The JEWISH SHTETLE are wonderful worlds, scattered once on open spaces of the Eastern Europe and Russia. They remained in the past and closely intertwined happiness, fear, love, hope, poverty, pride, despair and music, the music, which flew from clarinets of klezmer-musicians and streamed from under fingers of violinists on weddings.
Mums sang these songs to their babies, and those gave births to their children who in the evenings, leaning over their kids, sang these songs to them again. So the wheel of time made turns, surrendering itself to a rhythm of Yiddish language, to the melodies, which became eternal, having extended all over the world – the Old and the New one – and having united hearts of people, irrespective of their nationality.
Despite the fact of being major such a song is always written in a minor – like many Afro-American blues songs where white hides black and laughter means negation of sorrow. Therefore songs of the Jewish shtetle are quite similar – courage of mother just like courage of people always touches your heart and causes respect.
These songs could become history and having fallen asleep die in vinyl, in records of performers of the last century who were last collectors of these melodies because music constantly develops – technologies of records change, there are new carriers and quality of sound comes nearer to that divine line where the listener or the performer is not important anymore and in the end only harmony remains.
Just for this reason the cultural project “The Best Songs of the Jewish Shtetle” is very important today. It is a next step on a way to a temple where culture finds eternity and songs of our mums remain for children of our children.
About the project
In 2001 under the auspices of Jury Bashmet Fund the large cultural musical project “The Best Songs of the Jewish Shtetle” started, Efim Alexandrov became its soloist and director.
For today the musical project “The Best Songs of the Jewish Shtetle” is considered by the Russian and the world press to be unique, not having analogues in the world musical project in Yiddish language.
During the last years more than 200 performances have been given in the USA, Canada, Germany, Israel and the CIS countries. Efim Alexandrov carries out active research work on restoration of musical culture of Yiddish. In association with the Russian Symphonic Orchestra of Cinematography two disks of songs of the Jewish shtetle in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine are recorded along with two concerts at the Moscow theatre “New opera” and in the State Central Concert Hall “Russia”, both broadcasted to many countries of the world.
In the last few years on the basis of the project some concert programs have been created which were huge successes in cities of Russia, the CIS countries and in the world.
For the project “The Best Songs of the Jewish Shtetle” the author, director, actor, singer and guardian of Yiddish song tradition Efim Alexandrov was awarded the rank of the winner of the Russian national award “Person of the Year 2001” and “Person of the Year 5764” award of Federation of the Jewish Communities in Russia.
At the annual ceremony “The Golden Nine of the Year 2005”, where people of the year who had contributed to the major spheres of Israel society life, are being announced, Efim Alexandrov was awarded by Israel television channel “Israel plus” the special prize of “The Golden Nine” for his contribution to the world Jewish culture.
In the beginning of 2007 Efim Alexandrov was awarded by the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation a rank of a HONORED ARTIST of Russia.
Today Efim Alexandrov continues his work within the limits of the project “The Best Songs of the Jewish Shtetle”. He is also active as an actor, singer, showman, author, producer and director of new musical projects.
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