A new direction for Yiddish music. Sing out! The Folksong magazine 

A remarkable group that is at the forefront of Jewish a capella singing.

Frank London

Vocal Quartet Ashkenazim, Kazan, Tatarstan (Russia) 2002

Polina Achkinazi (Shepherd)  (solo: 16,17), piano

Yana Ovrutskaya   (solo: 4,9,11,17)

Alina Ivakh   (solo: 2,13)

Vassily Gafner   (solo: 6,8,11)


Sometimes the Universe speaks Yiddish. National culture as a reflection of the depth and all common to all mankind, mystical and metaphorical.

Jewish features are always present in the creative work of the Ashkenazim as much as the Universal Truth is part of everyone of us: it bursts forth as a musical image from composer P. Achkinazi–Shepherd, it breathes with improvisations and laughter of musicians and cries with the tears of the audience.

At the Other Side of the Song we meet real people: we hear childhood (Dem Vinteles Shpileklekh, 2), much cheerful and inextinguishable imagination of dreams (Fun vos zaynen Khaloymes gemakht, 7), much longing for one’s beloved (Di ershte Vund in Harts, 4; In der Fremd, 6) These characters are excellently executed by languid Yana Ovrutskaya and picturesque V. Gafner, – a tearing apart of poverty and despair (Der Gasn Poyker, 13) executed by a singer with a great actor’s gift A. Ivakh. And beneath the veil of the mirror one can imagine a drunken party (Der shiker Nign, 14) and many silent shadows – niggunim. Feel as you like, in fact it is all unreal, memories, a world behind the mirror.

Characters from The Jewish Street (2001) were mirrored in the new melodies of a Creator, his severe reflection of the Universal mission (Vos bin ikh on mayn Folk, 16). It’s quite at one with the world outlook of the composer of the music of this program, Polina Achkinazi. My life has been upside–down for a long time (“Dem Shokhns Meydele”, 15). Vice versa. From right to left. In Yiddish.

The CD is no longer available on sale, watch some videos from the quartet’s performance of Fun yener Zayt Lid in Philadelphia (USA), 2003.

Fun yener Zayt Lid – At the other Side of the Song (Yiddish)

Royter Vayn – Red Vine (Yiddish)

Shpitzn Berg – Mountain Tops (Yiddish)

Nit ikh veyn un nit ikh Lakh – I don’t cry and I don’t laugh (Yiddish)

A Libe Geshikhte – Love Sendings (Yiddish)


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