Monday, October 2, 2017

Isa Kremer: Die Poiliche Juden (1922)

Yiddish Performance of the Week

Die Poiliche Juden (“The Polish Jews;” 1922): Isa Kremer [born in 1887 in Belz, Bessarabia; died in 1956 in Córdoba, Argentina] sings “Die Poiliche Juden” in this 1922 recording for a 78 record produced by Brunswick in New York City; this is recorded shortly after Kremer came to the United States from Europe, and a couple of months after her performance at Carnegie Hall. This song, composed by the Yiddish folk poet Mark Varshavski [1848–1907], has a piano accompaniment by Kurt Hetzel. Isa Kremer has both an interesting background and an interesting story as a singer of Yiddish folk-songs. Kremer began her musical career as an opera singer, but changed course after her marriage to Israel Heifetz and after meeting the intellectual writers of Odessa, writes the Jewish Women’s Archive: “After her marriage to Heifetz (twenty-seven years her senior) around 1912, Kremer became involved in the intellectual life of Odessa and was especially influenced by the circles of Mendele Mokher Seforim, Mark Warshawski, and Chaim Nachman Bialik. Bialik convinced her to sing Yiddish folk songs, which she started to collect. At that time only men, usually cantors, performed these traditional songs of home and hearth on the stage.” As for the town of Belz, it had 6,100 inhabitants, 3,600 of them Jews, by the beginning of the First World War; today, its total population is less than 2,500, and there is no Jewish presence. Belz, which changed hands many times in the last 150 years, is now part of Western Ukraine, close to the border of Poland. For more about the Jewish life of Belz, you should view the Belz Memorial Book, published in 1974, and made available by JewishGen and the Yizkor Book Project.
Via: Youtube

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