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SWM-012 Michael Kaulkin Tumbalalayka

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Catalogue #:SWM-013
Composer Tumbalalayka (In Print)
Michael Kaulkin

Tumbalalayka (In Print)

for mixed chorus a cappella

Tumbalalayka is one of the most performed and beloved Yiddish folksongs. It is, quite simply, a riddle:

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Sheyt a bokher. Sheyt un trakht.
Trakht un trakht a gantse nakht.
Vemen zu nemen un nit farshemen.

Tumbalalaika, shpil balalaika
Tumbalalaika, freylekh zol zayn

Meydl, meydl, ‘khvil bay dir freygn,
Vos ken vaksn, vaksn on regn?
Vos ken brennen, un nit oyfhern?
Vos ken benken, veynen on trern?

Narisher bokher, vos darfstu freygn?
Shteynen ken vaksn, vaksn on regn!
Libe ken brenen, un nit oyfhern,
A harts ken benken, veynen on trern!

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A young lad stands there thinking all night long: Whom shall I choose, without causing her shame?

Tumbalalaika, play the balalaika.
Tumbalalaika, be joyful.

Young girl, I’ve got a question:
What can grow without rain?
What can burn forever?
What can weep without tears?

Silly lad! What are these questions?
Stones can grow without rain!
Love can burn forever!
The heart can weep without tears!


This choral setting employs the use of instrument-like sounds imitating the strumming of the balalayka, a Russian folk instrument similar to a guitar, and contrasts the upbeat “Tumbalalayka” refrain with dark harmonic colors and occasional smooth polyphonic textures.


(Note: 8-copy minimum purchase for most choral titles)

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