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a
Yiddish Tsuris (Blues) and the Zer Emes (Very Baaad) Voice to Go With It
Wolf Krakowski's voice - in Yiddish - would own any hip club, anywhere; forget that this album is a bisl of everything - blues, jazz, folk. Krakowski toured with Big Joe Williams - and listening to this, shows how brave Krakowski is. One side effect of this is to be pissed off at anyone who did not pass Yiddish on - and many of the tunes here will not be familiar to maybe even most people who've heard a fair amount of Yiddish; one of the exceptions is Krakowski's killer rendition of "Dona, Dona" - for me, the version to beat.

-Brian Schiff
 Amazon.com

11/25/12


Short review of "Goyrl: Destiny" (in Russian)


"This is art."
--Prof. MIchael Steinlauf
Author: Bondage to the Dead:  Poland and the Memory of the Holocaust (Syracuse University Press)


From Insound
Krakowski and his group get you up and rocking from the start with Tate-mama, and end with the equally powerful Zingarella.  Read more....


From Tzaikology
In French....
.


Booker, Cafe Leonar
Hamburg, Germany
"I love the way you handle Yiddish music."

-Stella Jurgenson


Blog in Dm
"Wolf Krakowski is the Johnny Cash of Yiddish music."
Backed by a solid roots rock trio, The Lonesome Brothers, and some guests, including “Goyrl” producer Frank London, Krakowski delivers dark interpretations of Yiddish songs familiar and un.
Read More (scroll down the blog to find the Wolf Krakowski review)


One of a Kind, December 21, 2008
Amazon.com
I saw Wolf Krakowski, the Lonesome Brothers and his backup singers in concert in Gainesville FL. It was like entering a strange and spooky world - the voices of a language almost never heard anymore, set to bluesy rhythms that rock gently.
Now I own this album (Goyrl: Destiny) and the translation in the liner notes are testament to the pain, sadness and regret that are heard so plainly in Krakowski's voice. Songs of regrets over the loss of family, of parents treated badly, a calf on its way to slaughter, a thief who longs to change. Folk songs of enforced poverty and conscription.
I love this album, and every time I listen to it, Krakowski's voice seems more expressive.
This album is a labor of love, made in defiance against a world that may soon forget the circumstances that produced it, but the spiritual longings are still relevant and beautifully expressed.

-By Ayalablu "SandHillGarden" (Florida)


[I know] your CD, "Goyrl: Destiny" very well by now. Once again, not one boring song; I stay with it the whole time I listen. For me the top one is a song about a cat who is stealing -"Kh'vel Shoyn Mer Nisht Ganvenen/I'll Never Steal Again . It has that whole honor-amongst-thieves vibe; I dig it so much. It to me would be on
the same page as a gangsta rap song would have. I would really love
to see you sing your music outside of a Jewish festival or club. I think it would really be hip to everyone. I am very proud of these 2 CDs. I look forward to our next meeting.

--Dave Davis
Trombonist, Sun Ra Arkestra
(Personal correspondence)
 


From Adventures in Yiddishland
Postvernacular Language and Culture (University of California Press 2006)

". . . Yiddish repertoires acquire a new value defined by the nature of their anthological projects. Yiddish singer Wolf Krakowski exemplifies this transformation on his recordings Transmigrations: Gilgul (1996) and Goyrl: Destiny (2002). A child of Holocaust survivors born in a Displaced Persons camp in Austria and raised in Sweden and Canada, Krakowski performs a Yiddish repertoire that includes traditional folksongs and the works of acclaimed composers of modern Yiddish song both before and after World War II, such as Mordecai Gerbirtig, Szmerke Kaczerginski, and Sholom Secunda as well as his own compositions. The lyricists in Krakowski's repertoire range from religious writers (Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, Aaron Zeitlin) to secular theatre artists (Bernardo Feuer, Max Perlman). Krakowski articulates and extends the diversity of his repertoire through his musicianship, offering performances accompanied by an international array of instruments -- balalaika, steel guitar, bouzouki, Dobro, saxophone, steel drum, doumbek, maracas -- and in styles inflected by country, rock, blues, tango and reggae, thereby situating Yiddish song within the cultural hybridity of contemporary world music.


--Jeffrey Shandler
 



From pepper-zone.com (April 2005)
(in French)


From WIRE, England (September 2002)
The Wire Adventures in Modern Music
Singing in his mame-loshn, or mother tongue of Yiddish, Wolf Krakowski
presents a set of post-Holocaust songs, mostly of unremitting mournfulness,
as part of Tzadik's Radical Jewish Culture series curated by John Zorn.  A
trawl through the lyrics (albeit taken out of their proper context) might
prove helpful. "Our lives are only empty dreams / Mindlessly rushing by", "Weariness becomes wearier / At the threshold of a house", Over there the Jews live in peace / Over there we're oppressed", "Who knows? Will a time come? And the two of us be separated / And never see each other again?"  A song called "Hundert" is credited to an anonymous concentration camp inmate.

Krakowski's point is clear.  Here are songs of obvious poignancy, written
for the most part by artists whose histories are unknown to a wider culture,
which he feels deserves presentation with full honours.  Their broader
universal appeal on humanitarian grounds may well be obscured by the almost
impossible task of rendering their full impact in any other language but
Yiddish.

Krakowski's voice has been likened to that of Tom Waits or Leonard Cohen,
but isn't as subtle as either of them, and he lacks their penchant  for
irony.  He has a good delivery enhanced by the album's theatrical, almost
cabaret style arrangements.  This is a concept album of sorts.  The title
"Goyrl: Destiny," provides its thread.  It follows an earlier Tzadik
release, "Transmigations: Gilgul."  Backed by his regular group, The
Lonesome Brothers, who comprise Jim Armenti on guitars, mandolin, balalaika and batar, Ray Mason on bass guitar and Tom Shea on drums, Krakowski puts a contemporary gloss on a strongly traditional form.  His style has been described as "Yiddish blues".  Be they traditional or contemporary, however, the blues function to relieve misery by exorcising demons and taking
understanding of the human condition to an altogether different level.  Both
the lyrics and Krakowski's delivery entrench "Goyrl" firmly in that misery.
If he his breaking with tradition here, Krakowski's demeanour is nothing if
not respectful of his heritage and understanding of its modern historical
context.

--John Cratchley


From UK Rainlore site
Mo' Real Yidishe Blues: "Goyrl: Destiny" 
"Superb diction that renders every last word with perfect clarity."

--Richard Sharma 


From New World Radio (May 19, 2003)
"Your music has captivated me and my listeners!  The emotion and feeling you
are able to put into a recording leap off the CD and out of our transmitter
and go directly to one's heart and soul.  Your unique style has greatly
enhanced my daily programs on WNWR-AM 1540 in Philadelphia, and I want you to know you are a very frequent addition to our playlist."

--Barry Reisman
Program Host
New World Radio


From Virtual Klezmer  (June 2003)
Read Review (in German)
--Heiko Lehmann


From RootsWorld (Winter 2003)
Read Full Article
Then there's Wolf Krakowski, a unique, modern-day Yiddish troubadour, who is a one-of-a-kind Jewish stylist for the ages. Possessing the same kind of gravely voice as Leonard Cohen and the wry delivery of Bob Dylan, Krakowski establishes ownership of songs whose lyrics were actually written by several forgotten Yiddish poets and singers of the past, such as Itzik Manger, Sholom Secunda and Moishe Oysher. On his new release, Goyrl:Destiny, he does much more than revive old tunes, though. He invests himself fully in the meaning of each word, singing of lost worlds, vanquished homes and disappeared lovers. It's almost painful to hear how he sings of a shattered childhood in "Tate-Mame," and completely understandable to listen to him enjoy the moment on "Lomir Trakthn Nor Fun Hayht (Let's Just Think About Today). Krakowski lets loose on the catchy "Zingarella," about a love who was a no-goodnik. And plenty of sly humor on "Kh'Vel Shoyn Mer Nisht Ganvenen (I'll Never Steal Again)," as he begs: "Lord of the universe. You're a good guy. Help me to rip off a nice fur coat." In a recent conversation, Krakowski made clear he sings his songs as an act of defiance - to show Jews are still here, the mameloshen or mother tongue is alive, and we're revelling in our ability to live life.
 
--Ed Silverman


From Sing Out! Magazine (Winter 2003)
The follow-up to his previous Yiddish CD, Transmigrations: Gilgul,  Wolf Krakowski's new recording posits him as a kind of Yiddish Willie
Nelson. He sings a mix of Yiddish folk, theater and art songs in roots-rock
arrangementsworthy of The Band, who like Krakowski, originally hailed from Toronto. Born in a displaced person's camp in Austria, son of Polish-Jewish survivors, Krakowski sings Yiddish songs with a deep tenderness, respect and knowledge of what happened to his people - but with a driving, all-American blues-inflected
rhythm. 

Producer Frank London of the Klezmatics gives Goyrl  a more refined,
spare sound than Transmigrations, emphasizing Krakowski's timeless
baritone, the haunting melodies and heartbeat rhythms.  The core musicians in
Krakowski's band -neighbors from the rural Pioneer Valley of Western
Massachusetts that he calls home -can often be found together playing as the Lonesome Brothers in area bars and honky-tonks, experience that is no doubt partly responsible for the authenticity of Krakowski's unique, electric shtetl-rock.

Krakowski's vocals are tinged with pain and compassion borne of witnessing
first-hand the suffering of his survivor relatives.  He sings "Hundert"
("One Hundred"), a counting song by an anonymous concentration camp inmate, accompanied only by  a ghostly tsimbl.  Krakowski breathes new life into the familiar Joan Baez hit, "Dona, Dona," restoring the song's horror at the slaughter of the innocent calf.  Even the seemingly easygoing, breezy, country twang of Benzion Witler's "Lomir Trakhtn Nor Fun Haynt" ("Let's Just Think About Today") sung as a George Joner and Tammy Wynette-style duet by Krakowski and his wife, Yiddish singer Fraidy Katz, is belied by lyrics that ask, "Who knows? Will a time come, and the two of us will be separated, and never see each other again?"


From the Forward  (November, 2002)
Reprinted The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles (December, 2002)
Electric Shtetl-Rock! Fulfilling Yiddish Music's Destiny
'What Jewish Music Would Have Sounded Like Had the Holocaust Never Happened'

Much to the chagrin of cultural nationalists in places such as France, no culture seems immune to the seductive rhythms of American pop and rock. Fed by a steady diet of American TV and movies, young musicians from places as disparate as Zimbabwe, Paraguay, New Zealand, Burma and Egypt have learned to combine their indigenous folk musics with American-born and -bred rock — making for a kind of trans-global, world-beat music with a heavy blues and r & b influence.......

It has taken a while, but Yiddish music has finally caught up with the rest of the world in swinging to the rock and roll beat......

The follow-up to "Transmigrations: Gilgul," Krakowski's new recording posits him as a kind of Yiddish Willie Nelson, singing a mix of Yiddish folk, theater and art songs in roots-rock arrangements worthy of the Byrds and the Band — the latter, like Krakowski, a group of players originally hailing for the most part from the all-American, Midwest Canadian city of Toronto.
Read full article
--Sonia Pilcer and Seth Rogovoy


From Folker!  Magazine, (Germany, in German)


From: New Jersey Jewish News -- Metro West (October 3, 2002)
New crop of individualistic artists take Jewish music in unusual directions

. . . Wolf Krakowski has established himself as a modern-day Yiddish troubadour.  With the gravelly voice of a Leonard Cohen and the biting delivery of a Bob Dylan, Krakowski literally breathes new life into the poetry of such forgotten Yiddish poets and stylists as Itzik Manger,  Sholom Secunda, and Moishe Oysher.

On "Goyrl:  Destiny," rather than simply reviving old tunes, Krakowski lovingly coaxes the messages formed by the lyrics.  He sings of lost worlds, long-ago loves, and vanquished homes.  There¹s a yearning, a pain in every song, from “Tate-Mame,” about  a shattered childhood, to enjoying the moment on “Lomir Trakhtn Nor Fun Haynt,” (“Let’s Just Think About Today”).

There's some heartache here, such as in the catchy “Zingarella,” about a love who was no good.  But there's humor, too.  Take the smart-alecky “Kh’Vel Shoyn Mer Nisht Ganvenen, “(“I’ll Never Steal Again”), in which Krakowski spits out a wonderfully memorable line:  “Lord of the Universe.  You’re a good guy.  Help me to rip off a fine fur coat.”

Overall, though, the very act of singing such songs is an act of defiance for Krakowski -- to prove we’re still here and the mameloshn is still alive. . .
-- Ed Silverman


From Forverts-The Yiddish Forward (July 2002)
Jewish Rock-and-Roll: The Music of Wolf Krakowski

Rock-and-roll music has found its way into every other kind of music, and most recently it can be found as part of Jewish and even Hasidic music, too. Until now rock-and-roll hasn't had a great influence on Yiddish song, however, with the exception of Wolf Krakowski, who this week released his second compact disc, "Goyrl:  Destiny."

The singer invited world-renowned musicians to record this disc with him -- like the saxophonist Charles Neville from the "Neville Brothers" and Jim Armenti on the guitar, and instruments that up until now have been unknown in Yiddish music can be heard as well, like the pedal-steel guitar and steel drums, which give Yiddish song a new sound.

Wolf Krakowski was born in a refugee camp in Austria and grew up in Toronto. Today he lives in Massachusetts with his wife, the singer Fraidy Katz.  In Toronto he heard his mother sing Yiddish folk songs as well as the blues and rock-and-roll played by black American musicians living in Canada.  That was the beginning of his musical education.  Krakowski doesn't play American-style blues, but he plays Yiddish blues with a similarly sad mood.

He chose some of the songs in his repertoire on account of their mood of longing for the vanished Yiddish life of Europe, and he also sings two songs about towns in Poland: Mordekhai Gebirtig's song, "Farewell, Krakow," with music by Manfred Lemm, and the song, "Warsaw," from the singer, Benzion Witler.  In Wolf Krakowski's first recording, "Transmigrations:  Gilgul" and now in, "Goyrl:  Destiny," he clearly favors the songs of Benzion Witler. What attracts him to Witler's singing?  "He was a person who understood things in a musical way, he sang his own songs, and he was not a caricature of a Yiddish folk- or pop-singer.  His songs reflect the popular musical styles of his generation, and themes of his songs are often personal and realistic, rather than contrived," he told us.

In this new recording, Krakowski often demonstrates an unconventional perspective on Yiddish song.  For example, the thieves' song, "I Won't Steal Any More," is usually sung as a cheerful song with a quick tempo, but in Krakowski's version, it's a serious song, full of empathy.  He explained his approach: for him the song is not comic.  The singer, the thief, is experiencing a moral crisis and wants to stop stealing, but it's the only way of life he knows, and he has to continue with it.

In certain songs a synthesis of Yiddish song with American country music, which comes from the states of the American South, can be heard.  The instruments being played, like the dobro and various steel guitars, are uniquely American.  One song, "Let's Just Think About Today," written by Benzion Witler, is sung in the style of a classic, "country," duo, and is so effectively arranged that it becomes difficult to think of it as anything but as an original country song.

Wolf Krakowski not only sings his songs in a distinctive, unpolished manner, but he also chooses songs that are seldom sung and may be new to many listeners.  The songs fit his attitude and his personality as a troubador, a rebel, and a rock-and-roll singer.

-- Dr. Itzik Gottesman,  translated by Jon Levitow


From Canadian Jewish News (Toronto, Canada, July 25, 2002)
Krakowski's Destiny evident on new CD

In Yiddish, Goyrl means destiny, and it was destiny that I, a lover of folkdancing and world music, should discover a treasure trove of Yiddish cultural history while surfing the Web.

It was destiny that led me to the cybershtetl known as the Jewish-Music Mailing List.  It was also destiny that through this list I met Wolf Krakowski, a musician who grew up in Toronto and whose psyche is firmly rooted in Yiddish song, yet who is equally at home in the world of modern pop, blues and jazz.

The songs on Krakowski's new CD, Goyrl: Destiny, like those on his previous Transmigrations, are in Yiddish with translations provided in the liner notes.  The CD begins with a smoky, sensual, rough-hewn tune called Tate-mame, a lament of a child, the black sheep of the family, whose behaviour shattered his parents' simple, happy lives.

This is followed by a languorous version of the Zeitlin/Secunda tune, Dona Dona.

Ever wonder what a combination of Nyabingi/Grounation drumming with overtones of Celtic/Appalachian "high lonesome" bottleneck blues guitar would sound like in Yiddish?  Kh'vel Shoyn Mer Nisht Ganvenen (I'll Never Steal Again), a song of the Jewish underworld, is a captivating example of just such a song, which conjures up images of chain gangs and African boot dancing.

The CD continues with an eclectic mix of musical influences--everything from a country tune with steel drum accompaniment (Mit Farmakhte Oygn--With Eyes Closed) to a strident, powerful rendition of the Chanukah song Drey Dreydl (Spin Dreydl).

One is struck by the solitary counting song Hundert (One Hundred), attributed to an anonymous inmate of the Mielec concentration camp.  According to Wolf, it was sung for the amusement of the German Camp guards, perhaps earning the singer an extra ration of sustenance.

A spare and haunting arrangement of the song Tife Griber, Royter Laym (Deep Pits, Red Clay) conveys a tragic, mournful mood.

In contrast, we are treated to a sexy, gutsy rendition of Zingarella. I've heard this song played insipidly many times, but Wolf's version quickly had me dancing the miserlou with a few extra bumps and grinds.

The high calibre musicianship of Wolf's musical projects is evident in Goyrl: Destiny.  As in Transmigrations, Wolf is joined by acclaimed vocalist Fraidy Katz and the Lonesome Brothers, an ensemble specializing in American roots-rock.  Ensemble members Jim Armenti and Ray Mason have played and performed this kind of music for more than 30 years.

A host of other wonderful instrumentalists and vocalists accompany Wolf's earthy, heartfelt singing.  They include Charles Neville of the Neville Brothers on saxophone; Brian Mitchell (who played with Bob Dylan on the Grammy-winning Timeless: Hank Williams Tribute) on accordion and organ; Doug Beaumier, master of the pedal steel guitar; percussionist Daniel Lombardo; Corner Mentos, a former soccer player now on steel drum; and multi-instrumentalist/folk musicians Seth Austen and Beverly Woods.  Frank London works his musical magic both on trumpet and as producer.

Joining Fraidy Katz on backup vocals are Jaye Simms and Pamela Smilth Selavka, whose "extemporaneous singing" Wolf describes as "angelic."

The mix of songs in Goyrl: Destiny affected me strongly, alternatively provoking laughter, tears and dancing.  Some songs speak directly to the tragedy of the Jewish experience.  Yet some also contain a message of optimism, as in the following lyric:  "Hope./ you won't be denied/ and blooming roses/ be strewn on your way."

Goyrl:  Destiny was released by Tzadik Records and is distributed by Koch International.

--Helen Winkler


From Berkshire Eagle (Pittsfield, Mass, July 2002)
The follow-up to his groundbreaking "Transmigrations: Gilgul" -- which first
introduced the concept of electric shtetl-rock by setting Yiddish folk,
theatre and art songs in roots-rock settings ­ by Northampton-based
singer-songwriter Wolf Krakowski builds on that previous effort and takes it
one step beyond, emphasizing Krakowski's hard-bitten vocals, the sinuous,
melodic grooves, and the poetic drama of the Yiddish poetry. As proof,
Krakowski -- with producer Frank London and ace backup group the Lonesome Brothers -- revitalize that overdone warhorse, "Dona, Dona," reimagining it as it might have performed by The Band, inflected by mandolin and accordion, and finding the song's long-forgotten grandeur and dignity along the way.  The album is full of moments and discoveries like this one.  
In any language, one of the year's best.

-- Seth Rogovoy



From All Music Guide, Barnes and Noble (July, 2002)
After Wolf Krakowski's last outing, the stunning Transmigrations: Gilgul, he and his band, the Lonesome Brothers, took country music to the extreme margins of integration, where it met blues and traditional Yiddish music in a swirl of loss, longing, and celebrations of holiday foods. This time out, Krakowski branches out even further to mine the deep vein of musical cultures from all over the world -- reggae, tango -- without losing his beautifully mystifying meld of traditional Yiddish folk melodies or American country and folk-blues. Had he written his own material this way, we could have called him an original, but Krakowski's upside-down cake of musical mementos is actually the accompanying soundtrack for a bunch of radically rearranged Yiddish songs from the theater, pop, and folk musics. Composers from the last century, such as Abraham Levin, Itzak Manger, Shmuel Halkin, and others, are represented here in clashing forms where pedal-steel guitars meet steel drums from Trinidad on "Mit Farmakhte Oygin" (With Eyes Closed), or Kurt Weill's German cabaret meets the Italian tarantella and a crunchy electric guitar on "Dona Dona." In fact, the depths are so profound and rich here they defy categorization, other than "great Jewish music." This is the accumulated music of the diaspora of a people who have settled in almost every corner of the earth and who cling to their identity despite many attempts to wipe it -- and them -- out. Krakowski's recording, which was produced by Frank London of the Klezmatics, is, consciously or not, a signpost for the way to the future. He uses the past as a way of being inclusive rather than as a tool for revision. This is gorgeous music any way you slice it, moving, deep, sensual, and full of a warm humor to boot.

--Thom Jurek


Review posted to Jewish Music List (August, 2002)
I have been attracted to Yiddish music since hearing lullabies from my
mother (o. v. shalom).  The Klezmer revival of the 70's spoke directly to me
and I purchased every piece of Yiddish music I could lay my hands on, from
Mickey Katz and Andy Statman to Klezmer Conservatory Band and Kappelye and more.  When I bought Seth Rogovoy's "The Essential Klezmer" about 2 yearsago I looked in the glossary and realized that I already owned 14 of the 20
titles he described as "The Essential Klezmer Library" and "Ten more for
good luck".

I first encountered Wolf Krakowski in this excellent book.  Rogovoy
described the music on Krakowski's first album, "Gilgul / Transmigrations"
as "electric shtetl-rock, which as a Yiddish speaking 2G I found off
putting, but he went on conclude his piece by quoting the musician who said,
"I sing through them and those that were silenced sing through me."  Having
been named for 2 grandfathers murdered in the Shoah and having felt the
weight of "speaking through them and having them speak through me" my whole
life, that statement touched a nerve.  That raw nerve was best described to
me several months ago when I read a piece in the Chronicle of Higher
Education entitled "In the Beginning Was Auschwitz" by Melvin Jules Bukiet.
He made the point in discussing the survivors that their lives went on after
the Shoah.  He states, "In a way, life has been even stranger -- though
infinitely less perilous -- for the children than the parents. If a chasm
opened in the lives of the First Generation, they could nonetheless sigh on
the far side and recall the life Before, but for the Second Generation there
is no Before. In the beginning was Auschwitz."  This nameless sense of
absence, this yearning for a "Before" had always coloured my life actions
and responses and that was the nerve that this article touched.

Within a few weeks, I had the album.  I was impressed by the treatment that
this obviously native Yiddish speaker put into both the theater songs and
the folk songs, many of which I knew.  The thing that really got to me was
the depth of understanding, pain and anger that he was able to put into the
music and poetry of the victims and survivors like Kaczerginski, Brudno,
Witler, Gebirtig and Perlman.  These were poets and songwriters steeped in
Yiddish whose culture had been burned to the ground around them and who had found no voice to do them justice until this CD.  The culture that they
represented was "Before" and this CD was not only excellent music, it was an
honest representation of that culture, as touched by its loss.

In the intervening years, I have met and come to know Wolf and see in him
much of my own sadness, anger and "2 G'ness" (whatever that is, I think that
we recognize it in each other when we see it) and it became very clear that
the emotion and depth that he brings to the music is authentic.

I have owned the new Wolf Krakowski CD, "Goyrl : Destiny"  for about 3 weeks
and have listened to it often.  I will make no attempt to address the album
musically other than to say that the quality of musicianship and vocals is
excellent and that I liked the music a lot and found the treatments of the
songs both wonderful and entirely appropriate (but then my mother (o. v.
shalom) used to sing Yiddish folk tunes to a tango beat as well, so it was
not unnatural to hear some of the stylings).  What touched me, and in a way
compelled me to write was, in fact, the rightness and naturalness of the CD.
Krakowski is not only a musician deeply rooted in Yiddish, he understands
the culture we lost in a way that few if any of the other modern Yiddish
singers do.  He sings the folk tunes and theater tunes with an understanding
of "Before" that seems totally natural.  It is important to say at this
point that this is not a dry recycling of prewar material or stylings, but a
complete integration of his Yiddish roots with his North American
upbringing.  His treatment of Doyna is the first that I have heard that
recognizes that this isn't a little ditty about freedom, but the death trip
of a calf on its way to the slaughterhouse.  When he sings the poem "Tife
Griber, Royter Laym (Deep Pits, Red Clay) by Shmuel Halkin he truly evokes
the loss of the survivor in ways that I have rarely heard in any art form
"Dorten ligen mineh brider,....(There lie my brothers, torn limb from limb
stabbed in their homes and shot at the pits), and he also manages to evoke
Halkin's deep albeit sad optimism with "kimmen veln gitteh tsaiten...." (And
better times will come, pains will get easier to bear and children will grow
again.  Children who will play loudly near the graves of the martyrs.  Near
the deep full pits so that the pain will not overflow."  His treatment of
the other songs from the Shoah is deep, honest and respectful and reflects
the pain, the suffering and the ongoing belief in survival.

This is a CD that every lover of Yiddish music should have, but from my
perspective, it is a CD that every second-generation person should listen to
and play for their children, because this is a rare authentic representation
of "Before".  To paraphrase Rogovoy: It isn't too much of a stretch of the
imagination to think that had Eastern European Yiddish civilization
survived, it may have on it's own produced music remarkably like that found
on Wolf Krakowski's CD's.


--Dr. Mordechai Kamel


From Hadassah Magazine (November 2002)
Goyrl (Destiny)

Rocker Wolf Krakowski winds his craggy vocals over a melange of melodies,  with support from Frank London and the Lonesome Brothers band.  From the bluesy retelling of "Dona, Dona" to "Hundert" to "Tsum Sof Vest Du Zayn Mayn" with its original lyrics, the singer creates a beautiful lexicon of Yiddish-based music.  

--Matthew S. Robinson

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