Louisa Lyne & di Yiddishe Kapelye: Lust

June 9, 2020

Destined to Dare

Listening Post 256. Louisa Lyne’s art is inserting Yiddish songs into unexpected contexts. On her third album she and her band put the traditional language of Ashkenazi Jews into creative dialogue with Spanish, English, Hebrew and her native Swedish; mix period pieces with new, sometimes surprising, material; and season with klezmer, tango, jazz, Central European cabaret, Cuban and West African sounds. In Lyne’s dazzling and gentle voice, Yiddish is what it once was and still dares to be—a language with a memory and a future. Lust (Passion/לוסט) is collection of dramatic stories and the taut line that connects them: Daring to love, daring to stand out, daring to be yourself, to criticize, even to juggle knives in the circus. In Umru Mayne (My Unrest) she partners with Colombian artist Marta Gómez to mine the sweet agony of romance (video 1); but there’s ironic agony in survival, as A Mol Iz Geven (Once Upon a Time) shows with an unflattering picture of how Sweden’s wartime neutrality abetted Nazi Germany (video 2). S’nemt a Nar (It Takes a Fool to Remain Sane) is a glam rock anthem of self-honesty given new life in Yiddish translation (video 3). Lyne sings a Swedish-Hebrew conversation about love with Israeli maestro-musician Idan Raichel—to Maher Cissoko’s dulcet kora—in Innan Det Tar Slut (Before It Ends, video 4). The album also evokes early twentieth century New York with Mayn Rue-Plats (My Resting Place, video 5), based on the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. With no Jewish background, Lyne started her journey by chance, attending a Yiddish concert she calls a case of “love at first sight”—followed by years of study. Fearful of being seen as an interloper, she was received warmly when she first performed in Israel, and her city’s Jewish community newsletter calls her “Malmö’s own Yiddish music queen.” Chance? Rather, bashert. It means destiny. (Maestro Music)

Louisa Lyne & di Yiddishe Kapelye: Lust / Passion / לוסט
Louisa Lyne: Vocals
Irina Binder: Violin
Anna Thorstensson: Cello, backing vocals
Pernille Rømer: Double bass
Edin Bahtijaragic: Keyboards, accordion, percussion, electronic sounds, double bass
Robin Lyne: Piano, keyboards, guitar, backing vocals
Johnny Åman: Double-bass, guitar
Marcus Gunnarsson: Guitar
Jens Lindgård: Keyboards, trombone, percussion, electronic sounds
Petter Lindgård: Horn
Daniel Pergament Persson: Percussion
Emil Sjunnesson: Drums
Johan Theorin: Cello
Anders Thorén: Piano, keyboards, percussion

Guest artists:
Idan Raichel, Vocals
Marta Gómez: Vocals
Daniel Lemma: Vocals
Maher Cissoko: Kora
Jenny Nilsson: Beats & loops
Filip Jers: Harmonica
Bosko Jovic: Guitar


Umru Mayne / My Unrest / אומרו מײַנע (feat. Marta Gómez)
Music: Jonas Nydesjö/Poem: Moshe Leyb Halpern

(From the Yiddish lyrics/Spanish translation by Marta Gómez)
Who can fathom the beauty of the sea?
Who can gaze upon the luster of your eyes
And not have his heart rent from joy?
And not have his heart rent from pain?

You, you the source of my unrest, you
Why do I long so for you? O tell me!
A night or day doesn’t pass …
And I think only of you, and I dream only of you—
Of you, of you, you my life, you the heart in me,
You, you my unrest, you


A Mol Iz Geven / Once Upon a Time / אַ מאָל איז געווען
Music: Louisa Lyne/Lyrics: Salomon Schulman
The song raises the issue of how Swedish neutrality during World War II aided the German war effort, mainly through the export of iron ore

(From the Yiddish and Swedish lyrics)
I’ll tell you all a story/The story isn’t cheering
The story starts with the “white ones”/And not with an old Jewish king

I’ve come to this land from Poland/I barely remember from where…
I was almost burned, just like coal/Thanks to God my life was spared

The white buses of Folke Bernadotte/And a pretty comrade with blonde hair
From a far-off city came to this spot/And gave us alms from over there

In their eyes we saw it clear/And the truth was very plain
What does it matter to us here/When from us just bones remain?

The “little Swedes” made out quite well/The German trains passed through their land
While worse than dogs we slaved in hell/They welcomed the Nazi caravan.

Celebrate our best friend/You can count on us!
Folke, Siv and Swedish Sven/Love everyone equally

What do I know if the buses were white/Or if Bernadotte did prove so brave?
I only know the crematoriums burned bright/And that Swedish iron laid us in the grave

You can come now with your white buses/Driven with gasoline – not humanity
In any case, you’ll not get my kisses/You helped a world of brutality

Celebrate our best friend/You can count on us!
Folke, Siv and Swedish Sven/Love everyone equally

The story is far from cheering/And never has been, you see
In our graves we still are screaming/And you helped Hitlerites willingly


S’nemt a Nar / It Takes a Fool to Remain Sane / ס’נעמט אַ נאַר
Music & Lyrics: Ola Salo/Yiddish translation: Salomon Schulman
Originally performed in English, It Takes a Fool to Remain Sane was a landmark 2000 hit by the Swedish glam rock band The Ark

Whatever happened to the funky race?/A generation lost in pace
Wasn’t life supposed to be more than this?/In this I’ll change your boredom for my bliss

Let go of my hand and it will/Slip on the sand
If you don’t give me the chance/To break down the walls of attitude
I ask nothing of you/Not even your gratitude

And if you think I’m corny/Then it will not make me sorry
It’s your right to laugh at me/And in turn, that’s my opportunity
To feel brave

‘Cause it takes a fool to remain sane/Oh, it takes a fool to remain sane
Oh, it takes a fool to remain sane/Oh, in this world all covered up in shame

Every morning I would see her getting off the bus/The picture never drops, it’s like a multicolored snapshot
Stuck in my brain, it kept me sane/For a couple of years, as it drenched my fears
Of becoming like the others/Who become unhappy mothers
And fathers of unhappy kids/And why is that?

‘Cause they’ve forgotten how to play/Or maybe they’re afraid to feel ashamed
o seem strange/To seem insane
To gain weight, to seem gay/I’ll tell you this:

That it takes a fool to remain sane/Oh, it takes a fool to remain sane
Oh, it takes a fool to remain sane/Oh, in this world all covered up in shame

Oh, take it to the stage!
So, take it to the stage in a multicolored jacket/Take it jackpot, crackpot, strutting like a peacock
Nail varnish Arkansas, shimmy-shammy feather boa/Crackpot haircut, dye your hair in glowing red and blue

Do, do, do what you wanna do/Don’t think twice, do what you have to do
Do, do, do, do, let your heart decide/What you have to do, that’s all there is to find

‘Cause it takes a fool to remain sane/Oh, it takes a fool to remain sane
Oh, in this world all covered up in shame/Oh, it takes a fool to remain sane

Oh, it takes a fool to remain sane/Oh, it takes a fool to remain sane
Oh, in this world all covered up in shame/Oh, it takes a fool!


Innan Det Tar Slut / Before It Ends / לפני שייגמר (feat. Idan Raichel)
Music and Lyrics: Idan Raichel

From the Hebrew lyrics by Idan Raichel and Swedish translation by Yair Sapir
Don’t be afraid to fall in love/Or that your heart will break
Don’t be afraid of getting lost along the way

Waking up every morning/And living life
And trying everything, before it ends/Of searching for our roots
And in the end, going back to the start/Finding beauty in everything
Of dancing until we are overwhelmed by exhaustion/Or love

From all the moments in time/Of finding one to hold on to
To say that we’ve made it/Always remembering to stop for a moment
To be grateful for what we have and where we’ve come from

Of holding her at night/When she falls asleep
The world breathes a gentle sigh/Breathing her in deeply
Knowing that forever/I’ll be there for her


Mayn Rue-Plats / My Resting Place / מײַן רוע-פלאַץ
Music & Lyrics: Morris Rosenfeld

On March 25, 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City caught fire, killing 146 garment workers—mostly young Italian and Jewish immigrant women. It was the deadliest industrial disaster in the city’s history and also a watershed in the struggle for workers’ rights. Morris Rosenfeld, who had once worked in the factory, wrote this poem in memory of the fire’s victims.

(From the Yiddish lyrics)
Don’t look for me where myrtles are grow/You will not find me there, my beloved
Where lives wither at the machines/There is my resting place

Don’t look for me where birds sing/You will not find me there, my beloved
A slave am I where chains clang/There is my resting place

Don’t look for me where fountains spray/You will not find me there, my beloved
Where tears flow and teeth grind/There is my resting place

And if you love me with true love/Then come to me, my good beloved
And cheer my gloomy heart/And make sweet my resting place



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