Kulturfest, opening June 14 in New York, will be the biggest Yiddish cultural festival since the 1930s. Its director hopes that this will only be the beginning.
An ebullient Mandy Patinkin cool in a black V-necked sweater, cargo pants and sneakers, now the beardless former acting CIA director Saul Berenson on Showtime’s hit series “Homeland,” bounded up the stage at the Center for Jewish History at the YIVO-Institute for Jewish Research December 8 tribute to Yiddish ethnomusicologist Chana (Eleanor) Mlotek who died at 91 last month.
When I recently called Chana Mlotek about an obscure song of a girl weaving sandals, within a nanosecond, she gave me the song’s provenance, lyricist and composer. On November 4 she died at 91. Chana was among the few of a generation to call me by the diminutive Mashele — we shared a more than sixty-year friendship.
Before there were blogs and Wikipedia, there were archivists like Chana Mlotek. The expert in Yiddish ethnomusicology passed away on Sunday.
Chana Mlotek, an archivist and scholar, reestablished Yiddish folksong research after the Holocaust. She was once called the ‘Sherlock Holmes of Yiddish Song.’
On the Yiddish Song of the Week blog, Dmitri Slepovitch writes about “Ikh vel nit ganvenen” (“I Will Not Steal”), a song he recorded in his native Belarus:
On the Yiddish Song of the Week blog, Forverts associate editor Itzik Gottesman writes about “If I Were to Have the Emperor’s Treasures,” as sung by Ita Taub:
If Yiddish songs were popular in your childhood home, then the recently released new edition of “Pearls of Yiddish Poetry” may help put forgotten pieces of your auditory past back together. Many of us remember fragments of songs that we heard as children, songs that come back to us while doing the laundry, or scrubbing the kitchen, or taking a leisurely stroll. Often, all we can recall is a particular refrain, but not the entire song, neither its name nor that of the author or composer.