Mudcat Café message #2235333 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #107670   Message #2235333
Posted By: LeTenebreux
13-Jan-08 - 09:30 AM
Thread Name: Needed: question songs
Subject: RE: Needed: question songs
I'm glad someone mentioned Tum Balalaika. I believe the received English translation of this song may have gotten mangled through the folk process. Here, I believe, is a correct translation; it was translated by Felix S. Cohen (who wrote the Handbook of Federal Indian Law).

Maiden, maiden tell me plain
What can grow, can grow without rain?
What can burn for endless years?
What can weep, can weep without tears?


Tum Bala, tum bala, tum balalaika

Tum bala, tum bala, tum balalaika

Tum balalaika spiel balalaika

Tum balalaika, freylekh zol zeyn

Foolish child, the answer is plain
Understanding grows without rain
Love can burn for endless years
A heart can weep, can weep without tears


The standard translation is "A stone can grow, can grow without rain"
"Farshteyn" (understanding) might have sounded like "a shteyn" (a stone). The former makes more sense to me since it fits better with "love" and "heart". Besides it scans better into English.

Good luck in your quest.