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Tumbalalaika is a Russian Jewish folk and love song in the Yiddish language. Tum (טום) is the Yiddish word for noise and a balalaika (באַלאַלײַקע) is a stringed musical instrument of Russian origin.



  • The song Over and Over by Nana Mouskouri uses this melody.[citation needed]
  • The song, "Tumbalalaika (The Riddle)" by Natalia Zukerman[1] is a poetic adaptation of this to English, with the chorus remaining in Yiddish.
  • Benny Hill adapted the melody for one of his own compositions, Anna Marie, which he performed on his first special for Thames Television on November 19, 1969.[citation needed]
  • The song is used in the film Swing by Tony Gatlif.
  • The song is used in the play Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes by Tony Kushner and the film based on this play. It is sung by the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg to Roy Cohn, dying of AIDS.[2]
  • The song is used in the film Prendimi l'anima/The Soul Keeper (2002) by Roberto Faenza.[3]
  • The metal version of the song[4] is included in the first Metal Yiddish album AlefBase by Gevolt, released on March 2011
  • A pastiche of the song is also used in the play The Hamlet of Stepney Green: A Sad Comedy with Some Songs by Bernard Kops.
  • It's included in the album "Homenatge a Xescu Boix", a tribute to Xescu Boix. He used to play in his concerts, to the children. Also included in "Cançons catalanes de Folk" in 1976 (Terra nostra.4)


  1. ^ "Tumbalalaika (The Riddle) performed by Winterbloom". Ourstage. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  2. ^ "The Secret of Angels". The New York Times. March 27, 1994. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  3. ^ "YouTube film with Tumbalalaika in the movie Prendimi l'anima (2002) by Roberto Faenza". Retrieved 14 August 2011.
  4. ^ "Tum Balalayke by Gevolt".