Song Background & Lyrics
In contrast to Leonard Cohen’s almost solemn performance, “Az Der Rebe Zingt” is typically sung as a lively, light-hearted tune (see video at end of the post). There are several variations provided for the lyrics of this Yiddish folk song. The version below and the English translation are adapted from Jane Enkin Music and Story.
Az der rebe zingt (When the rabbi sings)
Zingen ale khasidim (All the hasidim sing)
Tshiri biri bim tshiri biri bom
Zingen ale khasidim
Az der rebe trinkt (When the rabbi drinks)
Trinken ale khasidim (All the hasidim drink)
Yaba baba bay – Lekhayim! Yaba baba bay – Lekhayim! (To life!)
Trinken ale khasidim
Az der rebe lakht (When the rabbi laughs)
Lakhn ale khasidim (All the hasidim laugh)
Lakhn ale khasidim
Az der rebe veynt (When the rabbi cries)
Veynen ale khasidim (All the hasidim cry)
Oy oy oy oy oy vey’z mir, oy oy… (Oh, woe is me)
Veynen ale khasidim
Az der rebe shloft (When the rabbi sleeps)
Shlofn ale khasidim (All the hasidim sleep)
(shh… yawn… hmmm…)
Az der rebe tantst! (When the rabbi dances)
Tantsn ale khasidim (All the hasidim dance)
Ay didi day didi day, ay didi day didi day
Tantsn ale khasidim
The Performance Venue
This is the story behind the banner [which reads, in English, “To stay here is solidarity”] Back in the 70’s in Vienna a former slaughterhouse called St. Marx was used as a cultural center for young people. But in 1976 the city council decided to tear it down. So hundreds of young people seized the building and tried to save their cultural center. They were supported by Austrian artists. When Leonard Cohen played a concert in Vienna he heard the story and after the concert he went there to support these people fighting for their cultural center. And this is the end of the story: after 101 days the occupants had to leave the building but the city council gave them a nearby building where they founded a new cultural center called “Arena”.1
Leonard Cohen – Az Der Rebe Zingt
Vienna: June 14, 1976
A more traditional rendition by the Ramatayim Men’s Choir, Jerusalem ca be viewed below.
I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on AllanShowalter.com (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted Apr 7, 2009 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com.
- From LeonardCohenForum post by stella s. [↩]
One thought on “Video: Rare Leonard Cohen Performance Of Az Der Rebe Zingt – Vienna 1976”
Thank you so very much for posting these Allan!
I’m so grateful to you for posting all !!!