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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 16Focusing on Jewish Popular Culture and Its Afterlife$
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Michael C. Steinlauf and Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774730

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774730.001.0001

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Transmigrations: Wolf Krakowski’s Yiddish Worldbeat in its Socio-Musical Context

Transmigrations: Wolf Krakowski’s Yiddish Worldbeat in its Socio-Musical Context

(p.297) Transmigrations: Wolf Krakowski’s Yiddish Worldbeat in its Socio-Musical Context
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 16

Alex Lubet

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines Wolf Krakowski's legendary CD Transmigrations, which was the first example of Yiddish worldbeat. Transmigrations comprises principally secular songs, although these are at times referenced, as is nearly unavoidable in chronicles of Jewish life. Two songs, ‘Shabes, shabes’ and ‘Zol shoyn kumen di geule’ (Let the Redemption Come), are traditionally devotional, if non-liturgical. The songs that address the Holocaust and other Jewish suffering pose basic spiritual questions that Jews must ask, though not in formal prayer. In determining any music's Jewishness, lessons from the sacred repertoire of Judaism may be applied. On utilitarian grounds, all settings of sacred Hebrew texts for use in Jewish worship are Jewish music. This principle extends to all Yiddish song, since Jewish languages are tools of Jewish community. This includes all twelve songs on Transmigrations. Ultimately, Transmigrations—an album of Yiddish folk songs and works by Yiddish theatre and literary artists, its melodies forthrightly Jewish—defies expectations of Yiddish song in broader aspects of style.

Keywords:   Wolf Krakowski, Transmigrations, Yiddish worldbeat, secular songs, Jewish life, Jewishness, Judaism, Jewish music, Yiddish song, Yiddish folk songs

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