A Lid For Every Pot (1995)

Canadian Folk Music Bulletin, December 1995

“A Lid For Every Pot is musical heaven.”

Bob Stern, Program Director, WLIM, Patchogue, NY, July 1998

“A Lid For Every Pot is, was, and will be included in the rotation mix of our Long Island International program. Tzimmes is a great and interesting group who delivers a glowing shade of freshness on tradition.”

Lyrics to all the songs can be downloaded here:



1. Shabhi Yerushalayim (Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem) [4:38]

Language: Hebrew

Music: Avihu Medina

Text: Psalms CXLVII, v.12-13

Based on a text from the Psalms, the celebratory mood of this song is definitely Middle Eastern.

2. Debka Hasid [3:57]

Music: Traditional / Moshe Denburg

An original instrumental, two kinds of rhythms/melodic styles are married here — an Arabic debka (line dance) and a Klezmer 2/4. Are you from the bride’s or the groom’s side?

3. Avre Este Abajour (Open Your Shutter) [2:51]

Adapted and Arranged from the traditional Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) repertoire.

A romantic serenade in a sweet new arrangement.

4. Yome Yome [4:01]

Adapted and Arranged from the traditional Yiddish repertoire.

Here is a song about how Mama and her friend Yome finally figure out that Mama’s little girl is much more interested in a bridegroom than in a new dress.

5. Tres Ermanikas (Three Little Sisters) [4:43]

Adapted and Arranged from the traditional Ladino repertoire.

A romantic story-song in Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) — there were three little sisters; two got married; one fooled around; her father was uptight; sends her to a faraway island (Rhodes); builds a lonely castle for her; one day a knight comes calling by chance, and they find significant otherness. A real Jewish story! 🙂 This new arrangement utilizes two rhythms — a Greek 7/8 for the verses, and a Spanish 6/8 for the choruses.

6. Oyfn Pripetshik (In the Tiny Grate) [5:34]

Music and Words: Mark Warshawski

Coda: Moshe Denburg

Language: Yiddish

A classic Yiddish folk song describing a classroom scene in which little children are given their first lessons in the Hebrew alphabet. The coda, sung without words, is a newly composed piece.

7. Russian Sher [4:07]

Adapted and Arranged from the traditional Klezmer repertoire.

A Klezmer tune, dressed up with scat singing and virtuoso Accordion chops.

8. Eishet Hayil (A Woman of Valour) [4:07]

Language: Hebrew

Music: Moshe Denburg

Text: Proverbs XXXI

A song of praise for the woman of the house, traditionally sung by a husband to his wife upon his return from the Synagogue on the eve of the Sabbath (Friday evening).

9. Tayere Malkele (Dear Malkele) [3:10]

Language: Yiddish

Music and Words: Nokhem Sternheim (1879 – WW II)

A song of adoration and love for Malkele — she is without peer in every category. An uptempo Klezmer treatment with an Arabic ‘belly dance’ episode thrown in just to unhinge it all.

10. K’heref Ayin (In the Wink of an Eye) [3:57]

Language: Hebrew

Music: Moshe Denburg

Lyrics: Moshe Denburg and Simon Ophir

An original piece, dealing with unrequited personal yearnings for the joys of life and love. The work is a marriage between the sound of the Hebrew language and the soft swing of Bossa Nova.

11. Rahav Hayam (Wide is the Ocean) [4:37]

Language: Hebrew

Music: Traditional (O Waly Waly)

Lyrics: Moshe Denburg and Simon Ophir

Original Hebrew lyrics to an old folk favourite dealing with personal reflections on love and its losses. A new arrangement of a traditional heart song.

12. Shuvi Shuvi (Return Return) [5:42]

Language: Hebrew

Music: Moshe Denburg

Text: Adapted from the Song of Songs

Based on texts from the ancient Song of Songs, here is an original Worldbeat number; the chorus goes — Set me as a seal upon thine heart, As a seal upon thine arm, For love is strong as death.

A Lid for Every Pot

– Pre-Ramble

Tzimmes (pronounced: tsi’- mes):
a sweet dish of mixed cooked vegetables and fruits;
a mixup; noble confusion.

To prepare for this fresh Tzimmes we began by putting out a feeler for good cooks.

Enter the human avalanche – with the added conundrum of the inexorable Jewish propensity for adding encyclopaedic commentary to a simple recipe. (Just imagine the size of a fortune cookie if the Chinese were so disposed!).

Oh boy, did we have cooks!

So, fully realizing that a prune is still a prune no matter how many ways you look at it, and acknowledging that too many cooks tend to transform the stew beyond palatability, a unique solution was devised: give every cook his/her very own pot with his/her very own lid!

And so far, no complaints…

Here then is A Lid for Every Pot – love and its many facets: love of a woman, love of a man; love of learning, love of God; love of a friend, love of children, and of course, love of a good song. Your lid, my pot – your pot, my lid: love simmering without beginning or end.

Tzimmes served again – with a smile.

Moshe Denburg

November 1994.