140 voices of the Izba, the Shtibl and the Global Village

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When the world needs beauty and unity, when we all need love and kindness, we sing together and we fill our lives and the world with music. We bring cultures together, we bring countries together, we cherish beautiful songs from the past, create our own songs of the present and move ourselves into the future.
We are five choirs in London and Brighton, UK and Boston, USA brought together by two international cultural activists: a Siberian-born singer, composer and choir leader Polina Shepherd (Brighton) and the lead singer of the Grammy winning Klezmatics Lorin Sklamberg (New York).
Together we explore the connection between the Steppes and the Shtetl through folk and art songs, arranged specifically for this project, and newly composed originals.

Brighton session

In 2019, The British Library issued a grant to preserve music being made in the UK but originally comes from elsewhere. In August 2019, a Brighton based organisation BestFoot Music made a recording of four Brighton and London choirs led by Polina, Yiddish and Russian, joined by Lorin & Polina singing as a duo. This session and will be included in the British Library archive. Rough edits of these 8 songs can be heard here.

Boston session

A Besere Velt Yiddish Chorus in Boston is directed by Derek David. This intergenerational community “weaves the heartache and irrepressible idealism of Yiddish folk music into a vision of justice and humanity for the 21st century” (a quote from their web page). Both Lorin and Polina had worked with the chorus in the past. The idea to record together was met by the Chorus and Derek with great enthusiasm. In December 2019, 80 members of the chorus sat shoulder to shoulder in a small studio outside Boston singing with the duo for the first time… for 6 hours! As a result, we have three traditional Yiddish songs and a Yiddish version of Holly Near’s I am willing as part of the project.

New York session

To make this into a full CD, Lorin and Polina recorded a few songs as a duo in New York, their usual folk, art and original songs from the two cultures.

LIST OF SONGS – coming soon


Listen to rough edits of the UK session