Review | Songlist
Other Yiddish folk recordings reviewed on these pages:
and others on the list of reviews
Also for kids:
Di grine katshke (The Green Duck), A menagerie of Yiddish animal-songs for children.
Gerry Tenney & Betty Albert Schreck
Gerry Tenney has long been one of the pillars on which the San Francisco Bay Area Yiddish and Klez communities rely. Even when he isn't performing, he is often the person to bring the sound equipment and to ensure that a benefit or other worthy concert happens. In the '80s he and his wife, Leslie, appeared frequently, either as a duo, or with friends, singing Yiddish songs and creating an unusually heimish (homelike) atmosphere. A concert featuring Gerry or Betty is the equivalent of being invited into a large living room and being made feel welcome. This is especially important when recording Yiddish folk songs, as the temptation in recent years has been to either drown them in cutesy orchestral arrangements, or to sing down to the (presumably?) childish audience. These days they most often appear as "California Klezmer," and, depending on the occasion, incorporate various amounts of everything from Yiddish rock 'n' roll to straight-ahead impossible-to-sit-still klez
Although many of the songs on this recording are intended for kids, the singers manage to make this an album that everyone will want to listen to. Consider this the obviation of "shmaltz." Yes, Virginia, Yiddish folk songs can be sung as though they are fun! Needless to say, the Bay Area's best musicians showed up to provide backup, and have a grand time.
The music and words to most of the songs on this recording can be found in "Lomir Kinder Zingen" available from Kinderbuch Publications, 1133 Broadway, New York, NY 10010.
This is a wonderful Yiddish recording. This is one of the very rare Yiddish recordings that is worth listening to, and fun to listen to. What more can I say of the disk containing the definitive (?!!) recording of "Oy Mayn Kepele" (you should just hear them perform it live!)
Reviewed by Ari Davidow 5/26/96; minor edits 5/28/98