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Shabbos Frivolity: The Witches of Lublin

Do any of y’all know about The Witches of Lublin? It’s an audio drama by Ellen Kushner, Elizabeth Schwartz and Yale Strom, with Tovah Fledshuh and Simon Jones leading an impressive cast. Mr. Strom is the eponymous leader of Hot Pstromi; Ms. Schwartz is the vocalist with that group and others. I assume that many Gentle Readers are familiar with Ms. Kushner, either from her radio work or her specfic writing, and this of course is both. I came across the companion album, which is perfectly good, although it didn’t totally knock me out. The show itself, though, looks fantastic.

I guess it was broadcast last April, at least on some NPR stations, but either the local station didn’t pick it up or I didn’t hear about it. They are selling a CD (entertainment on a physical medium! Like wild animals in the wilderness!), but I am reluctant to shell out for something that only seems like it might be good. I’m incredibly cheap about entertainment, in case Gentle Readers hadn’t figured it out, mostly because there is so much free stuff that if I pay for something and only watch/listen/read it once, I feel like a sucker. So if some GR out there happened to hear this thing, and could let me know, that would be great.

…and because I like to imbed something funky for y’all, here’s Daniel Kahn and The Painted Bird with their version of the Arbeitslose Marsch, which he calls the March of the Jobless Corps.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


Dear Vardibidian - thanks for mentioning "The Witches of Lublin" - I invite you to visit our website, www.thewitchesoflublin.com -- where you and any readers you have can listen to a 10-minute sample of the audio drama for free and judge whether it's merely "good", as you imagine, or better than that. Our story, set in 18th Century Poland, is based on true history of rare instances of women klezmers performing in public. The music is performed by Yale Strom (composer), Peter Stan (accordion), Sprocket (bass) and Alexander Fedouriok (tsimbl). But our companion CD, "The Devil's Brides" will not be released on the ARC UK label until October 25, 2011, so... did you mean something else? At any rate, you are right - the audio drama is indeed fantastic. I invite you and your readers to learn more about it! Wishing you a happy and healthy 5772.

Ms. Schwartz—Thank you for your note! And for the excerpt, which I enjoyed very much. As for the Devil's Brides, tempting as it might be to allude to some mysterious and terribly hip access to pre-release music, in fact I listened via the Naxos Music Library which includes ARC in its vastnesses. The album is also available for purchase at Classics Online and I think has been since shortly before this note went up. Are they jumping the gun on the physical discs? Naughty record label!

By the way, in mentioning the instrumentalists, you forgot to mention the vocalist on Devil's Brides, a certain smoky voiced marvel named Elizabeth Schwartz. Thank you for your singing, as well as for dropping by this Tohu Bohu; I hope you come back and join us often.


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