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.
Original lyrics in Yiddish
שטײט אַ בחור און ער טראַכט,
Shteyt a bokher, un er trakht (also shteyt un trakht)
Meydl, meydl, kh'vil bay dir fregn,
Narisher bokher, vos darfstu fregn?
Vos iz hekher fun a hoyz?
A koymen iz hekher fun a hoyz.
A young lad stands, and he thinks
Girl, girl, I want to ask of you
Foolish lad, why do you have to ask?
What is higher than a house?
A chimney is higher than a house
- The song Over and Over by Nana Mouskouri uses this melody.
- The song, "Tumbalalaika (The Riddle)" by Natalia Zukerman 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.
- 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.
- The song is used in the film Prendimi l'anima/The Soul Keeper (2002) by Roberto Faenza.
- The metal version of the song is included in the first Metal Yiddish album AlefBase by Gevolt, released in 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[who?] used to play in his concerts, to the children. Also included in Cançons catalanes de Folk in 1976 (Terra nostra.4)
- "Tumbalalaika (The Riddle) performed by Winterbloom". Ourstage. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
- "The Secret of Angels". The New York Times. March 27, 1994. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
- "YouTube film with Tumbalalaika in the movie Prendimi l'anima (2002) by Roberto Faenza". Retrieved 14 August 2011.
- "Tum Balalayke by Gevolt".