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Origins: Tzena, Tzena, Tzena (Weavers, et al.)

Related thread:
Lyr Req: Tzena, Tzena, Tzena (The Weavers) (6) (closed)


SteveF 07 Dec 98 - 04:33 PM
Gene 07 Dec 98 - 05:41 PM
allan.S 07 Dec 98 - 07:40 PM
SteveF 08 Dec 98 - 09:47 AM
Craig 08 Dec 98 - 11:20 PM
Philippa 09 Dec 98 - 06:29 AM
rich r 09 Dec 98 - 11:37 PM
Jerry Friedman 10 Dec 98 - 11:39 AM
Allan C. 11 Dec 98 - 01:07 PM
Abby 11 Dec 98 - 01:16 PM
12 Dec 98 - 12:22 AM
SteveF 14 Dec 98 - 08:04 AM
Jerry Friedman 14 Dec 98 - 12:47 PM
26 Oct 99 - 06:19 PM
GUEST,Tzena'######## 25 Oct 02 - 11:07 PM
TNDARLN 26 Oct 02 - 08:34 AM
EBarnacle1 26 Oct 02 - 12:20 PM
Genie 27 Oct 02 - 03:37 PM
Genie 27 Oct 02 - 03:41 PM
Genie 27 Oct 02 - 03:45 PM
GUEST 27 Oct 02 - 04:19 PM
Jack The Lad 27 Oct 02 - 04:21 PM
Genie 27 Oct 02 - 09:28 PM
chico 18 May 05 - 05:43 PM
GUEST,DOV 05 Sep 05 - 05:13 PM
Le Scaramouche 05 Sep 05 - 05:44 PM
JJ 06 Sep 05 - 09:19 AM
GUEST,Mrr 06 Sep 05 - 11:35 AM
Le Scaramouche 06 Sep 05 - 12:08 PM
GUEST,DOV 06 Sep 05 - 06:43 PM
GUEST,DOV 06 Sep 05 - 06:47 PM
GUEST,Heather 03 May 07 - 02:55 PM
GUEST 25 Oct 10 - 12:08 AM
MGM·Lion 28 Oct 10 - 04:52 AM
GUEST,Sue O'Brien 08 Aug 11 - 06:03 PM
GUEST 23 Feb 12 - 04:32 PM
GUEST,muzikat 24 Feb 13 - 11:16 AM
Dorothy Parshall 24 Feb 13 - 12:50 PM
GUEST,Gary 30 Sep 14 - 08:06 PM
Joe Offer 09 Feb 19 - 09:25 PM
Joe Offer 09 Feb 19 - 09:55 PM
Joe Offer 09 Feb 19 - 10:06 PM
Joe Offer 09 Feb 19 - 10:19 PM
Joe Offer 09 Feb 19 - 10:22 PM
Joe Offer 11 Feb 19 - 01:20 AM
Joe Offer 11 Feb 19 - 02:08 AM
Joe Offer 15 Feb 19 - 11:28 PM
Snuffy 16 Feb 19 - 08:52 AM
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Subject: Lyrics for Tzena, Tzena
From: SteveF
Date: 07 Dec 98 - 04:33 PM

I know the original Hebrew lyrics of "Tzena, Tzena" and now can someone supply the popular English lyrics? I know that the Weavers and the Barry Sisters recorded very popular versions of this song.


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for Tzena, Tzena
From: Gene
Date: 07 Dec 98 - 05:41 PM

Here is one version...

Tzena, Tzena, Tzena, Tzena
Words by Mitchell Parish, Issachar Miron (Michrovsky)
and Julius Grossman

Tzena, Tzena, Tzena, Tzena
Don't you know that you're the darling of the regiment?
Tzena, Tzena, Tzena, Tzena,
All the soldiers want to see you, why don't you consent?
See the handsome soldiers gaily riding
Come out from wherever you are hiding
Won't you smile a little for the colonel
Throw some kisses to the rest
Tzena, Tzena, Bashful little Tzena
Please don't be afraid of all the soldier boys, for
Tzena, Tzena, All the boys adore you
Calling for you
Tzena, Tzena, Tzena,


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for Tzena, Tzena
From: allan.S
Date: 07 Dec 98 - 07:40 PM

We once sang a yiddish version that went Tzena, Tzena, Tzena, Ich hob faltza Tzena Teath, Teath, Teath I have false teath

I dont remember if there was any more. Allan S.


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for Tzena, Tzena
From: SteveF
Date: 08 Dec 98 - 09:47 AM

Thanks, Gene, I had not heard that version before. Curiously enough, it is a faithful translation of the Hebrew. Most people are surprised, even shocked, when they discover that Tzena is a song that encourages girls to welcome the advances of soldiers. In fact, why don't I just offer the original, and its translation:

Tzena
Words adapted from a text by Y. Hagiz;
Music by Issachar Miron and Julius Grossman

Tzena, Tzena, Tzena, Tzena
habanot ur'enah
chayalim bamoshavah
Al-na (4x) al na titchabenah
mi ben-chayil ish tzava.

Tzena, Tzena, habanot ur'enah
chayalim bamoshavah
Al-na (2x) al na titchabenah
mi ben-chayil ish tzava.

Tzena! (21x)

Translation:
"Go forth, O daughters and see the soldiers in the settlement.
Don't hide yourself from a soldier, a military man."

Now, does anyone know the lyrics made famous by the Weavers?


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for Tzena, Tzena
From: Craig
Date: 08 Dec 98 - 11:20 PM

SteveF,

After reading this thread I went and got out my Weavers Greatest Hits CD and checked it out. They sang it in Hebrew exactly as you printed it out. Thank you.

Craig in Vista


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for Tzena, Tzena
From: Philippa
Date: 09 Dec 98 - 06:29 AM


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for Tzena, Tzena
From: rich r
Date: 09 Dec 98 - 11:37 PM

One of the great visual treats of 50's folk music is the clip of the Weavers singing this song on the Ed Sullivan show. Pete Seeger all dressed up in a suit is quite the sight.

rich r


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for Tzena, Tzena
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 10 Dec 98 - 11:39 AM

Another treat, on a public-TV special, was Arlo Guthrie explaining this as a Gaelic folksong about sweet young Tsena Tsena Tsena Tsena, who is in love with "handsome, heavy-duty Alna Alna Alna Alna".


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for Tzena, Tzena
From: Allan C.
Date: 11 Dec 98 - 01:07 PM

The Smothers Brothers did an amazing version of this song years ago. You can hear it among musicsojourn's holiday selections along with the everpopular "I Want A Hippotamus for Christmas" and others.


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for Tzena, Tzena
From: Abby
Date: 11 Dec 98 - 01:16 PM

I'll pull it off my record tomorrow if noone else posts.

All I remember is Tzena, Tzena, join the celebration There'll be people there from every nation


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for Tzena, Tzena
From:
Date: 12 Dec 98 - 12:22 AM

No, my Weavers cut is also the Hebrew, as cited by Craig - right down to the "Tzena! (21x)." But I did find the English they used somewhere else:

    Tzena, Tzena, Tzena, Tzena,
    Can't you hear the music playing in the village square?
    Tzena, Tzena, Tzena, Tzena,
    Can't you hear the music playing in the village square?
    Tzena, Tzena, join the celebration.
    There'll be people there from every nation.
    Dawn will find us dancing in the sunlight,
    Dancing in the village square.

I had a web-look & found what purports to be a kibbutz version:

    Tsena, tsena, tsena, tsena,Come out, come out, come out, come out,
    Ha-banot, u-r'enaGirls, and see
    Chalutsim bamoshavah.The pioneers in the colony.
    'Al-na, 'al-na, 'al-na, 'al-na,Do not, do not, do not, do not,
    'Al-na titchameq'naDo not shirk
    Me-`amal v'avodah.From work and labor.
    Note soldier has become chalut.


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for Tzena, Tzena
From: SteveF
Date: 14 Dec 98 - 08:04 AM

Thanks, Abby. That's what I was looking for.

-- Steve.


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for Tzena, Tzena
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 14 Dec 98 - 12:47 PM

(chaluts, pioneer, not chalut.)

People wanting to pronounce Steve's and Abby's Hebrew might want to know that ch is always pronounced as in "loch"--even after a t.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tzena Tzena Tzena
From:
Date: 26 Oct 99 - 06:19 PM

Hi there:

The Girl Guides of Canada has "Tzena" as follows:
Tzena, Tzena, Tzena, can't you hear the music playing
In the village square?
Tzena, Tzena, Tzena, can't you hear the trumpets sounding
In the village square?
Tzena, Tzena, join the celebration,
There'll be people there from every nation,
Dawn will find us dancing in the sunlight,
Dancing in the village square
(And thanks for the memory trip!) Cass
I moved this message here from a duplicate thread.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for Tzena, Tzena
From: GUEST,Tzena'########
Date: 25 Oct 02 - 11:07 PM

There are many versions of songs,but the reason I named my daughter Tzena is because of this song:

_Tzena,Tzena

Tzena, Tzena, Tzena, Tzena,
How can anything be plainer than my love for you?
Tzena, Tzena, Tzena, Tzena
Don't you know your eyes contain a look that thrills me through?
Tzena,Tzena everyone is waiting
For a wedding they're anticipating
Everyone is happy celebrating
People dancing in the streets.

Clap your hands and (clap)
Raise your voices higher
Make a circle
While we dance around the fire
All the world's in
Love with Tze-na, Tze-na.


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Subject: ADD: Tzena, Tzena (schoolbook version)
From: TNDARLN
Date: 26 Oct 02 - 08:34 AM

OhmyGosh! My third graders are singing this for a thanksgiving program, and I had no idea about all the above contexts! In elementary texts it appears thusly:

TZENA

Tzena Tzena Tzena Tzena
Come into the fields and we'll begin to work the land.
Hoeing, sowing, new things growing,
Pioneering all together, come and lend a hand.

Tzena Tzena building a new nation
Toiling busily all day----
Soon we'll dance, and have a celebration,
But first we'll work and then we'll play!

[not play first, as suggested above!!] But at least, I got 'em saying Tzeh na, instead of the southern variant Tzayyy na!

This could very well be too much information! But thanks anyway!


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for Tzena, Tzena
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 26 Oct 02 - 12:20 PM

On the "Smothers Brothers from the Purple Onion," they introduce the song as a description of camel racing.


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for Tzena, Tzena
From: Genie
Date: 27 Oct 02 - 03:37 PM

The English lyrics the Weavers sang are:

"Tzena, Tzena, Tzena, Tzena,
Can't you hear the music playing
In the village square?
Tzena, Tzena, Tzena, Tzena,
Come where all your friends will find us.
There'll be dancing there.
Tzena, Tzena, join the celebration.
There'll be people there from every nation.
Dawn will find us laughing in the sunlight,
Dancing in the village square."

Tzena, Tzena,
Come and dance the hora,
One, two, three, four,
All the boys will envy me for
Tzena, Tzena,
When the band is playing,
My heart's saying 'Tzena, Tzena, Tzena!'"

Genie

PS, I see that I missed them above because they were in paragraph form without the line breaks. But since I've formatted them with the breaks, I thought I'd go ahead and post them.


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for Tzena, Tzena
From: Genie
Date: 27 Oct 02 - 03:41 PM

Now that I've posted the Weavers' English lyrics, I notice that there was a mistake in the earlier posting of those lyrics. The ones I posted are correct (except, possibly, for the words "laughing in the sunlight" vs. "dancing in the sunlight"). Seems to be it's "laughing," since the next line repeats the word "dancing." (I don't recall that many "dancing"s in the song.) I'll check my Weavers songbook and tapes.

Genie


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for Tzena, Tzena
From: Genie
Date: 27 Oct 02 - 03:45 PM

Guest, does "chayalim" mean the same as "chalutsim?"


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for Tzena, Tzena
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Oct 02 - 04:19 PM

"Chayalim" means soldiers.

The original Hebrew and translated English versions by The Weavers make for an interesting contrast. When they sang in Hebrew, a language that was not widely spoken outside of Israel or diaspora synagogues in the late-forties and early-fifties, they sang the original version of the song, which celebrated the 1948 military victory of the overwhelmed little army of the new country of Israel over the combined forces of seven Arab countries. But when the Weavers did a version in English, a language that their audience understood, the soldiers were censored out of the song.


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for Tzena, Tzena
From: Jack The Lad
Date: 27 Oct 02 - 04:21 PM

Chayalim means soldiers , Chalutsim means pioneers.

Jack The Lad


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Subject: RE: Lyrics for Tzena, Tzena
From: Genie
Date: 27 Oct 02 - 09:28 PM

Guest and Jack, thanks. I asked because of the following post (above in this thread) which gives a "kibbutz version:"

"Tsena, tsena, tsena, tsena, Come out, come out, come out, come out,
Ha-banot, u-r'ena Girls, and see
Chalutsim bamoshavah. The pioneers in the colony.

'Al-na, 'al-na, 'al-na, 'al-na, Do not, do not, do not, do not,
'Al-na titchameq'na Do not shirk
Me-`amal v'avodah. From work and labor.

Note soldier has become chalut."

Genie


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Subject: Lyr/Chords Add: TZENA, TZENA
From: chico
Date: 18 May 05 - 05:43 PM

C                         F
|: Tzena, tzena, tzena, tzena habanot, ur'ena        Go forth, daughters, and see
         G7       C   (G7)
   Chayalim bamoshava. :|                         Soldiers in the settlement.

            C+   F
|: Tzena, tzena, tzena, tzena
       G7                     
Tzena, tzena tzena tzena, tzena,
C            G7          (C)
Tzena, tzena, Tzena, Tzena :|

Al-na, al-na, al-na, al-na,
Al-na titchabena miben-chayil ish tzava.          Do not be afraid of a soldier, one of the army.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tzena, Tzena (in English)
From: GUEST,DOV
Date: 05 Sep 05 - 05:13 PM

A message to TNDARLN about your letter from 26.10.02
What are the texts where you found the textof Tzena Tzena? Are your third graders Jewish? Why are you singing this song on Thanksgiving?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tzena, Tzena (in English)
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 05 Sep 05 - 05:44 PM

Tzena of course isn't a name, its literally go out.
The context is encouraging the girls to find a good companion, one that is valiant and productive (Marxist sort of society after all), can work the fields and protect the land, etc. Not an act of mere wantonness.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tzena, Tzena (in English)
From: JJ
Date: 06 Sep 05 - 09:19 AM

Mitchell Parish, co-writer of one of the sets of lyrics quoted above, also had a hand in the lyrics to "Stardust," among many others.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tzena, Tzena (in English)
From: GUEST,Mrr
Date: 06 Sep 05 - 11:35 AM

Hmmm -very interesting. THe Weavers version I have is in Hebrew, but the version TNDARLN posted is the one I learned as a child in English. What album had the Weavers singing this song in English?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tzena, Tzena (in English)
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 06 Sep 05 - 12:08 PM

The one the Weavers sang was, I think, done by the Givatron among others.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tzena, Tzena (in English)
From: GUEST,DOV
Date: 06 Sep 05 - 06:43 PM

Could you tell me where did you learn this song in English? Is it a Jewish school? When did you use to sing this song? Do you sing this song to-day on any occasion? If yes, when? I am making a research on this song and it is very interesting. I will appreciate very much your answer.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tzena, Tzena (in English)
From: GUEST,DOV
Date: 06 Sep 05 - 06:47 PM

I would like to know where did GUEST Mrr learned this song in English. Was it in a jewish school? May be someone else can tell me wher they teach this song? Is this song being tought now in school? in what grades? In Jewish schhol? Is this song still sung to-day? If yes, where and when? I will appreciate all the information I can get on this song


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tzena, Tzena (in English)
From: GUEST,Heather
Date: 03 May 07 - 02:55 PM

I am a Education Major and part of the college program is to take a class in Music Education. In one of the Silver Burdett Music Connection Grade 5, this song is published as a Folk Song for Israel.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tzena, Tzena (in English)
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Oct 10 - 12:08 AM

I used to sing that in Elementary school..

"toiling busily all day
Soon we'll dance and join the celebration
First we'll work and then we'll play.."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tzena, Tzena (in English)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 28 Oct 10 - 04:52 AM

See my post of 13 Feb 10 on the Novelty Song of 50s thread for further info.

~Michael~


Thread #115413   Message #2838116
Posted By: MGM·Lion
13-Feb-10 - 10:52 AM
Thread Name: 1950s novelty songs
Subject: RE: 1950s novelty songs

"Tzena, Tzena, Tzena," is a song originally written in Hebrew by a Polish emigrant to Palestine (now Israel) and famously recorded by The Weavers somewhere around 1950, I believe. Prior to that, not many were acquainted with it. Guest 6 jan 09 ======
                                     =========
I learned the Hebrew version, then new I think, in 1946 --

Phonetically —

Tze-na tze-na tze-na tze-na,
Ha-banot, oo-rena
Chyalim ba moshavah

Al-na al-na al-na al na
Al-na tit-chabeh-na
Mi-ben chayil, ish tzavah [ch pronounced as a guttural thruout]

Rough translation: Please come out [x4] girl recruits, & see the young recruits in the village.

Please do not [x5] hide yourselves from the young soldier, man of the army.

(Just in case anyone interested ~ Michael)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tzena, Tzena (in English)
From: GUEST,Sue O'Brien
Date: 08 Aug 11 - 06:03 PM

I am in Spokane,Washington, USA. I grew up here and learned the variation of "go into the fields and we'll begin to work the land" ... when I was in grade school in about 1970. I've no idea why a public school music teacher was teaching us that song, but it sure stuck with me through all these years.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tzena, Tzena (in English)
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Feb 12 - 04:32 PM

And yet no one has mentioned the Sharon,Lois and Bram cover for children which uses the English lyrics as written by Genie above. Lots of kids know this song now - maybe only in Canada?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tzena, Tzena (in English)
From: GUEST,muzikat
Date: 24 Feb 13 - 11:16 AM

I learned this song as a member of a public school chorus in 1957. We sang it for a music presentation, probably in the spring. Unfortunately I do not remember the teacher's name. Nor do I know why we learned this song. It impacted me so much so that I remember the entire melody. I appreciate all the above input re:Tzena, Tzena


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tzena, Tzena (in English)
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 24 Feb 13 - 12:50 PM

I learned it a a Quaker summer camp for children, circa 1950.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Tzena, Tzena (in English)
From: GUEST,Gary
Date: 30 Sep 14 - 08:06 PM

I learned singing this song and melody song in the 60's in elementary school. Like some have have said, the words and melody have stuck with me all these years. I only remembered the Tzena Tzena building a new nation toiling busily all day. Soon we'll dance and have a celebration but first we'll work and then we'll play. La la la la la La la la La, repeat la again then la la la la laaaaaa. And everyone else in docent groups was repeating this in different phrases, similar to the row your boat procedure with more groups. So cool! Just wish I could find the music melody part for review. An interesting memory.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Tzena, Tzena, Tzena (Weavers, et al.)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Feb 19 - 09:25 PM

Gee, this seems like such a nice song, but it's a bit of a copyright jungle, and has some interesting political implications. Here is the narrative about the song from the Bear Family box set titled Goodnight Irene: 1949-1953:
    The battle over copyright infringements has always plagued the music industry. The Weavers' hit Tzena, Tzena, Tzena was no exception. Joe Jaffe recalls that he or Ernie Lieberman first heard the song in about 1949 through a friend, who had just learned it as camp counselor. They began singing it at People's Artists hoots, where Pete Seeger picked it up.

    Seeger later contacted Jaffe at his Bronx apartment and copied the song's lyrics and music over the phone. The Weavers soon began performing it. Before they could record it, however, publisher Howie Richmond researched the song and found it in a book of Israeli folk songs, arranged by American school teacher Julius Grossman. Richmond then had someone (using the fictional name Spencer Ross) doctor the melody. Gordon Jenkins wrote English lyrics, took out a copyright and issued the sheet music.

    When the song hit, Richmond received a rude surprise. Mills Music had published the original version, with words by Mitchell Parish and the music attributed to Issacher Miron (a/k/a Michrovsky), an Israeli who claimed he had composed the song. The third part was credited by Julius Grossman. (Indeed, Miron and Yehiel Haggiz had written the song during World War II, while in the British Army, and it had become popular on the European battlefront and among Holocaust survivors.) Mills then sued Richmond's firm, Cromwell Music, and won a judgement concerning the music. Since the latter still controlled Jenkins's popular lyrics, this created a legal dilemma, essentially preventing anyone from duplicating the Weavers' version.
    - Ronald D. Cohen

    Source: Seeger, Pete. A New-Peaceful-Lease on Life for a Song, 'Sing Out!,' Vol. 43, #1 (Summer 1998), 82-85.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Tzena, Tzena, Tzena (Weavers, et al.)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Feb 19 - 09:55 PM

Behind the Song, by Pete Seeger.
Sing Out! Magazine, Summer 1998, Vol 43, #1

A NEW - PEACEFUL - LEASE ON LIFE FOR A SONG A Trilingual Version Of "Tzena Tzena" In English, Hebrew and, Arabic

The song "Tzena Tzena Tzena Tzena" was written during World War II by composer Issachar Miron, age 19 at the time, and his friend, Yehiel Haggiz, age 30. They were serving together in Palestinian Jewish battalions of the British Army. Their song was whistled and sung, becoming popular from El-Alamein to the Normandy beachhead, and to camps of Holocaust survivors.

The original Hebrew lyrics were "Come out, come out, girls, see the soldier boys in the village. Don't be, don't be - don't be shy! Let's sing and dance, all of us together." It became a worldwide multi-million seller in the '50s, sung by the Weavers and many other leading groups and soloists, reaching the top of the charts. But as tensions and the recurring wars between Jews and Arabs escalated, "Tzena Tzena" seemed to some of us in the U.S.A. some kind of victory song. Many singers, including Ronnie Gilbert and myself, thought that what was needed now is a peace song, not a victory song.

However, it's a great tune; makes a fine three-part round. Its climax - one word, Tzena, with a handclap - is easy for an audience to join in on. So a few years ago, composer Miron and I started talking about new words that would project our quest for peace.

The key, we found, was in the English lyrics made up in 1950 by Gordon Jenkins, the popular bandleader who arranged it for the Weavers and recorded it for Decca: "Tzena, Tzena, join the celebration / There'll be people there from every nation." In truth, the Hebrew words by themselves had never projected a battle cry. The lyrics simply invited girls to sing and to dance. After World War II, children who danced and sang "Tzena Tzena" in villages changed the world "soldiers" - khayalim - to "friends" - khaverim. Following those kids' lead, this new version uses the word "friends," restoring the original intention and message of the song - peace and love.

Miron approached his friend Salman Natour, a leading poet of Arabic, and Namour wrote Arabic lyrics: Zeina (ZAY-na), meaning beautiful. In the English version, the word Tzena became the name of a girl. Incidentally, the Hebrew word, meaning "come out," should be pronounced Tsenna.

The new version has been recorded by Clearwater's Walkabout Chorus with additional musicians, all across the ethnic spectrum, including whites, blacks, Arabs, Jews, Indians and more. My old syncopated banjo introduction joins Arabic instruments and the ubiquitous Israeli accordion. It should be on a Rounder CD later this year, under the auspices of Seeds of Peace, an extraordinary summer camp in Maine that annually brings together young people from seven nations of the Middle East. They participate in sports, they sing, dance, discuss, and return home with an interesting problem; How can I explain to my folks and my friends that some of my best buddies are supposed to be my enemies?

Also, it looks like the song, in pursuit of mutual tolerance, will be sung at the big 50th Anniversary of Israel event, June 7 in New York City's Central Park. Maybe eventually it will be a true victory song in the sense that world peace, prevailing over senseless hatred, will be the real victory for the human race. Then war, like cannibalism, will be something children read about in history books.

The songs needs at least three people to do it right. They sing first in one language, then in another, then a third. Then the round starts. First in one language, then, eight measures later, it picks up a second language; then, eight measures later, three languages simultaneously. Finally, the last 16 bars (in harmony) have the whole crowd coming in with a thunderous handclap and singing one word over and over.

Who knows? "Tzena Tzena" may eventually get sung in Bosnian and Serbian, or Hindi and Urdu, Quechua and Spanish. Music can leap barriers.


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Subject: ADD: Tzena, Tzena, Tzena (Hebrew)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Feb 19 - 10:06 PM

TZENNA TZENNA
Hebrew (Issachar Miron and Yehiel Haggiz)

Tzenna, tzenna, tzenna, tzenna,
Habanot urena khaverim
Ba’im la’ir.
Alna, alna, alna, alna,
Alna titkhabenna
Umizmor yakhdav nashir.

Tzenna, tzenna.
Habanot urena
Khaverim ba'im la'ir
Alna, alna,
Alna titkhabena
Umizmor yakhdav nashir.

Tzenna, tzenna
(Clap) Tzenna. tzenna. tzenna
Tzenna, tzenna.
Tzenna, tzenna, tzenna, tzenna,
Tzenna, tzenna
(Clap) Tzenna. tzenna. tzenna
Tzenna, tzenna,
Tzenna, tzenna. tzenna!

LITERAL TRANSLATION

Come out, come out, girls.
See friends in the village.
Don’t be — don’t be shy!
Let’s sing and dance.
All of us together!


page 84 Sing Out! • Vol. 43#1 • Summer 1998


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Subject: ADD: Tzena, Tzena, Tzena (English-Gordon Jenkins)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Feb 19 - 10:19 PM

TZENA, TZENA, TZENA
(Gordon Jenkins?)

Tzena, Tzena, Tzena, Tzena,
Can’t you hear the music playing
In the city square?
Tzena, Tzena, Tzena, Tzena
Come where all our friends will find us
With the dancers there.

Tzena, Tzena,
Join the celebration,
There’ll be people there from
Every nation.
Dawn will find us
Laughing in the sunlight
Dancing in the city square.

Tzena, Tzena,
(Clap) Come and dance the hora.
Dance the dabkih,
Sing with me, we’ll dance together
Tzena, Tzena,
(Clap) When the band is playing
My heart’s saying
“Tzena, Izena, Tzena!”


Note: The transliterations reflect the sounds for American readers rather than customary spellings.



page 84 Sing Out! • Vol. 43#1 • Summer 1998

Note from Joe: as far as I can tell, this is the translation of the lyrics by Decca Musical Director Gordon Jenkins (1910-1984). Another translation was made by Mitchell Parish, who wrote lyrics to songs such as "Star Dust," "Sweet Lorraine," "Deep Purple," "Stars Fell on Alabama," "Sophisticated Lady," and other well-known songs.



-Joe-


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Subject: ADD: Zeina Zeina (Arabic-Salman Natour)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Feb 19 - 10:22 PM

ZEINA ZEINA
Arabic (Salman Natour)

Zeina, zeina, zeina, zeina,
Makhad yuwkaf beini l'beina
Bleilet t’wa adna.
Yalla ma’ana ma’ana yalla
Nydbek dabkih, nurkus hora
Ma’as adna.

Zeina, zeina,
Yalla ghrannu ma’ana
Ah’lan bikom ya
As'kha' 'a 'a 'ab.
Zeina, zeina
Yalla rudu ma'ana
Yalla ya kul lell akhbab.

Zeina, zeina
(Clap) Nurkus hera nydbek
Dabkih, yalla
Khubi ad u’ma ba’adna.
Zeina, zeina
(Clap) Ghrannu ma’ana, ghrannu
Ma’ana ghrannu,
Zeina, zeina, zeina!

LITERAL TRANSLATION
Beautiful, beautiful
Nothing can come between us.
We will dance the hora,
Dance the dabka.
Sing, dance, sing,
Beautiful, beautiful!


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Subject: ADD Version: Tzena, Tzena (Mitchell Parish, 1950)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Feb 19 - 01:20 AM

I found a page about the song here: https://www.richardsilverstein.com/2004/01/04/tzena-tzena-an-old-hebrew-chestnut/

The page gives these words for the "wildly awful" translation by Mitchell Parish:

TZENA, TZENA
(translation by Mitchell Parish - 1950 edition)

Tzena, Tzena, Tzena, Tzena
Don’t you know that you’re the darling of the regiment?
Tzena, Tzena, Tzena, Tzena,
All the soldiers want to see you, why don’t you consent?
See the handsome soldiers gaily riding,
Come out from wherever you are hiding,
Won’t you smile a little for the colonel,
Throw some kisses to the rest.
Tzena, Tzena, Bashful little Tzena
Please don’t be afraid of all the soldier boys, for Tzena, Tzena,
All the boys adore you
Calling for you Tzena, Tzena, Tzena

I bought the sheet music published by Mills in 1950, and these are indeed the lyrics Parish wrote. They seem to be close to the original idea of the song, which conjures up visions of the machismo of young soldiers.

As far as I can tell, this is the version that won the copyright lawsuit. This version does not include Hebrew lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Tzena, Tzena, Tzena (Weavers, et al.)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Feb 19 - 02:08 AM

So, I'm still confused about who wrote which English version of the lyrics, but I may be close to finding an answer. I found a copy of the copyright infringement lawsuit at the Wayback Machine at archive.org:


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Subject: ADD Version: Tzena, Tzena, Tzena (Parish/Miron)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Feb 19 - 11:28 PM

OK, so I got one piece of sheet music, and it's not what I expected. These are the words by Mitchell Parish, and they're not the ones "by the city square" that are most commonly known. So, who wrote the "city square" lyrics?

TZENA
Tzena, Tzena, Tzena

(English Words by Mitchell Parish, Hebrew Words by Yehiel Haggiz)
(Music by Issachar Miron (Michrovsky) - first 2 parts; third part by Julius Grossman)

Tzena, Tzena, Tzena, Tzena,
How can anything be plainer than my love for you?
Tzena, Tzena, Tzena, Tzena
Don't you know your eyes contain a look that thrills me through?
Tzena, Tzena everyone is waiting,
For a wedding they're anticipating.
Everyone is happy celebrating
People dancing in the streets.

Clap your hands and (clap)
Raise your voices higher
Make a circle
While we dance around the fire
Dance the hora (clap)
To your heart's desire,
All the world's in
Love with Tze-na, Tze-na.

Copyright 1950 by Mills Music Inc., New York NY
Copyright © 1962 by Mills Music, Inc., New York NY

This sheet music has only the lyrics attributed to Mitchell Parish, and does not have the Hebrew lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Tzena, Tzena, Tzena (Weavers, et al.)
From: Snuffy
Date: 16 Feb 19 - 08:52 AM

My brother had the Springfields' 1962 UK album Kinda Folksy. Their version was probably the Mitchell Paris version - I definitely recall they sang the lines:

Won’t you smile a little for the colonel
Throw some kisses to the rest


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