The Shmooze

Berlin's Svetlana Kundish Wows at Yiddish Songfest

By Masha Leon

  • Print
  • Share Share

Vocal pyrotechnics by Berlin-based sexy vocalist Sveta Kundish thrilled the audience at the September 9 launch of the “Festival for Yiddish Song” at the Center for Jewish History.

One can compare the evening to a musical response to the query posed by Samuel Kassow in his 2007 award-winning tome “Who Will Write Our History?’ New Yiddish music and song illuminated an evening that showcased performances by composer, bassists, singer Benjy Fox-Rosen, accordionist, composer, Klezmer performer Patrick Farrell, Yiddish song composer Josh Waletzky, Klezmer clarinetist extraordinaire Michael Winograd, and sizzling Klezmer violinist Deborah Strauss.

Karen Leon
Josh Waletsky and Sveta Kundish

Sveta Kundish —in this, her first North American debut who — according to a press release —“has been taking the European Yiddish world by storm”— invested each of her exquisitely articulated Yiddish songs with slivers of palpable angst, which at times resonated with a Marlene Dietrich-ish “Lili Marlene” despair. Born in the Ukraine, then settling in Israel, she is now based in Berlin where in 2008 she won 1st prize in the International vocal competition, “The Golden Hanukkia.” Currently the soloist of a number of European-based ensembles and projects, she serves as artist-in-residence and teacher at the Yiddish Weimar Festival.

The evening’s lyrics’ arc ranged from works by Yiddish literary giants — poets Mordechai Gebirtig and Abraham Sutzkever —to works by Josh Waletzky, a leading contemporary composer of Yiddish song, founder of the Klezmer band Kapelye and editor of documentaries “Image Before My Eyes” (1981) and “Partisans of Vilna” (1986). Song themes ranged from the angst of revenge, the pain of breaking up, of nature’s bounty to hope for a world of peace.

This concert marked the first collaboration of the Center for Traditional Music and Dance, The Center for Jewish History, The Sholem Aleichem Cultural Center and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research and was a presentation of The An-sky Institute for Jewish Culture Series. With a respectful nod to the past, the evening heralded a vibrant future for Yiddish-Jewish music worldwide.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Yiddish

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?








You may also be interested in our English-language newsletters:













We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.