Sunday, May 30, 2010

Celebrating Classic Jewish Music Then, Now, and Forever: Chiribim

Music has always been an important part of Jewish life, and it has thrived in the shetel in Europe, on the Lower East Side of New York, the Yiddish theater, on Broadway, in concert halls worldwide, and in schools, Jewish and non-Jewish, everywhere.

Some of the classic melodies, once thought to be headed for extinctiion, have experienced a revival.  One of the most popular, Chiribim Chiribom, has been showing up in performances around the world in recent days.  The song was first recorded by Moishe Oysher in 1931 and became popular in the late 1950s when the Barry Sisters recorded a lively, schmaltzy version.

The videos below show the wide range of interpretation of this classic melody.
First, the Guilboa dance troup performing in Cartagena, Spain, earlier this month.
Next, a performance by Efim Aleksandrov in Moscow.  As Kim Murphy wrote in the Los Angeles Times,
The distance Russia has traveled since the Communist years, with their official bans on public worship and discrimination in jobs and education — the latter hardship facilitated by the hated designation of Jews' ethnicity on Soviet internal passports — was apparent last month, when Jewish pop artist Efim Alexandrov-Zitzerman sang a concert of Yiddish songs to a sold-out hall in the prestigious Rossiya Hotel, in the shadow of the Kremlin.

"We are the link whose mission is to reconnect the broken tradition. The songs of our grandmothers and grandfathers must be heard by our children, and then by the children of our children," Alexandrov-Zitzerman told a hall of emotional concertgoers.

We could include many more performances, but we'll end this post with Barbarella Halliwell and Editta Chal Bacio reinterpeting the Barry Sisters' act.  Enjoy!


  1. nostalgic, wonderful, thank you, tw

  2. It's great to see the Barry Sisters are still remembered. They were so good then and I will always remember the joy their entertainment brought to my parents and me, sooo many years ago. G-d bless them, where ever they are. pt

  3. According to Wikipedia, Myrna Barry (Minnie Bagelman) died in 1976, and her sister Claire (Clara Bagelman) is still singing and performing. I'm working on a post about them and their hit songs. Watch for it in the next few weeks.