Yiddish revivalist ’70s pop

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My newest Nextbook music column covers singer-songwriter Avi Fox-Rosen and the revival of the ’70s Yiddish pop singers The Barry Sisters.

Once upon a time, the Barry Sisters fused the Jewish language with then-popular music (songs by Frank Sinatra, Burt Bacharach, and Perry Como), creating covers that, at worst, were convincingly swinging versions of the originals and, at best, reinterpreted the lyrics to songs like “Cabaretâ€? (“Put down the knitting / The book and the broom / Time for a holiday / Life is a cabaret, old chum / Come to the Cabaretâ€?), providing a fresh and distinctive take….“Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head,â€? played totally straight, is kooky and enjoyable. The showy but stylish twists in their voices as they launch into their full-throttle, Jewish-woman-empowering version of “My Wayâ€? feel like a seductive wink at the listener.

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A friend just sent this to me — which I wish I’d known when I wrote the article:

It’s way fun to hear the Yiddish translations. Some of them are hysterical. (My fave: “You are a witch performing black magic on me,” instead of “You’re magic.”)

Posted on January 5, 2009

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