Tum Balalaika

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balalaikaI have been using this blog much.  It is meant to be the informal companion to my Anglo-Jewish Literature Since 1945, I have neglected it.  I am wring my thesis about Anglo- (British)-Jewish Drama and in the process come across all these little things. Today, in the play The Hamlet of Stepney Green by Bernard Kops is a reference to the tune of Tum Balalaika, you can hear it here sung by the Tum Balalaika Klezmer Band from Chicago or with a lot of balalaikas here sung by the Adelaide balalaikas and singers.

It appears in a play that uses Hamlet as a starting pint, but settles him in the East End of London, and the first lines of the song are:

“Shteyt a bokher, un er trakht (also shteyt un trakht) / Trakht un trakht a gantse nakht” which in English is: “A young man stands and thinks (and stands and thinks) / Thinks and thinks the whole night though.” Very Hamletesque!


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