Crossposted From Under the Fig Tree
Nearly 30 years ago, when musician and musicologist Henry Sapoznik first stumbled across a cache of aluminum transcription disks of Yiddish radio shows from interwar America, little did he suspect that they would find a home at the Library of Congress.
Abandoned in an attic, deposited in a dumpster, the stuff of rummage and tag sales, these acoustic artifacts, which ranged from “Yiddish Melodies in Swing” to Stuhmer’s “Pumpernickel Program,” were destined to fade away entirely had not Sapoznik recognized their value and saved them, often just in the nick of time.
But then, this stalwart champion of American Jewry’s vernacular culture did even more than that. Working together with the award-winning radio producer Dave Isay and the celebrated sound preservationist Andy Lanset, he made sure, for one thing, to preserve this material.