CD of the day: Olga Mieleszczuk / Jewish Folksongs from the Shtetl
There have been a spate of recent CDs uncovering new (or in this case, sometimes new) repertoire. In this case, Folk singer/researcher Olga Mielszczuk has followed up on field recordings by Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett made in the Polesye region of what is now Belarus, back in 1968–1975, from the repertoire of Mariam Nirenberg. Polesye was the ancient cradle of the Slavic peoples and a center of Hasidism. Nirenberg, a pre-War Jewish folksinger, was born in this multicultural region. What I find most compelling is the mix of older songs with 20th century repertoire—many were learned from the gramophone or other media in the early part of the century and reflected then-popular music. What is exciting is to hear them in the context of old and new from a specific region, and to hear them in modern settings, sung by a lovely voice backed by stellar musicians from Poland, Israel, and the US. I received this 2012 recording months ago and continue to enjoy listening to it. It has also become a great CD for long car trips. You can get your copy of Olga Mieleszczuk / Jewish folksongs from the Shtetl from the artist's website. Enjoy!
While I am lauding Mieleszczuk's work, I should also note ask you to read the next post (which, blog-style, you probably read first), sent today by Ellie Shapiro, head of Berkeley's Jewish Music Festival.