Polish Jewish Cabaret: a library of wonderful but forgotten Yiddish songs of the 1920s - 1930s. Have a listen!

1. Link to list of posts on this site
2. Link to songs for sale
3. Click here for our music videos of Yiddish songs with English subtitles (mainly post-1925)
4. List of the still lost songs. Do you know any of them?
5. Warszawa zumerkurs song links

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Where to find Yiddish music for free online

I just finished the vocal tracks for my next cd, which is of an entirely different nature, and am preparing a presentation of Yiddish cabaret music to give at Yidish Vokh this year. (Yidish Vokh: "The only Yiddish-speaking vacation spot where students, families, and seniors from all levels of observancy can come together for a week to speak only Yiddish." It's in Maryland this year. Not too late to sign up!)

I've decided to go through all of Itzik Zhelanek's books and find as many of his songs as I can. It's actually quite amazing how many of them are online. Here are the places I'm checking:

  • Florida Atlantic University Judaica Sound Archives. They have an amazing collection of songs in an online jukebox. They also have a sheet-music collection.
  • Yiddish Music Jewniverse. Not so many songs but some that are not available elsewhere. I believe this site is based in Russia so it has more of the foreign songs. It also has biographies of a lot of famous and obscure figures in Yiddish music and Yiddish theater.
  • Dartmouth Jewish Sound Archive. This is, I think, the largest collection of online Yiddish music. You have to register to use the site.
  • Youtube. Strangely, there are songs on Youtube that can't be found anywhere else. In fact, that's where we found quite a few of the songs we recorded on Cabaret Warsaw: Yiddish and Polish Hits of the 1920s - 1930s.
  • Robert and Molly Freedman Jewish Sound Archive at the University of Pennsylvania. While you can't listen to any of the music here, I find it helpful because Bob Freedman has gone to the trouble to index his collection (which you can visit in Philadelphia) using YIVO transcription and first lines. It's utterly exasperating to try and guess how various Yiddish titles are transliterated in English and some of the songs are hiding in plain sight under odd spellings.
  • Save the Music has a small collection but I found one song here that was nowhere else. 
So, for your pleasure, here is one of the songs from the Itzik Zhelanek collection that you can listen to at Youtube, as performed by the magnificent Aaron Lebedeff:



 

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