Typically, press about Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell goes something like, “Yiddish never looked likes this!” What can I say? It’s true. And aside from the music of Sidar Belarsky and Paul Robeson- it doesn’t usually sound like this either. A Jew-by-choice, (aka a convert), Russell is an ex-opera singer who fell hard for Yiddish and for his fiance, Rabbi Michael Rothbaum. (Mother: “So? Is he Jewish?” Child: “Ma, He’s a rabbi for Christ’s sake!” Please note: This quote is fabricated and not attributable to Russell).
“Spirituals from the Shtetl. Davening from the Delta” is the tagline for Russell’s current project Convergence which finds the meeting point between traditional Jewish and African American spiritual music. Russell is hip, he’s got this incredibly deep and rich voice, he’ll be at Klez Kanada in Quebec this August, and you can here him here on Shtetl on the Shortwave telling us more about his unique story. (p.s. This was a great episode. On the First half we hear from System Ali- a mutli-lingual hip hop band from Jaffa in Tel Aviv. Russell’s interview is in the 2nd half of the show. Enjoy!)
Music on this episode by Gypsophilia, System Ali, Anthony Russell, Vera Hall, The Temptations, and the Shtetl theme song composed by Krista Muir.
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