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Music

Blame It on the Bossa Nova: Remembering Eydie Gorme

I’ve been listening to Eydie sing today, particularly a standout performance of a song from the 1966 musical Mame.  I dare you to listen to her sing “If He Walked Into My Life” here and not feel the expressive pull, the regret, the heartache as she hits every dramatic emotional nuance of this difficult song.  Not only is she technically right on the money, she nails it with aplomb and finish.  Listen to it, and I guarantee you’ll feel what Steve Lawrence felt about her: “I fell in love with her the moment I saw her and even more the first time I heard her sing.  While my personal loss is unimaginable, the world has lost one of the greatest pop vocalists of all time.” 

Ethel Stark is first woman to conduct at Carnegie Hall

October 22, 1947

Ethel Stark is first woman to conduct at Carnegie Hall

Meet “Bulletproof Stockings” and “Yiddish Princess”

Today we feature female American Jewish musicians who aren’t softly crooning classic Hebrew folk songs, traditional prayers, or even hava nagila. They are not belting out Broadway tunes or love songs à la Barbra Streisand or Bette Midler. These women are rocking out to their own beat.

Reflections on the Theatre

As a special treat for our blog readers, we’re taking this Friday to do a bit of a blog round up. Our bloggers often explore areas of entertainment, and nothing gets us writing more than a good night out at the theatre. Check out these five incredibly diverse blog entries, each focusing on a different aspect of the stage.

A 22-year-old’s first TV special: "My Name is Barbra"

April 28, 1965

"No major guest stars, not even any minor ones—just me and a bunch of great songs and some wonderful musicians."

Sing a New Song: Jews, Music, and the Civil Rights Movement

In the 1960s, American Jews made up a large percentage of those white Americans who participated in the Civil Rights Movement. Many of them were motivated by liberal American values, Jewish values, and a belief that they understood the African American experience. At rallies, sit-ins, and marches they stood shoulder to shoulder with African Americans, and they were strengthened by the same freedom songs. This Go & Learn guide uses the letter of a Jewish civil rights activist and several freedom songs to explore how this music, based in African American church music, was able to cross racial and religious boundaries and build community.

Elizabeth Swados’ play "Ten Years of Hope" opens

February 29, 2004

'My faith is very practical. It is about helping people to sing, dance and make shows."

The Indomitable Jewish Ballerina Who Inspired a Timeless Love Song

In 1944, at the height of the worst carnage the world has known, a mother in Budapest, Hungary, put her only son, then seven years old, out on the street with a pillow, a last morsel of bread, and the boy’s baptismal certificate. The mother was Jewish, the son Catholic.

Fifty years later the son, Cesare Frustaci—by that time an American citizen with a family of his own—contributed a video-taped oral history to Yale University and then sent the tape to author Germaine Shames. It told the story of his mother, ballerina Margit Wolf, who was banished from the stage by Mussolini only to inspire a timeless love song and then fade from history without a trace.

Lauren Interviews Lauren

Singer-songwriter-humorist Lauren Mayer reflects on Hanukkah, Christmas, family, growing up a Jew in Orange County and how all this informs her own, artistic process. May you enjoy this in depth interview conducted by… herself.

What inspired you to write “Latkes, Shmatkes”?

Two years ago NPR did a program on Christmas music, and their expert was talking about how secular songs, like “Frosty The Snowman,” became classics, and then he said, “Some songs should never become classics, like this one”— and used an old recording of mine as an example. It was a novelty song I’d written and recorded years ago, “The Fruitcake That Ate New Jersey,” and when I wrote in to ask how they found it, they ended up interviewing me. I joked that now I was part of the great tradition of Jewish songwriters who create Christmas music, and I really should do a Chanukah album. Once I said it, I realized it could be a fun idea.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Music." (Viewed on October 1, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/music>.

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