Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Vintage Bikel from the 1960s -- his first JEWISH album!
Rabbi Yonassan Gershom | Minnesota, USA | 01/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Years ago I borrowed this album on vinyl from the library, and always wished I had my own copy. I found the CD in -- of all places! -- a pawn shop in Hinckley, Minnesota. To say I was surprised is an understatement. Hinckley is NOT a Jewish area! Did some passing tourist lose all at the nearby casino and pawn his CD collection? Well, however it got there, it was a fabulous find, just waiting for me to take it home and pop it into my CD player. What a mechayah! (pleasure)Before Theodore Bikel did this album, he had sung folksongs from every imaginable language and culture -- except his own. Of his previous albums, he writes in the liner notes: "For some time now, it has been a debatable point as to whether or not I have the right to call myself a folksinger... The songs may sound authentic in my mouth -- as Russians, Frenchmen or Scots often tell me -- but nevertheless I sing what I learned only; not what I was born to." With this album, he came out of the closet as a Jew, and sang the songs that he WAS born to. Many are well-known Yiddish classics, but some, he says, were never before heard outside his own family.All the songs are sung in Yiddish. The complete words are in the liner notes, both transliterated and in English. One rather odd thing, though: there seems to be some disagreement as to exactly how many songs are on this album. The Yiddish poster on the front cover lists 16. So do the liner notes. The list on the back of the CD only has 15, and this Amazon page lists 14! Not to worry -- I have the actual CD right here on my desk and it has all 16 songs on it. Blame the rest on the proofreaders.After this album, Bikel went on to do many more Jewish music and theater projects. The most recent was MC-ing the two PBS specials, "A Taste of Chanukkah" and "A Taste of Passover." He also played a rabbi on Babylon 5, and Worf's Russian stepfather on Star Trek: The Next Generation. So closely associated is Bikel's name with Jewish folklore, that many Trek fans have assumed Worf's stepparents are Jewish! So nu, maybe they are -- and to think it all started with this classic Yiddish folk album."