JUEGO DE SIEMPRE - 1991
Commissioned and recorded by the Beit Hatefoutsot Museum, Tel-Aviv, Israel.
12 folk songs in Ladino for female voice and seven players (flute, clarinet, percussion, harp, violin, viola, cello)
Publisher: Israel Music Institute 1991 IMI 6920
Duration: 28 minutes.


In Juego de Siempre (The Never-ending Game) for mezzo-soprano and seven players, Betty Olivero has set twelve Ladino (Spanish-Jewish) melodies and texts drawn from the rich heritage of music and poetry produced during the great millennium of Jewish residence in Spain, which came to an abrupt end with the expulsion of 1492. These songs were not notated, but were passed from mother to daughter over the centuries and carried abroad during the migration of the Spanish-Jewish community. It is sometimes difficult to tell which songs were actually of Spanish-Jewish origin and which were well-known Spanish songs that the Jews sang - as did their Christian and/or Moorish neighbors - and took with them after 1492. The repertory can be divided into three classes - songs with no particular Jewish content (often with a flavor of late-medieval Spanish chivalry), those with distinctively Jewish content (often referring to the Old Testament), and those with no particular national characteristics (lullabies, love songs, etc.). Olivero selected a group of songs that represent a wide range of this tradition; each poem is a drama in itself. It is a tapestry of scenes from home and community throughout the seasons of the years and the course of the day, from morning to night, from birth to death, from marriage in one generation to the next.


JUEGO DE SIEMPRE
(The Never Ending Game)

1. The Never Ending Game 1. Juego de siempre

A weeding song telling of the ring, the first embrace and the dowry with the message: so it was and so it will be the never ending game.

Se lava esta novio The groom bathes
Con rosa y azumbre in rose water
Parabien parecer to enhance his beauty.
Y uno, dos, tres, cuatro, And one, two, three, four
Cinco, seis, siete, five, six, seven,
Juego de siempre. and the game goes on.
Jugaba la novia The bride and her husband
Con su marido dance circles together
Y al primer juego and in the first turn
Le dio un anillo. he gives her a ring.
Y uno... And one...
Jugaba la novia The bride dances circles
Con su regalo with his gift to her
Y al primer juego and in the first turn
Le dio un abrazo. they embrace.
Y uno... And one...
Jugaba la novia The bride dances circles
Con su velado with her veil
Y al primer juego and in the first turn
Contaba el dote. she gives him her dowry.
Y uno... And one...


2. Ir me kero madre 2. I Want to Wander Mother

Two sons want to leave the parental home and go to seek their fortunes in the wide world.

Ir me kero madre Mother I want to wander
por estos mundos me ire the world over
Las yervas d’akeyos kampos the grass of the fields


por pan me las komere. Aman! my bread.
Ir me vo you, la mi madre, I wish to wander mother
por los mudos kuantos son, the world over
Ahi, por los mundos kuantos son. Aman... Ah, to the four corners of the earth.


3. Ay ke Buena 3. O Happy Moment

A wedding song: a love dialogue between the bride and groom.

Ay, ke buena ke fue la hora Oh, happy moment
Ke vos alkansi; to give you the ring
Kon dos miniamim de djente before the dozen people
Kidushin vos di. to give you the blessing.


Ansi, ansi, mi alma ansi, And so, my soul-mate
O, ke buena ke fue la hora O happy moment!
Ke vos alkansi. To give you the ring!


Yo pasi la vuestra puerta I passed your door at dusk
Oras de arvit I passed again and I gain
Pasi I torni, non vos vide You were not there
L’alma tengo ayi. There I left my soul.


Ansi... And so...


4. Nani, nani 4. The Betrayed Woman

A lullaby telling of a betraye wife whose husband comes home from his other love.

Nani, Nani Sleep, sleep
Nani kere el ijo sleep dear child
El ijo de la madre mama’s love
De chiko se aga grande. little child soon to grow.


I durmete milama, i durmete mi vista, - Ah, sleep my soul, sleep my eyes.
I, ke tu padre viene, kon muncha alegria. - Ah, your father comes so joyous.


Ah, avrimesh, mi doma, avrimesh la puerta - Ah, open my lady, open the door
Ke vengo kansado de avar las minetas that I may rest from my long journey.
Ah, avrir no vos avro, no venish kansado, - Ah, I shell not open for you, don't come to rest
Sino ke venish de ande nueva amor! for you return from the other lady-love.


5. Galeas las mis galeas 5. Galleon

A song of yearning by an imprisoned sailor waiting for freedom. The last verse is taken from the well known romance La Serena, about a mermaid who tempts sailors.

Galeas las mis galeas no las puedo sonportar My ship, galleon, cannot endure the pain
Aman, aman de mil no los puedo sonportar. Ahi, ahi, what will become of me?


I cannot endure the pain!
Little bread, hard labor, lashes of the whip,
and little sleep.


Polo par, muncho trawajo kon palos i non durmir. Ahi, ahi, lashings, no sleep.
Palas yevi sietesiento ke los lados no me siento. I bear seven hundred lashes till I can bear no more.
[Aman, aman de mil de los lados no me siento]. [Ahi, ahi, I can bear the lashes no more.]
Ke me vendan et asiento i ke me rezgaten d’aki Let them sell all my possessions and ransom me from here.
[Aman, aman de mil i ke me rezgaten d’aki]. [Ahi, ahi, let them ransom me from here.]


(La Serena) (The Mermaid)
En la mar ay una torre In the sea there is a tower
En la torre ay una ventana In the tower there is a window
En la ventana ay una ija In the window there is a maiden
Ke a los marineros ama. Who loves sailor men.


6. Pregoneros 6. The Town Crier

A king offers a prize to whomever brings his lost son alive. The fishermen fish him out of the seas.

Pregoneros por las plasas: ijo The town crier calls through the square:
delrey ken veria? The prince is coming!
Si se lo trayian bivo ambres If they bring him alive,
grandes los aria. he will rise to greatness,
Sis se lo trayian muerto sus If they bring him dead,
prezentes les daria. he will still be honored.
Vieron vinir tres en kavayo Three cavaliers rose through the dust
aziendo gran polveria. towards the shore,
Vinieron serka del rio a la mar And threw him
lo echarian. in the river.


7. Ir me kero madre 7. I Want to Go to Jerusalem, Mother


Ir me kero madre a Yerushalayim I want to go to Jerusalem, mother
I komer las yeruus i artance d’eyas To eat its fruits, to eat until I am satiated.


En el Kotel Maaravi ay uim ziara At the Wailing Wall I shall be heard,
Todas mis demandas ayi me s’afirmanan All my whishes will be fulfilled.


En el me arrino yo In Him I trust
En el me enfiguzio yo In Him I am secure
En el patron del mundo In the lord of the Universe
En el sinior del mundo. In the king of the Universe.


8. Morenica Sos 8. You are dark


A love song
Morenica sos You are dark
Comola pimieta dark as a pepper
Vuestra sangre dulce sweet is your blood
En mi koracon entra bewitched is my soul.
Dizi me ansi que yo me cansi
De vez que vos veo
La cara en el espejo Seeing your face in the mirror
Me s’arranca l’alma my heart burns
Por dar vas un bezo with the desire to kiss you.
Morenica sos.


9. Chichi Bunichi 9. Chichi Bunichi

An old Sarajevo finger counting nursery rhyme.

Chichi bunichi Chichi bunichi
I redi lainichi I redi lainichi
Esti dimanda pan this one asks for bread
I esti dimanda kezu this one asks for cheese
I esti si nues bueno Djidyo and if this one is not a good Jewish boy
Vanus a yamar al Suryor Rubi. We'll go and call the Rabbi.


Chichi bunichi Chichi bunichi
I redi lainichi I redi lainichi
Esti dizi dami un pakerito this one gives me a little package
La gaylinika echo un goviziko the hen lays an egg
Aki, aki, aki para aki here, here, here
Alabokita di mi ijiko. to the mouth of my little child.


10.Achot Ketana 10. Little Sister

A New Year song written in the 13th century by Avraham Gerondi of the Catalonian town of Herona. The little sister is a symbol of the soul of the world, the people of Israel.

Achot ketana tefiloteia The little sister prepares her prayers
Orcha v’ona tehiloteia and intones her praises.
Elna refana lemachaloteia Oh God we beseech Thee, heal now
Tichle shanave kileloteiha her infirmities.
Elna refana lemachaloteia May the year and its misfortunes
Tichle shanave kileloteiha now cease altogether.


11.Kondja mia 11. Oh My Rose

A love song in which the man sings to his sweetheart, “for my dark one I’m tormented, I have been burned in the flame”.

Kondja mia, kondja mia Rose my rose
Chichek de mi kavesa, Flower of my head
La luna s’eskoresio The mood became dark to me
La mar ya se izo preta. The seas became black to me.


Avlame ninya kon amor Speak words of love to me
Mira k’esto en el fuego See how my soul burns
Se va murir in manservo Have mercy on this young man
Ke no vido nada de bueno. Who shall die with dreams unfulfilled.


Yo djurava i dezia I swore I would never love again
Ke non i mas al amor My heart is broken
Fue kavzante una morena I am weary from suffering from the dark-haired one.
Ke a mi izo enflamar. I am burnt by the flame of love.


12. Ay ke buena! (reprise) 12. O Happy Moment (reprise)


Ay, ke buena ke fue la hora Oh, happy moment
Ke vos alkansi; to give you the ring
Kon dos miniamim de djente before the dozen people
Kidushin vos di. to give you the blessing.


Ansi, ansi, mi alma ansi, And so, my soul-mate
O, ke buena ke fue la hora O happy moment!
Ke vos alkansi. To give you the ring!


Yo pasi la vuestra puerta I passed your door at dusk
Oras de arvit I passed again and I gain
Pasi I torni, non vos vide You were not there
L’alma tengo ayi. There I left my soul.


Ansi... And so...


Listening

CD-Beit Hatefutsoth BTR 9201, Esti Kenan-Ofri, Mezzo-Sopran, members of the Israel Chamber Orchestra, Conductor: Israel Idelson.


JUEGO DE SIEMPRE (7 players) (29.5MB 32:08 min.)
1. Juego de siempre (The Never-Ending Game)
2. Ir me kero madre (I want to go to Jerusalem, Mother)
3. Ay, ke buena (Oh Happy Moment)
4. Nany Nany (The Betrayed Woman)
5. Galeas (Galleon)
6. Pregoneros (The Town Crier)
7. Ir me kero madre (I want to go to Jerusalem, Mother)
8. Morenica sos (You are Dark)
9. Chichi Bunichi (Chichi Bunichi)
10. Acho't Ketana' (Little Sister)
11. Kodja mia (Oh My Rose)
12. Ay, ke buena! (reprise) (O Happy Moment - reprise)


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