A 21st-Century Yiddish Pop Hit Straight from Azerbaijan


In the 20th century, the Andrews Sisters made the Yiddish-ish song “Bei Mir Bist Du Shein” a hit (it was even successful in Germany before the Nazis realized the song was Yiddish, and not a southern German dialect). In the 21st century it was an Azerbaijani non-Jewish singer named Ilhama Gasimova who brought it to the top of the charts, with her electronic-infused cover, made with DJ OGB.

Gasimova was a student of philology living in Baku who rocketed to stardom when she made it to the final round of a televised singing competition seeking the next Azerbaijani submission to the Eurovision Song Contest. Eventually she moved to Germany and signed with a major record label, who had her release “Bei Mir Bist Du Scheen” in 2011. The black-and-white music video—featuring Gasimova in period costume, lots of dancing girls in flapper dresses, and clips of Laurel and Hardy boogieing—was a smash hit, and for a time was in the top ten most bought music videos on iTunes.

Gasimova’s sensuous voice is perfect for the song, but we can’t help but wonder what its ripped-off writer, Shalom Secunda, would have thought.
Watch Ilhama Gasimova’s “Bei Mir Bist Du Scheen”:

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