Musical Genres

And We're All Brothers: Singing in Yiddish in Contemporary by Abigail Wood

By Abigail Wood

The sunrise of the twenty-first century marked a turning interval for American Yiddish tradition. The 'Old international' of Yiddish-speaking japanese Europe used to be fading from dwelling reminiscence - but while, Yiddish music loved a renaissance of artistic curiosity, either between a more youthful new release looking reengagement with the Yiddish language, and, such a lot prominently through the transnational revival of klezmer track. The final zone of the 20 th century and the early years of the twenty-first observed a gradual move of latest songbook courses and recordings in Yiddish - newly composed songs, recognized singers appearing nostalgic favourites, American well known songs translated into Yiddish, theatre songs, or even a few forays into Yiddish hip hop; musicians in the meantime engaged with discourses of musical revival, post-Holocaust cultural politics, the transformation of language use, radical alterity and a brand new iteration of yankee Jewish identities. This publication explores how Yiddish track turned the sort of powerful medium for musical and ideological creativity on the twilight of the 20 th century, providing an episode within the flowing timeline of a musical repertory - ny on the sunrise of the twenty-first century - and outlining the various trajectories that Yiddish tune and its singers have taken to, and past, this element.

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Additional info for And We're All Brothers: Singing in Yiddish in Contemporary North America

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The programme, entitled ‘Yugnt (Youth) Hymn: Children’s Voices and the Holocaust’, was held at the CUNY Graduate Center, a large building on Fifth Avenue in central Manhattan. ; arriving a few minutes beforehand, I found almost all the places in the large auditorium, which seated some 500 people, were taken. Those present ranged from children, running around at the back of the auditorium, to the elderly, including several Holocaust survivors. On the stage sat a large choir – the combined members of the Workmen’s Circle Yiddish Chorus and the New Yiddish Chorale – totalling about 50 singers, dressed in black and white.

Laughs]. Or a sad time, or whatever. 5 Again, Cooper’s comments link the dual function of songs as repertory and experience outlined at the beginning of this chapter: songs are explicitly linked to language teaching, but at the same time, are a vehicle to allow students to have a meaningful, embodied experience of singing. A contrasting song workshop session was presented by Binyumen Schaechter, a native Yiddish speaker and Yugntruf activist, son of prominent Yiddish linguist and long-time summer programme instructor Mordkhe Schaechter, and one of a handful of parents outside the strictly Orthodox world choosing to raise his three children in Yiddish.

Yiddish songs formed a substantial part of the programme. Notably, through song the evening incorporated not only variations in musical texture (choirs, soloists, instrumentalists) and in genre but also a cross-section of members of the Yiddish musical community, from young to old, from amateur musicians to top names from the professional Yiddish performance scene. Family links among the performers testified to an active continuation of Yiddish traditions: at least three families were represented by two or more generations, and children from three Yiddish shuln (Yiddish secular schools) participated in the programme.

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