; Now and always’.
3. Morenica (The Dark Skinned Girl) [4:21]
Adapted and Arranged from the traditional Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) repertoire.
A love song from the Ladino repertoire. ‘Morenica, they call me; I was born white and the summer sun darkened my skin. Oh, lovely dark girl with graceful manner and black eyes…’
4. Laner Velivsamim (For the Candle and the Spices) [4:55]
Music: Avihu Medina
An allusion to the Havdala ceremony at the close of the Sabbath; the poet expresses his yearning to be near the candle and the spices, i.e. – to live in the light and presence of God.
5. Adio Querida (Goodbye My Dear) [4:20]
Adapted and Arranged from the traditional Ladino repertoire.
Another love song in Ladino; the unrequited lover speaks defiantly: “Goodbye my dear, I cannot live anymore with my bitterness; Go look for another love, knock on other doors,for me you are dead”.
6. Vechitetu (Swords into Ploughshares) [4:44]
Music: Moshe Denburg
Words: Isaiah, II:4
‘And they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore’.
7. Shein Vi Di Levone (Lovely Like the Moon) [3:15]
Music: Joseph Rumshinsky
Words: C. Tauber
A famous Yiddish love song: ‘Lovely as the moon, As bright as the stars; You were sent to me as a gift from heaven’.
8. Odessa Bulgarish [2:24]
Adapted and Arranged from the traditional Klezmer repertoire.
Tzimmes takes on the famous piece in that Bulgar rhythm from Odessa.
9. Rozhinkes mit Mandlen (Raisins and Almonds) [4:01]
Music: Traditional, ascribed to Abraham Goldfaden
This well known lullaby may be paraphrased as follows: ‘Under little Yidele’s cradle is a snow white billy goat; This billy goat has been to market; And so it shall be Yidele’s calling too – To go to market and trade in raisins and almonds; But sleep now, my Yidele, sleep’.
10. Gib Mir a Heym (Give Me a Home) [3:15]
Music: the tune of ‘Home On the Range’
Yiddish Translation: from ‘Gut Yuntif Gut Yohr’ by Marie Jaffe Used by permission of Carol Publishing.
This spirited Tzimmes arrangement of the old workhorse has made some great shakes in ‘Nosh’-ville. 🙂
11. The Book of Life [3:44]
Music and Words: Moshe Denburg
A song about the spiritual questions of love, the title line is an allusion to the prayer we recite on Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year), requesting God to inscribe us in the Book of Life.
12. Adon Olam (Ruler of the Universe) [4:41]
Music: Myrna Rabinowitz
Words: Traditional (Morning Prayers)
Arrangement: Moshe Denburg
The Ruler of the Universe is the one God without compare, Who has been, is, and shall be glorified. He is my God, my refuge, my true portion. So long as He is near, I shall continue unafraid.
13. Matai Tagia Eit Lashalom (When Will the Time of Peace Arrive) [5:53]
Music and Words: Moshe Denburg and Ya’akov Mizrahi
An original peace song: ‘When will the time of peace arrive? Peace upon Israel! Peace upon Ishmael! A voice calls from within the dark – When will the time of peace arrive?’
Sweet and Hot
Tzimmes (pronounced: tsi’- mes) is a Yiddish word for a sweet culinary concoction made variously of stewed carrots, honey, raisins, and prunes; it is considered to be the perfect complement to the main course of a Jewish feast. In another, more humorous connection, Jewish people are warned not to complicate a simple matter, with the adage: “Don’t make me a big Tzimmes!” (It is safe to say that the warning is usually ignored!). All in all, a Tzimmes seems to go in many directions at once – you can eat it, you can think about it, you can ask for the recipe, you can compare it with the one your grandmother used to make, etc., etc.
So here is a band, whose members come from far flung parts of the Jewish world, brought together in Vancouver of all places, who would love to share their Jewish musical spirit with you. And what exactly do they play, you ask? Well, as our sages have said on numerous occasions, a Tzimmes is made up of many ingredients – so, you might say that the dish being served, musically speaking, is comprised of a melange of Jewish musical streams:
Sephardi – Jewish music influenced by the cultures of Spain, North Africa, and the Near East;
Klezmer – Jewish music influenced by the cultures of Europe, especially Eastern Europe;
Contemporary – music from Israel and the diaspora today.
To sum it all up, Tzimmes enjoys referring to its brand of musical addiction as ‘Sephardi-Klezmer’ – in a hyphenated-word, the best of all Jewish musical worlds!
Tzimmes had its humble beginnings in 1986 in Victoria, B.C., and for about 4 years played for enthusiastic Jewish and non-Jewish audiences alike. They disbanded in 1990, but as mazel (luck) would have it, two of its members, namely Moshe Denburg and Julian Siegel, moved to Vancouver. They fell out of touch for about a year, but in the fall of 1991, together with a longtime friend of Moshe’s from Jerusalem, Yona Bar-Sever, Tzimmes was re-formed. Soon after they were joined by songstress Myrna Rabinowitz, and it is this quartet, with a little help from its friends, which is the Tzimmes being served on this, their debut, album.
So what’s left to say? Try it, maybe you’ll like it! Emes (truly), we feel that there is something here for everyone.
In the Hassidic (Jewish devotional) tradition, music is seen as a way to become one with the Creator. With this in mind, we dedicate this work to all those, of whatever cultural stripe, whose goodwill is God’s reason for creating the beauty of this world, and our reason for singing about it.