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“The songs of Leibu await definitive professional evaluation,” wrote back in 1984 the internationally renowned Yiddish singer Nechama Lifshitz in a memorial note dedicated to her late stage partner, the Yiddish performer, narrator, composer and singer Leibu Levin (1914-1983) from Czernowitz (today Chernivtsi in southwestern Ukraine). This new production of the Jewish Music Research Centre prepared around the centennial of Levin’s birth is a partial fulfilment of Lifshitz’s wish.
This CD is based on the comprehensive compilation and cataloging of Leibu Levin’s surviving historical recordings scattered in private collections and archives, most especially at the Sound Archives at the National Library of Israel. It includes a selection of a representative corpus of songs performed by Leibu Levin with or without instrumental accompaniment. Michael Lukin, a researcher of the JMRC specializing on Yiddish song and culture in Eastern Europe prepared a detailed scholarly essay on Leibu Levin’s oeuvre. The accompanying booklet also includes a full transcription, transliteration and translation of all the texts into English, Hebrew and Russian as well as biographical information about the poets.
Words by H. Leivick, music composed in 1936 and released in 1939. From a home recording.
Words by A. Lutzky, music composed in 1937 and released only in 2005. Recorded by Kol Israel. Piano: Mathias Malve.
Words by Itzik Manger. Composed in 1936. Recorded by Kol Israel during Leibu Levin's last concert, on 27.12.81 in Jerusalem.