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As soon as the first drop of rain touches the pavement, umbrella vendors appear beneath awnings, in subway entrances, below construction scaffolding, as if summoned up through the sidewalk by Nature’s hand itself.  Sometimes they sing.  
Their song is a vendor’s call, but also an ancient mantra from the earliest times of human existence.  It is a little-known fact that tender-hearted sinners like you and I owe our presence on this planet to one merciful umbrella vendor of old who appeared just as the first drops of rain, threatening to engulf our ancestors, began to fall on the lands of Noah.



We come from a place where the rain never fell;
Can’t you see the sun straining at the empty well?
The clothes were always drying out on the laundry line
And it was always picnic weather but our mouths were parched and dry.
We were thirsty all the time.

Now, Noah had a house where God kept knocking on the door;
Can’t you hear him hammer away on his two by fours?
We all thought him harmless but unusual, too,
and all the children loved his polar bears, giraffes, and marmosets
Oh, his goats and his kangaroos.

Then, so it was, a great miracle came.
First, we saw the lightning and then we felt the rain
And as the children danced and moistened their tongues
That’s when we first saw that man
Alone beneath the falling rain
He silently surveyed the scene; oblivious to the revelry he called out singing:

Umbrella umbrella umbrella umbrella…

The man held aloft an object we had never seen before
A thing to keep us dry in our first downpour.
But no one paid him mind, no one paid him any heed
And all the people marveled as the dirt made mud beneath their feet
Oh, the mud beneath their feet.

Then, so it was, the waters began to rise
And for days the rain kept falling down from the sunless skies
And as the children shouted, searching for air
Our neighbor Noah sailed away—we saw what kind of guy he was
He never turned a tender eye to the people screaming, babies crying, and somebody singing:

Umbrella umbrella umbrella umbrella…

I’ve been called a skeptic and I’ve been called worse
And they say the sins of humans brought the water curse
A sinner and believer as I stand before you now
In the power of a peddler to spare our lives somehow
Oh, he saved our lives somehow.

Then, so it was, we floated on for days
In our overturned umbrellas, braving rain, and wind, and wave
And as the people shouted, sighting the shore
We knew we’d found the way back home, that God could not just kill us all
Though Noah’s stony heart was cold, but those who love this life of ours
Will always find a way to live it, long as there is joy and awe and somebody singing:

Umbrella umbrella umbrella umbrella…


from Jean Rohe & The End of the World Show, released November 27, 2014
Jean Rohe – mandolin, guitar, lead vocals
Ilusha Tsinadze – acoustic and electric guitars, dobro
Christopher Tordini – acoustic and electric bass
Liam Robinson – accordion, keyboards
Skye Steele – violin
Rogério Boccato – percussion
Richie Barshay – percussion
James Shipp – vibraphone and percussion
And everyone sings.

Ljova Zhurbin – viola on 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11
Dave Eggar – cello on 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11

Tony Hdez – radio announcer on 4

All songs by Jean Rohe
Produced by Jean Rohe & Liam Robinson

String arrangements on “Fisherman”, “Pacific Street”, “Water”, and “O Bright Star” by Liam Robinson.

“Who Shall...” incorporates part of a Russian children's song in translation, “May There Always Be Sunshine (Пусть всегда будет солнце)”.
Field recording in “Umbrella” from Uskudar, Istanbul, Turkey, 2011.

Recorded by Chris Bittner at Applehead Studios in Saugerties, NY
Additional recording by Oliver Straus at Mission Sound, Brooklyn, NY, and Aaron Nevezie at The Bunker Studio, Brooklyn, NY.

Mixed by Todd Sickafoose at Earycanal

Mastering by Alan Douches at West West Side Music

Illustrations by Melanie Chopko
Photo by Jen Painter
Layout and design by Ilusha Tsinadze



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Jean Rohe Brooklyn, New York

“A sure-footed young singer-songwriter,” in the words of The New York Times, Jean Rohe has been captivating audiences for years with her one-of-a-kind narrative songs. Her writing concerns itself as much with the internal world as with the external. Her latest record, Jean Rohe & The End of the World Show, won three Independent Music Awards in 2014. ... more


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