Terry Windling typically has a feature on her blog called Music on a Monday Morning.  This morning, she featured lullabies, including one by Clara Sanabras which was sung in Ladino, a language of the Sephardic Jews. That got me to thinking about the sound track from a film called The Governess a 1998 period piece staring Minnie Driver.  The film is a bit contrived, and has a very overwrought performance by an adolescent Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, but the soundtrack is simply gorgeous.  It was written by Edward Sheamur and features the voice of the inimitable and tragically short-lived Ofra Haza.  At one point the soundtrack features a Ladino love song sung by Haza (she learned it phonetically).

LA SERENA (The Mermaid)
(Lyrics of the track titled “The Veil”)

Si la mar era de leche
Yo m’aría un peshkador
Peshkaría mis dolores
Con palavrikas de amor.

(If the sea were of milk
I would become a fisherman
I would fish out my pain
With words of love.)

Dame la mano palomba
Para subir yo a tu nido
Maldichá ke durme sola
Vengo yo a durmir kontigo.

(Give me your hand, dove
So I may come to your nest
Wretched are you that sleeps alone!
I come to sleep with you.)

When I was researching the lyrics for the English translation, I discovered these are only two verses from a much longer song. Visit this link and listen to the whole song. Evidently, Edward Shearmur altered the tune to make it sound more “middle eastern” and exotic.  Fine with me.

The other song Haza sings on the soundtrack is this one:


Tu madre cuando te parió
y te quitó al mundo,
corazón ella no te dió
para amar Segundo;
corazón ella no te dió
para amar Segundo.

Adio, adio querida,
no quiero la vida,
me la marcastes tú.

Ya búscate otro amor,
axarba otras puertas,
espera otro ardor,
que para mí sos muerta;
espera otro ardor,
que para mí sos muerta.

(English translation
When your mother delivered you
and brought you to the world
she did not give you a heart
to love another

goodbye, beloved,
I don’t want to live
You made my life miserable.

I’ll go look for another love,
Open other doors
Hope for another love,
Because for me you are dead.)

I liked the film, but it retains a place in my heart because it introduced me to the music and the voice of Ofra Haza.