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I actually had a date with the Mr. last night. On a weeknight, too! He had tickets to Zemer Chai, a Jewish choir in which the wife of one of his former bosses sings, and another colleague is a supporter of the group. He'd meant to go with yet another colleague who's into the group (they saw it together last year too) but the other guy couldn't go, so he took me.   XD

This is basically a very good U.S./European-style mixed choir that focuses on traditional European Jewish music from both the Ashkenazi (German/Polish/Russian etc.) and and Sephardi (Italian/Spanish/Turkish) traditions, with some Israeli songs thrown in for good measure. It's generally very melodic and very tightly, elaborately arranged (examples: here and here). In some ways, this was the very antithesis of the Idan Raichel concert I took in with smillaraaq earlier this spring.

That's not to say that some of the songs weren't lively. We also got a bit of Yiddish theater in the second half, when the director chained several songs together to make a little slice-of-life drama. First, a young, bearded male singer stepped out from the ranks of the choir and added a newsboy cap to his kippeh, thus transforming himself into Dovidl, a boy from an Eastern European Jewish community who loves a girl named Reizl - potrayed by another choir member's teenaged daughter, in a peasant blouse and a long skirt ("Reizele"). They court each other, and according to the director's narration, get married (to the Sephardic wedding song "Scalerica de Oro" - "A Ladder of Gold"), and then have a baby (the Ladino lullaby "Durme" - "Sleep, Little One"). Then came the undoubted highlight of the evening, when a 12-year-old boy (I'm guessing the age) came out of the audience and did a duet - in Yiddish - with his choir-member grandfather, portraying father and son: the son is a trouble-making space cadet in school, the Rebbe has been complaining, and the whole thing was just completely amusing and touching at the same time. Wow, did that kid have a set of pipes!

Then we all helped wrap things up by joining Zemer Chai in singing the classic Yiddish riddle song "Tumbalalaika."

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
theloomofmoira
Jun. 5th, 2009 04:34 pm (UTC)
a 12-year-old boy (I'm guessing the age) came out of the audience and did a duet - in Yiddish - with his choir-member grandfather

awesome. :)
chomiji
Jun. 12th, 2009 01:30 am (UTC)
(12-yr-old Yiddish vocalist)

It was! He was a boy alto rather than a boy soprano, which was interesting and rather nice.

(And what is that pretty thing in your icon?)

theloomofmoira
Jun. 12th, 2009 01:48 am (UTC)
Re: (12-yr-old Yiddish vocalist)
icon: a talisman. a pentagram of swords.

now, what is your icon there? ;)
chomiji
Jun. 12th, 2009 03:31 am (UTC)
Re: (12-yr-old Yiddish vocalist)

It's very elaborately stylized Hebrew calligraphy. The figure in the center is the word "Shalom" - here it is in more conventional form, with vowel markings above and below. You can see that in the icon, the branches of the letter "shin" (the sh sound) are suggested by the remaining letters of the word. The other lettering in the lower-right is the rest of a quote from the Psalms - "Peace you shall pursue" (in the Hebrew word order).

The thing at the upper left is just a stylized floral motif. And I added the border myself, but I color-matched them to the lettering.

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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