Cabaret Warsaw: Yiddish and Polish Hits of the 1930s
Mappamundi's Cabaret Warsaw project began with Professor Beth Holmgren's idea to put out a cd in conjunction with her research into Jewish composers and performers in Warsaw, Poland between the World Wars. It was produced with a grant from Duke University. Mappamundi has been giving concerts of this material over the last few years.
Here is the cd:
The project has grown to include research into the once-famous and now unknown Yiddish theater songs printed by Icik Zielonek (Itzik Zhelonek), a book and record store owner in Warsaw between the world wars. We have three cds of this music:
SOME CABARET WARSAW CONCERTS
YIDDISH SONGS OF THE JAZZ AGE: Jane Peppler & Roger Spears
Saturday January 18 2014 at 8 pm
Beth El Synagogue 1004 Watts Street Durham NC
Droll, whimsical songs from a giddy time when Jews were arguing about whether girls should cut their hair, whether modern guys were "cavaliers" or fatheads, whether it's actually a good thing to have dough. In conjunction with Sheva Zucker's "Yiddish in Goles" seminar. Subtitles were projected and the non-Yiddish-speaking audience sang along loudly!
In March 2014 members of Mappamundi presented Cabaret Warsaw songs on the Murphey School Radio Show.
Thanks to the folks who came on Thursday, December 19, 2013 to see us (Ken Bloom and Jane Peppler of Mappamundi, pianist Roger Spears and baritone Randy Kloko), present an hour of Yiddish theater music from the kleynkunst venues of Warsaw Poland (with subtitles on the wall so people understood the jokes) at Carolina Meadows, Chapel Hill, NC.
On Saturday, December 21, 2013, those same four musicians plus alto Beth Holmgren and bassist Jim Baird (both of Mappamundi) and pianist Aviva Enoch gave a show of the same music and Polish favorites from the Cabaret Warsaw cd at the Artscenter, 300-G East Main Street, Carrboro.
World music band Mappamundi has researched and recorded a repertoire of cabaret music, popular songs from Poland, specifically as performed in Warsaw night clubs, theaters and kleynkunst venues, between the World Wars. Half the songs are in Yiddish, half are in Polish; all were written by Jews.
Here is a playlist of live music videos from concerts (and a few animated videos as well). You can subscribe to our Yiddish music Youtube channel to get notifications when new videos are added.
Here's a playlist of some of the Polish-language songs we do.
Our programs can be from an hour to two hours in length. Our first recording was funded by a Collaboration Development Grant from Duke University. Here are a couple of the tracks:
"Got out of bed on the wrong side
And stumbled through the door. A black cat crossed in front of me and a mirror crashed to the floor. All this happened on Friday, the thirteenth of Friday... For a single day this really seemed the limit... The world may fall apart, but I'm laughing all the time..."
"Oh my dear Sore-Dvoshe, why are you sitting in the street looking at the moon? Wait, I forgot: you're still mad at me, my radiant madonna. Why are you angry at me again? Let's make peace already.." "Yosl, why are you singing me a serenade? Why can't you let a pretty girl sit in the street? Better you should buy me a big piece of chocolate, we'll go walking and I won't be angry any more."
The CD Release concert on Saturday, June 2, 7:30 pm, at Duke's Bryant Center, was just about sold out, and it was lots of fun. Pictures are below. If you know a good place for us to present this program, let us know...
As we searched for more material together, we unearthed further evidence of a lively, intertwined, competitive bilingual cabaret scene, in which Polish-language venues attracted major talents and wealthier, more sophisticated patrons and Yiddish-language kleynkunst revi-teatrs or little theaters fought to establish themselves in a double rivalry with Polish cabaret and high-culture Yiddish theater.
Polish-language and Yiddish-language popular music overlapped not only in shared melodies, but also in topic and style -- in part because some Polish Jewish artists wrote and performed in both languages, in part because almost all of Warsaw, Gentile and Jewish, was swept up in the capital city modernization - in the experiences and goods of a twentieth-century metropolis. Both Yiddish kleynkunst and Polish cabaret featured shimmies, foxtrots, and tangos; their performers sang about their indulgence in modern pleasures (movies, dances, fashions), city-specific woes (broken water-pipes, crime, urban poverty), and the bumpy path to assimilation. Polish cabaret songs flaunted the vagaries of sex and romance in the big city, including mésalliances between Gentiles and Jews, experienced urbanites and naive immigrants. Kleynkunst songs highlighted the social and psychological transformation of traditional Jews into more secularized, fashion-conscious city dwellers.
The Cabaret Warsaw cd is $17.99 (postage paid) for international purchases:
You will receive the 20-page liner notes digital booklet (pdf format) by return email. It includes complete texts in Yiddish and Polish, translations, pictures, and notes on composers and performers.
The cd is also available electronically: Cabaret Warsaw digital download and mp3 preview. Click the link to hear every cut for free - you can download the whole album or any cut you like in the hi-res format of your choice. Those who buy the whole album will receive the pdf file of our liner notes as described above.
The members of Mappamundi are: Beth Holmgren, Jane Peppler, Ken Bloom, Jim Baird. Joining them for this project, pianist Aviva Enoch of Yiddish music in North Carolina.
A blog about the project and the songs: Polish Jewish Cabaret
For more information contact Jane Peppler at 919-383-8952 or email@example.com.