Solomon Smulewitz (1868–1943, also Shloyme Smulewitz, Solomon Small) was a Russian-born (later American) Jewish singer, badkhn, recording artist, and primarily composer for the Yiddish theatre. He was born on April 13, 1868 in Pinsk, White Russia (now Belarus)
His father was a cantor; Solomon sang in his chorus from the age of 5. When his father died seven years later Solomon went into the tailoring trade while still singing in cantorial choirs in exchange for his meals. He left to join the chorus of a traveling theater troupe and was very successful in girls' roles. After being left behind in an inn as a mashkn (pledge that the others would come back and pay their bill) he went back to the cantor in Pinsk but was thrown out. He became a street singer.
He wrote his first song at the age of 12: The desolate orphan, an autobiographical plaint. Having learned Russian he sang and played the fiddle from town to town, finally settling in Minsk, where he became a successful badkhn, also writing songs for other local wedding singers. He wrote for Shomer's play productions in Warsaw. He published his first book in 1891.
In America he toured singing his own songs, which eventually totalled around 500 (in a letter to the press he claimed 300 written to his own melodies and 200 set to melodies by others). The most famous were A brivele der mamen, Dos talesl, Al tashlicheinu, Khave, and Dos blumenkrentzele - these and others have through the years often been considered folksongs.
From 1905 to 1909 he issued a yearly collection of his lyrics called "Der teater zinger." In 1916 he published "Poeziye un lider." His 500-page autobiography was never published. His song "Khave" was so popular the famous Russian singer Feodor_Chaliapin included it in his repertoire. He was a prolific recording artist.
Smulewitz had a strong and piercing tenor voice which suited early recording capabilities well; after 1920 both his manner of singing and style of composition went out of fashion. Smulewitz fell on hard times and to make a living continuously toured the United States and Canada from Halifax to Calgary and Winnipeg, often with his daughter Dorothy, without much success. He died impoverished on January 1, 1943 in New York.
Birth and Death Data: Born April 13th, 1868 (Pinsk), Died January 1st, 1943 (New York City)
Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1904 - 1936
Roles Represented in DAHR: tenor vocal, lyricist, composer
Notes: Alternate name used by Solomon Small.
Recordings (Results 26-50 of 68 records)
|Company||Matrix No.||Size||First Recording Date||Title||Primary Performer||Description||Role||Audio|
|Victor||B-9136||10-in.||6/27/1910||Sprinzes licht : Bentschen||Solomon Small||Male vocal solo, with "Jewish orchestra"||vocalist, tenor vocal, lyricist|
|Victor||B-9137||10-in.||6/27/1910||A Yisojme besezens||Solomon Small||Male vocal solo, with "Jewish orchestra"||vocalist, tenor vocal, composer, lyricist|
|Victor||B-9138||10-in.||6/27/1910||Zu der chupe Vetsere||Solomon Small||Male vocal solo, with "Jewish orchestra"||vocalist, tenor vocal, composer|
|Victor||B-9139||10-in.||6/27/1910||Besezens fod die emigranted||Solomon Small||Male vocal solo, with "Jewish orchestra"||vocalist, tenor vocal|
|Victor||C-9140||12-in.||6/27/1910||A Chasuno : Chupa||Solomon Small||Male vocal solo, with "Jewish orchestra"||vocalist, tenor vocal, composer|
|Victor||B-9141||10-in.||6/27/1910||Schmendrixs Besezens||Solomon Small||Male vocal solo, with "Jewish orchestra"||vocalist, tenor vocal|
|Victor||B-15990||10-in.||5/4/1915||Das bisele glick||Kalman Juvelier||Tenor vocal solo, with orchestra||lyricist|
|Victor||B-15993||10-in.||5/4/1915||Familen glick||Fanny Lubritsky||Female vocal solo, with orchestra||lyricist|
|Victor||B-17944||10-in.||6/28/1916||Al tiru avde Yankov||Samuel Rosenstein||Male vocal solo, with orchestra||lyricist|
|Victor||B-17969||10-in.||7/12/1916||Tateneu kim a heim tzurik||Bertha Crown||Female vocal solo, with orchestra||lyricist, composer|
|Victor||B-18620||10-in.||10/20/1916||Tateneu kim a heim tzurick||Nahen Rosenshak [i.e., Naum Coster]||Male vocal solo, with orchestra||lyricist, composer|
|Victor||B-19074||10-in.||2/13/1917||Shenk mir mein mame||Nahen Rosenshak [i.e., Naum Coster]||Male vocal solo, with orchestra||lyricist|
|Victor||B-28142||10-in.||6/22/1923||Zeit frelach Yiddilach||Joseph Feldman||Male vocal solo, with orchestra||lyricist|
|Victor||BVE-36640||10-in.||10/26/1926||Al tashlichenu||Shloimele Rothstein||Male vocal solo, with orchestra||lyricist|
|Victor||BVE-37006||10-in.||11/18/1926||Shtief mame||Lucy Levin||Female vocal solo, with orchestra||lyricist|
|Victor||CS-02326||12-in.||10/26/1936||Al tashlichenu||Frank Abelson ; Elihu Winer||Male vocal solo, with piano||composer|
|Columbia||1960||10-in.||ca. 1904||Das Idishe hartz trauert nach ihr, Herzl||Solomon Smulewitz||Male vocal solo, with piano||vocalist, tenor vocal, composer, lyricist|
|Columbia||1961||10-in.||ca. 1904||Fon plehwe||Solomon Smulewitz||Male vocal solo, with piano||vocalist, tenor vocal|
|Columbia||1962||10-in.||ca. 1904||Jankele||Solomon Smulewitz||Male vocal solo, with piano||vocalist, tenor vocal|
|Columbia||1963||10-in.||ca. 1904||Auf jener seit||Solomon Smulewitz||Male vocal solo, with piano||vocalist, tenor vocal|
|Columbia||1964||10-in.||ca. 1904||Freitag auf der nacht||Solomon Smulewitz||Male vocal solo, with piano||vocalist, tenor vocal|
|Columbia||1965||10-in.||ca. 1904||Chaie zipe gut schabes||Solomon Smulewitz||Male vocal solo, with piano||vocalist, tenor vocal|
|Columbia||1966||10-in.||ca. 1904||Die seder nacht||Solomon Smulewitz||Male vocal solo, with piano||vocalist, tenor vocal|
|Columbia||1967||10-in.||ca. 1904||Wajsoso||Solomon Smulewitz||Male vocal solo, with piano||vocalist, tenor vocal|
|Columbia||1968||10-in.||ca. 1904||Mensch sei nit zu viel chochom||Solomon Smulewitz||Male vocal solo, with piano||vocalist, tenor vocal|
Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Small, Solomon," accessed October 17, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/110456.
Small, Solomon. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved October 17, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/110456.
"Small, Solomon." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 17 October 2021.
DAHR Persistent Identifier
Send the Editors a message about this record.