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Mamaloshen

23 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 24, 1998
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Mamaloshen. By Mandy Patinkin . Release Date January 1, 1998. Format CD

Amazon.com

Mandy Patinkin knew only a few words of Yiddish at the beginning of the '90s, when the late Joe Papp eked a promise from the actor-singer to learn the repertoire. So he did, and this helzapoppin' collection of traditional Yiddish tunes and Yiddish translations of English songs by Jewish composers is the overblown, symphonically orchestrated result. Patinkin plays to the third balcony on "Mamaloshen" ("mother tongue"), squeezing every iota of feeling out of songs you might have heard on Grandma's knee, and turning each guttural consonant into a virtual phlegm fest. Nostalgia can be nice, but things get weird when Patinkin makes with Yiddish versions of such showstoppers as "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," Paul Simon's "American Tune," "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," and--oy vey ist mir!--even "The Hokey Pokey," their inclusion justified on assimilationist principles. --Richard Gehr

1. Belz...Remembering A Little Town Called Belz
2. Hey, Tsigelekh...A Shepherd Tells Of His Lost Love
3. Rabbi Elimeylekh...A Rabbi Get Drunk, Makes Music, And Celebrates Life
4. Raisins And Almonds...A Mother Cradles Her Child, Wishing Him Everything
5. Papirosin...A Boy Sells Cigarettes To Survive The War
6. Ten Kopeks...A Guy Want Ten Pennies To Romance His Girl/Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious/...
7. Maria...Mayn Mirl
8. Yome, Yome...A Mother Asks Her Daughter, What Do You Want?
9. Paper Is White...To The Most Wonderful Girl In The World
10. Song Of The Titanic...Doomed Lovers, Refusing To Separate, Ask God Why?
11. Motl The Operator...A Tailor Working In A Sweatshop To Support His Family Is Killed In A Union...
12. Under Your White Stars...A Holocaust Song
13. American Tune...Our Journey To America
14. Take Me Out To The Ball Game/God Bless America
15. Der Alter Tzigayner...The Old Gypsy Fiddler Plays An Unforgettable Tune: White Christmas
16. Oyfn Pripetshik...Children Learn Their ABC's

Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 24, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B000005J4T
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,532 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 16, 1999
Format: Audio CD
When I first heard about this CD, I wondered what I would make of it. I know no Yiddish, but I love Mandy's voice. I immediately realized it doesn't take knowledge of the language to understand the meaning of any of the songs. With a word or phrase in English, one can feel the emotion, the pain or pleasure of the story, just by relaxing into the soulfulness of Patinkin's glorious voice. Clearly, the ideas of culture and identity matter to him passionately, and that feeling is easily conveyed to any listener regardless of ethnic or religious background. I defy you to listen to "Motl the Operator" and not be moved. I would give this CD a 6 if I could...really a ten. It's the soul, folks.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By kahuna@cascade.org on November 17, 1998
Format: Audio CD
I love Yiddish words, though I did not grow up listening to the language, and never heard any Yiddish songs. My limited Yiddish came from my Unitarian father's useage, e.g., my sister was called "Yenta-Kvetch." Thus, I appreciated the booklet with each song in Yiddish and English.
I've been a loyal fan of Mandy Patinkin's singing since his first recording, "Dress Casual." I love to surprise people who only know him from "Chicago Hope" or "The Princess Bride" by playing Mandy's version of "Over the Rainbow" from his 1989 CD, "Mandy Patinkin."
"Mamaloshen" is at its best when Mandy's sweet powerful voice is able to unleash his full emotion. Paul Simon's "American Tune" never sounded better. At the other end, I could have done without the spiced up "White Christmas" with its overbearing cymbals. "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" are humorous the first time thru then could be skipped, except in the middle of a silly baseball song is a fantastic, gut wrentching version of "God Bless America."
The most lasting songs are the ones I never heard before. In the middle of the day, my mind will replay the words I don't comprehend to "Rabbi Elimeylekh." Every time I listen to the emotional songs in "Mamaloshen," I have a greater appreciation of the melting pot which is America.
You don't have to be Jewish to appreciated the Yiddish songs. You only have to be alive to appreciate the artistry of Mandy Patinkin.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Steven Kruger on October 22, 1998
Format: Audio CD
Though a "Mandy Patinkin" fan, I made TERRIBLE jokes about this album before even hearing it. "Yiddish songs?", I thought. Well, upon hearing this recording at a friend's (who is even hipper than I), I was enchanted. What beautiful, enchanting music! It calms me down even better than a Xanex. Everyone needs one!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By ms37@ntrs.com M. Saper on June 17, 1998
Format: Audio CD
Mandy Patinkin has done it! He has captured the humor, pathos and electricity of this genre. My mother used to sing Oyfen Pripetshik to me as a child, Mandy made me cry. My only disappointment was the translitteration which I found a little fuzzy, but that could be a matter of dialect.
Patinkin's choice of material is marvelous, and his inclusion of Take Me Out to the Ballgame clearly illustrates the desire of an entire generation to assimilate, to be Americans. My husband and I thrilled to "Got Bencht Amerike".
I truly hope this is the first of a series, an important documentation of Yiddish music for generations for whom the music and the language has been lost. As Patinkin states in his notes, Yiddish in America was the secret language, so the "kinder nicht ferschte."
More, Mandy, more!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kcorn TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 23, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Read on - and then think about that word, Yinglish, in the context of this CD and think about whether it is worth Kvetching about the various songs on this CD, some quite unconventional.

For those who haven't heard the word, Yinglish was used by Leo Rosten in a book called The Joys of Yiddish (others have used it, too) and it describes how YIDDISH speakers have continued to let Yiddish words (and the language itself) change and mingle with words from other countries. As a result, in the natural course of things, Yiddish spoken in America may sound VERY different from the way Yiddish is used and spoken in Israel. This type of thing happens in ALL languages, including English. We have words like "Phat" and "fat", for example, relatively recent evolutions of words and word usage. You can't keep language from evolving....or music or Yiddish music, for that matter...or how Yiddish is used in song. To do so would stifle the creative process.

HOW DOES THIS RELATE TO THIS CD? (sorry for the caps but I really do want to stress this question): Some Yiddish "traditionalists" seem to be ambivalent about a "Yiddish" song compilation that includes songs from Mary Poppins as well as the more traditional songs - all translated into Yiddish.

I find it refreshing. I can see why some believe it might even water down Yiddish - but let's face it- Yiddish speakers have had a hard time keeping the language alive and many speakers have changed or loosened certain terms or words, anyway - so why can't a singer? At least, Pantinkin does it with a certain humor and reverence. Listen to the music and I think you'll agree.

And yes....
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