Last fall, cantor and musician Meir Goldberg released a music video of the classic English/Yiddish song, My Yiddishe Mama.
But unlike the many covers of this 1920's hit by Yossele Rosenblatt, Sophie Tucker, the Barry Sisters, Leo Fuld, Itzhak Perlman, Tom Jones, Neil Sedaka, Yitzhak Meir Helfgot, and uncounted others, Goldberg's video fuses his traditional interpretation with that of a group of Jewish rappers called Brooklyn Mentality.
The combination produces a different, upbeat sound that just might resonate with the younger generation without losing listeners who grew up with the traditional rendition.
As Rukhl Schaechter wrote in The Jewish Daily Forward,
Before Goldberg and his producer, Daniel Finkelman, made the video, they were aware that combining a sentimental Yiddish song with the raw and sharp beat of hip-hop would not go over well with many viewers.
“On the flip side, we also knew that if we went with the old lyrics of ‘Mein Yiddishe Mama’, we would potentially lose the younger generation,” Finkelman said in an interview with the Forverts. As it turned out, it was a risk worth taking. Since the video came out, it was shared multiple times on Facebook to a mostly young audience.
The music video is also remarkable for another reason: both Goldberg and Finkelman grew up in Israel in the 1980’s. Contrary to the stereotype of Israeli society’s negative stance towards Yiddish, they both have fond memories of the Yiddish songs they heard at home. Finkelman’s parents were immigrants from Ukraine, and his grandmother often spoke Yiddish. “Our favorite radio program was ‘Rozhinkes mit Mandlen’, where they constantly played Dudu Fisher and the Barry Sisters,” he said.Enjoy!
Goldberg’s father was a cantor in the IDF, and his family also listened to Dudu Fisher, as well as Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra, at home in Tel Aviv. “My parents didn’t really want us to listen to the goyishe (secular) love songs, so they played the Yiddish songs before we went to bed,” Goldberger said.
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