Slepovitch and Lurje: Songs from Testimonies

Slepovitch and Lurje: Songs from Testimonies

שמועס מיט קלעזמער סופּערשטערן זיסל סלעפּאָוויטש און סאַשאַ לוריע וועגן דעם פּראָיעקט צו שאַפֿן לידער פֿון גבֿית-עדותן

Show notes

  • Tonight's show is an interview with Sasha Lurje and Zisl Slepovitch, who discuss the Songs From Testimonies project, which collects and records songs and poems discovered in the testimonies of the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University. The songs are sung in a variety of languages, including Yiddish, Polish, and French, from both the prewar period as well as from the ghettos and camps during the war. All were found among individual testimonies recorded by survivors for the Fortunoff Archive. The Archive's musician-in-residence, Zisl Slepovitch, took the songs, conducted research about their origins, and then arranged and recorded versions with his ensemble, featuring singer Sasha Lurje. The project has resulted in two albums, Where Is Our Homeland? Songs From Testimonies in the Fortunoff Video Archive, Vol. 1, released in 2019, and שרײַ, הערצעלע, שרײַ! Cry, My Heart, Cry!, Songs from Testimonies, Volume 2, which was just released in 2021 for streaming and download and is soon to be available on CD and vinyl.

  • This past week, on Jan 27, Slepovitch and Lurje streamed live to debut and introduce the most recently recorded songs, along with video recordings of the musicians performing, COVID-style in video boxes. The live-stream replay is available now on Facebook:

  • For additional information and to hear the music from the Songs From Testimonies project, visit:

  • Zisl Slepovitch, producer and artistic director of the recordings, arranged all the tracks and also contributed as composer, lyrics translator, additional vocalist, and musical instrumentalist on most of the tracks. A native of Minsk, Belarus, he is a musicologist (Ph.D., Belarusian State Academy of Music); a multi-instrumental klezmer, classical, and improvisational musician; a composer and poet; and a music and Yiddish educator. He is a founding member of the critically acclaimed bands Litvakus, Minsker Kapelye, and Zisl Slepovitch Trio. Additional info at his web site:

  • Sasha Lurje, the main vocalist of the recordings, is an internationally renowned Yiddish singer, born in Riga, Latvia, and now based in Berlin, Germany. She is the featured singer of several Yiddish music bands and projects, including Forshpil, Litvakus, STRANGELOVESONGS with Daniel Kahn, Semer Ensemble, and You Shouldn’t Know from It. Additional info at her web site:

  • Music:

    • Zisl Slepovitch Ensemble featuring Sasha Lurje: In Dinaverke
    • Lily M. (Fortunoff interviewee/survivor): In Dinaverke
    • Liubov K. (Fortunoff interviewee/survivor): In Dem Kleinem Dorf Von Smiltschenz
    • Zisl Slepovitch Ensemble feat. Sasha Lurje: In Dem Kleinem Dorf Von Smiltschenz
    • Zisl Slepovitch Ensemble feat. Sasha Lurje: Walc François
    • Zisl Slepovitch Ensemble feat. Sasha Lurje: W Pociągu Jest Tłok
    • Peretz H. (Fortunoff interviewee/survivor): W Pociągu Jest Tłok
    • Zisl Slepovitch Ensemble feat. Sasha Lurje: Shtubuneltsto
    • Intro instrumental music: DEM HELFANDS TANTS, an instrumental track from the CD Jeff Warschauer: The Singing Waltz

Air Date: February 3, 2021



Zisl Slepovitch

Zisl Slepovitch

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Sasha Lurje

Sasha Lurje

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