S'novom godom! с новым годом!
As 2019 gets underway, I'm still excited about Yiddish Glory, which I was so lucky to see in concert in Toronto, this past August. This is what I wrote after, and I still feel that way: "My mind is still so full after yesterday’s Yiddish Glory concert. I can’t quite describe the feeling of hearing your grandparents’ stories come alive on the stage — fighting in the Red Army, evacuation, returning to news of murdered family members, mass graves. Of the feeling that maybe those experiences will finally become part of the ‘official’ narrative, and Russian-speaking kids won’t grow up wondering why the stories they hear at the dinner table and the history they learn in Jewish schools and programs don’t match up. With the exception of one Russian song, the entire repertoire was in Yiddish. No matter how many facts I’ve read about Jewish life in the USSR, nothing quite brings to life the scope of cultural loss (to say nothing of lives) in this language. Such a vibrant and alive world. The calls for revenge, the violence, the fighting spirit, the jokes, the joys of victory were also so unexpected — not the usual stuff of Holocaust narratives, but such an important part of the story." And umm, woah, it now has a Grammy nomination. That's right - an entirely Yiddish album. A Grammy nod. The song collection was unearthed by Anna Shternshis, Director of Jewish Studies at UofT, and set to music by Psoy Korolenko. You can get yourself a copy here; it comes with a booklet of translations, if you're concerned about the language barrier.
As always, thanks for reading along.