Vocalist to Explore Common Ground Between Yiddish Song and Black Spirituals

Anthony Russell

Anthony Russell

(HOUSATONIC, Mass.) – Vocalist Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell will perform “Convergence: Spirituals from the Shtetl, Davvening from the Delta,” a recital blending Yiddish art songs and African American spirituals, at the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House on Saturday, August 8, 2015, at 8pm.

As a Jew-by-choice, Russell, a former professional opera singer, discovered the soul-deep connections between 19th-century black music, Yiddish art songs and cantorial music. Graced with a stunning bass voice reminiscent of Paul Robeson, Russell explores these connections in his unique show.

Russell is a vocalist specializing in the music of Sidor Belarsky (1898-1975), one of the 20th century’s most prolific performers of chazzanut, Chassidic nigunim and Yiddish song. In his unique explorations of Jewish and African-American diaspora culture, Russell’s performances are inspired simultaneously by the sounds of tradition and a continuity of historic hopes for a redemptive future.

Over the past three years, Russell’s work in Jewish music has brought him to the stages of the JCC in Manhattan and San Francisco, Symphony Space, the Ideacity Conference in Toronto, KlezKanada, the Montreal and Berkeley Jewish Music Festivals and the Ashkenaz Festival, a week-long celebration of the Jewish arts in Toronto.

Russell lives in Oakland, Calif., with his partner of seven years, Rabbi Michael Rothbaum.

General admission tickets are $30. Tickets on sale through Rimon Resource Center for Jewish Spirituality or by calling 413-274-1034. The Unitarian Universalist Meeting House is at 1089 Main St. in Housatonic. Proceeds of the concert will benefit the Rimon Resource Center for Jewish Spirituality.


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