Press Release

Soul to Soul: Yiddish and African-American Music Meet In a Celebration of Two Cultures
Yiddish Festival
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
by M Groogan

Soul to Soul: Yiddish and African-American Music Meet In a Celebration of Two Cultures

 Houston, TX – Evelyn Rubenstein JCC of Houston and the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene and Evelyn Rubenstein JCC present Soul to Soul: Yiddish and African-American Music Meet in a Celebration of Two Cultures Saturday, February 18, 2017 at 8:15 p.m. This stirring musical presentation brings together the African American and the Yiddish American experience and is conceived and directed by Zalmen Mlotek, Artistic Director of the Folksbiene, America’s oldest Yiddish Theatre.  Mlotek is an internationally recognized authority on Yiddish folk and theater music and a leading figure in the Jewish theatre and concert worlds.

Soul to Soul explores the intersections between African-American and Yiddish folk music traditions through “plaintive Yiddish melodies”, haunting blues, and spirited jazz that reflect “common themes of persecution and deliverance, sadness and optimism.” (The New York Jewish Week)  The program is in English and Yiddish with English and Russian supertitles.

In addition to Mlotek, Soul to Soul features two Broadway veterans: opera singer Elmore James and actor/singer Tony Perry.  Tel Aviv native and granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, singer-trumpeter Magda Fishman and singer/actress Lisa Fishman complete the vocal section and all are joined by a four-piece klezmer-jazz band led by Mlotek.

In describing Soul to Soul, Mlotek said, “Working on Soul to Soul has been an emotional reminder of how much the African American and Yiddish cultures share, and how much the two communities have inspired one another over centuries.  Working with these particular performers has made the journey that much more exhilarating as each is a brilliant and charismatic artist.”

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