About the Music

Beyond Borders

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     The influence of Russian music on Jewish culture and Jewish culture on Russian music continues to transcend borders and social history. Just as Jewish composers changes the Russian musical landscape, Russian folk music continues to influence the songs of Israeli folk dance and Kibbutzim.

     Efo Hen HaBachurot HaHen is perhaps one of the starkest examples of the endurance of Russian-Jewish musical exchanges. Made popular by Yehoram Gaon, Yossi Gamzu composed Hebrew lyrics to this Russian folk tune, blending the old and the new in the form of an Israeli dance song. The lyrics exuberantly ask “brother, where are they, those girls with the ponytails and the sarafan (frocks), with the hoe and the lash, why don’t we see them anymore?”, capturing nostalgic imagery that is just as familiar to the children of Russia as to the children of Israeli Kibbutzim.

 

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Lara Traum, Ljova Zhurbin, Alex Greenleaf, Dmitri Zisl Slepovitch, Jordan Morton: Crypto Jewish Melodies: Semitic Sounds of Russian Extraction

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