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Arkady Gendler: "My Hometown Soroke, Yiddish Songs of the Ukraine"

Just in time for Chanukah, the Berkeley-Richmond Jewish Community Center announces the release of a recording by Ukrainin Jewish folk singer Arkady Gender. This selection of 16 rare and original songs comes with notes by Mark Slobin and Michael Alpert; transcriptions, translations and transliterations by Jeanette Lewicki.

Arkady Gendler, now 80, was born in the Bessarabian city of Sorok, the tenth child of a large, Yiddish-speaking family that loved to sing and stage theatrical performances. He and a brother were the only ones to survive the Holocaust. Although it was forbidden in the Soviet Union to openly participate in Yiddish cultural activities, Arkady continued to study for almost 50 years. When it became possible to open a Jewish high school after the breakup of the Soviet Union, he created a teaching method in Zaparozhe, Ukraine, that revolved around the endless repertoire he had stored for half a century, as well as new songs that he composed.

This is his first and only recording, reflecting the powerful history of his generation, as well as his own warmth, wit and humor. The collection includes a song heretofore unrecorded by Itsik Manger, which Arkady learned from his sister, as well as a verse to the folk song Tumbalalaika, previously unknown. His rich, sonorous voice comes from a bottomless well of neshoma, perfectly complimented by the accordion accompaniment of Jeanette Lewicki of the San Francisco Klezmer Experience.

The Jewish Music Festival recorded Arkady Gendler at Fantasy Studios, after the wildly enthusiastic reception he received from more than a thousand concert-goers at our 15th Annual Festival in March, 2000. Everyone connected with the production donated their services so that all profits would go directly to Mr. Gendler. The cost of the CD is $18 plus $2.00 shipping. Group orders are possible. Credit card orders can be taken by phone at 510-848-0237 x 226. Checks can be mailed to: The Jewish Music Festival, c/o BRJCC, 1414 Walnut Street, Berkeley, CA, 94709

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