Batya Fonda - "Jewish Folksongs"


"Jewish Folksongs" is a series of lectures given in either English or Hebrew about the ways folk songs reflect different themes of Jewish heritage. The songs mainly cover Yiddish and Ladino-speaking cultures, and I also look at a few piyutim, hasidic and Israeli folksongs. In the lectures I speak about the songs, play recordings, sing them with guitar accompaniment and invite the audience to sing along with me.

I'm a singer of Jewish folk songs and former teacher educator, and have lectured on Jewish Folksong at academic and cultural organizations in Israel and Australia (see Recommendations and listen to sample clips). Besides giving the lectures described on this site, I participate in "Kehilot Sharot" [Singing Communities], and I sang for many years with the Nechama Lifshitz Workshop for Yiddish Song in Tel Aviv (see article and video). I also give lessons on "Psalms and Music" for the Masorti congregation in Netanya.

I find Jewish folk songs fascinating - they've opened up for me an engrossing world of customs and folklore, history and texts. I've learnt more about my own traditions, I've become aware of the impact that the surrounding world has had on Jewish culture, and heard how different languages and musical elements have been incorporated into the songs. One door leads into another, and I've been able to catch a glimpse of Jewish folk living in the different parts of the Diaspora and singing about the many different aspects of their lives. I've been learning for many years now, and take pleasure in sharing my enjoyment and knowledge with other people. 

Here are a couple of sample recordings: Dos lid fun der goldener pave; Di zun vet aruntergeyn.

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