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Dead Yiddish Songs: Reborn!

Many old Yiddish songs that were basically dead have gone through an interesting revival thanks to the sharing on Youtube.

On Youtube there are many Old Yiddish songs, often more than 100 hundred years old. These songs have each 100,000s of views each, sometimes over a million. 

Most of these songs were rarely ever heard before they were posted on Youtube. Of course mainstream TV and Radio, would never have Yiddish music but also among Jewish circles people did not listen to these songs. Jewish music died 1 to 2 generations before the decline of Yiddish as pop-culture took over Jewish theatre and independent Jewish bands. And this happened back in the 1930s and 1940.
The song "Belz, Mayn Shtaytele Belz" was written in 1928 for a Jewish play. It is about Jewish life in a town in Poland. A very small amount of people would have heard this song let alone learnt the lyrics to the song 10 years ago. However, since being posted on youtube, it has had over 1,000,000 views (via several postings) and many cover versions.
Another popular song is "Oyfn Pripetchik." This song has 500,000 views on one posting on youtube and 100,000s more on others. Its a classic song with a sad tone and melody and often gets very emotional comments. This song was written before 1907 (when the writer died), although exact date is not clear.
The song Tumbalaika which was the most heard Yiddish song before youtube has received 2-3 million views on all its listings. The song has appeared often in films and TV series all over the world, but it sometimes is not sung in Yiddish or the Jewish origins of the song are lost. However in the Italian film "Premdmi alima" it does appear in Yiddish, with Jewish character.
 
Two more songs have received an interesting rise in popularity too. The songs are "Arbeistlos Marsch" and "Daloy Polizei." Daloy Polizei was written around 1905 (in Russia) and literally meaning "Down with the Police." This was written during a time of heavy state repression by the Russian Police when Jews were 2nd class citizens. While Jews in 2014 are often middle-class and sometimes Conservative, in these days Jews were Revolutionary and factory workers.

"Arbeitslos marsch" and "Daloy Polizei" have 100,000s of views each however what makes them unique are their cover versions. Both Non-Jews and Jews (usually political activists) have made dramatic covers from heavy metal to Irish-folk. There have also been covers in other languages including one version by a band named "Daniel Kahn and the Painted Bird," which is in English and Yiddish.

 
These are just a few examples. There are many more Yiddish songs on youtube and across the internet. If you add up the views, it totals over 10 million. This is already progress but it is only the start. The fanbase of Yiddish songs are more passionate than the fan base of pop music and as a result those fans are all working to make newer and better versions of these songs. 

 
 
 
 
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