Halevai- yiddish song
"Moishe Oysher (1907, Lipkany, Bessarabia, Imperial Russia — 27 November 1958, New Rochelle, New York, USA). He is considered one of the most entertaining chazanim (cantors) ever recorded. It is said that there were chazanim in his family going back six generations.
In 1921, he traveled to Canada with his family and joined a traveling Yiddish theatrical company. In 1932. he started his own company and traveled to South America. After returning from South America to the U.S., he took a job as a chazan for the High Holidays at a Romanian synagogue in New York.
Some say that Oysher's voice was like the "roaring of the lion." He liked the jazz style, popular at that time, and he used similar rhythmic melodies in his prayers, respecting always the traditional Bessarabian "Doinas" and "Nussach" moods of the prayers.
He starred in three Yiddish films and also made many recordings.
The Cantor's Son (Dem Khazn's Zindl) 1937, USA, B&W, 90 min, Yiddish with English subtitles. ISBN 1-56082-079-9
Directed by Ilya Motyleff and Sidney Goldin. Other actors: Judith Abarbanel and Florence Weiss. Based on Moishe Oysher's life. A very poor young immigrant lands a job as a custodian, where he is "discovered" and becames famous immediately. However, his success seems meaningless as he yearns for home.
The Singing Blacksmith (Yankl der Shmid; the Yiddish title literally means "Yankel the Smith") 1938, USA, B&W, 95 min, Yiddish with English subtitles. ISBN 1-56082-085-3
Directed by Edga G. Ulmer. Also with Miriam Riselle and Florence Weiss. This is a classic story of a blacksmith that is a womanizer and almost an alcoholic. One day, he meets a beautiful lady called Tamare and his life changes.
Overture to Glory (Der Vilner Shtot Khazn; the Yiddish title literally means "The Vilna City Cantor") 1940, USA, B&W, 85 min, Yiddish with English subtitles. ISBN 1-56082-063-2
Directed by Max Nosseck. Starring Helen Beverly and Florence Weiss. Oysher is the "Vilner Balabesl", a cantor in Vilna, with a renowned voice. Two men come from the Warsaw Opera to hear him sing the "Kol Nidre" on Yom Kippur and are so impressed that they introduce him to European classical music and to reading sheet music; they convince him, against the wishes of much of his family (and especially his father-in-law) to become an opera singer in Warsaw.
He leaves his job as the Vilna cantor, and seems at first to be on the path to fame and fortune as an opera star in Warsaw, when the news arrives that his son has died. Grief-stricken, he stumbles over the aria he is supposed to sing, starting instead into a lullaby he used to sing to his son. In disgrace, he also loses his voice; he tries to return to his life in Vilna; finally, his voice comes briefly back to him on Yom Kippur. He sings the first few lines of the "Kol Nidre", then dies of a heart attack."
Note: This video includes photos of the
following New York synagogues: Temple
Emanu El, Beth El Synagogue, and the
Roumanian Congregation Synagogue. The
Beth El Synagogue located on Fith Avenue
and 76th Street was demolished in 1947. It
was one of the most beautiful synagogues.
Moishe Oysher (1907--1958) was a singularly charismatic Yiddish singer and cantor.
Freydele Oysher (1913--2004) was an actress in the Yiddish theater. (Moishe Oysher's sister and mother of entertainer Marilyn
Some notes on a Chanukah song by Moishe Oysher:
"1. Drey Dreydele
Moyshe Oysher (1907-1958) was a singularly charismatic Yiddish singer. Born in the Bessarabian village of Lipcany, and descended from seven generations of cantors, Oysher made his singing debut at the age of six. After emigrating to New York, Oysher's vocal talents - a combination of rich cantorial melismatic and Moldavian village scat - brought him simultaneous success on the bineh (the Yiddish stage) as well as the bimah (the cantorial podium), where he served as cantor at the First Rumanian-American Congregation on Rivington Street. Through such Yiddish films as "The Cantor's Son," "Overture to Glory" (The Vilner Balebessel), and "The Singing Blacksmith," Oysher would soon develop a worldwide following. Oysher's passionate performances mirrored his real-life reputation (chronicled in J. Hoberman's history of Yiddish film, Bridge of Light) as "a lusty skirt-chaser who drank, smoked, and didn't necessarily keep the Sabbath."
We learned this tune from Moyshe's sister Freydele, who still sings Yiddish in New York. Oysher's original recording of "Drey Dreydele" (Spin, Dreydl!) featured the virtuosic Dave Tarras on clarinet.
"Bring me bread, bring me wine - let's all celebrate! Latkes, meat, fish, white tablecloths, and a shining menorah. When Chanukah comes around, it's all good! So spin, dreydl - and bring us good fortune."