Sisters of Sheynville
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Sisters of Sheynville

Prague, Hlavní Mesto Praha, Czech Republic | INDIE | AFM

Prague, Hlavní Mesto Praha, Czech Republic | INDIE | AFM
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...Sisters of Sheynville play their unoique music, which is influenced by Eastern European Yiddish traditions, Czech musical theatre and American country blues, at Winterfolk. The popular weekend music festival will help you get out of the doldrums...." (Mary Dickie, Clubwatch, February 2, 2006) - Toronto Sun


Klezmer takes up swing, or vice versa, in the person of the Sisters of Sheynvile, a new band of six Jewish women reinterpreting '30s and '40s jazz. Religious homogeneity never sounded so good. - Toronto Star


"... the Sisters... were eclectically colorful with their blonde reinvention of the Barry Sisters... I really did enjoy the music very much..." - Kanadapost: Koth


by Andy Levy-Ajzenkopf

When the Sisters of Sheynville launched their debut CD, Sheynville Express on Nov.1, those lucky few in attendence at The Gladstone Hotel heard a band dedicated to making joyful music.
Now you can hear it, too.
As a live band that has played around Torontosince being formed by co-lead vocalists Lenka Lichtenberg and Isabel Fryszberg in 2004, they've constantly electrified audiences wherever they've gone. With the release of Sheynville Express, the sisters have proven they can also light up a studio with their musical joie de vivre. - Canadian Jewish News


This is a most unusual group. The Sisters of Sheynville
brings back to life “Yiddish Swing.” Founded by singers
Isabel Fryszberg and Lenka Lichtenberg in 2004, the
Toronto-based group includes pianist-singer-arranger
Fern Lindzon, clarinetist Kinneret Sagee, bassist Rachel
Melas and drummer Lorie Wolf. There are also guest
appearances from tenor-saxophonist Jane Fair and
trombonist Rachel Lemisch.
With vocals in Yiddish and English, the sound of the
Sisters is sometimes close to that of the Andrews Sisters
although purposely more ethnic. There is the hint of
klezmer (particularly with the inclusion of a clarinet) and
bits of modern jazz, but the music overall brings back a
very different look at the swing era. While the humor in this
version of “I’m An Old Cow Hand” gets tired quickly, the
singing on “Blues, Stay Away From Me” shows that they
understand the swing idiom well and could go in the
direction of the Boswell Sisters if that were their interest.
Although definitely for selective tastes, Sheynville
Express should interest fans of Jewish music and swing
era vocal groups. It is a strong debut for this intriguing
group, available from www.sistersofsheynville.ca.
Scott Yanow
- Scott Janow


The Sisters of Sheynville are an all-woman, Toronto-based band fronted by singers Lenka Lichtenberg and Isabel Fryszberg who are reviving the Yiddish-swing music of the 1930s and '40s popularized by the Barry Sisters.

The 'Sisters' do a great job on familiar Yiddish folk and theatre songs like "Yidl mitn Fidl," "Di Grine Kuzine" and "Ooh, Mama! Bin ikh Farlibt!" The singing and the swinging playing are lots of fun.

But my favorite songs on this CD are their campy adaptations of a couple of songs from outside anyone's Yiddish repertoire. The Sisters of Sheynville take Johnny Mercer's faux-cowboy song, "I'm an Old Cow Hand," and give it a female, Jewish, vegan, Toronto spin. Their old cowhand isn't from the Rio Grande, she's from the corner of Bathurst and Grand. Then they turn "Blues Stay Away From Me," the old Delmore Brothers country song, turning it into a very funny Yiddish-English kvetch. Their transformations of these two songs beg favourable comparisons with the legendary Mickey Katz's parodies from half a century ago.

-------
Mike Regenstreif
Acting Editor: Ottawa Jewish Bulletin
- Mike Regenstreif


Wholenote, Volume 13 #6 March 1-April 7, 2008

(following review of David Buchbinder's "Odessa/Havana"...)

...."In sharp contrast to the machismo of Odessa/Havana is the distaff soulfulness of the Sisters of Sheynville, an all-woman band doing "Yiddish swing-klez". Covering songs made popular during the Yiddish swing era of the 30s and 40s, the two singers Lenka Lichtenberg and Isabel Fryszberg harmonize seamlessly over the piano-based trio. When third vocal parts are added by piano player Fern Lindzon, The Andrew Sisters are called to mind, altough the group is actually inspired by the lesser-known Barry Sisters. Fryszberg's revamped lyrics on I'm an Old Cow Hand" ("yippie I oh oy vey!") are great fun. And while there is no question these sisters can swing, there's a warmth and hominess to the tunes on "Sheynville Express" that may make you want to skooch your chair up close to the speakers, pour yourself some tea and and pull out your knitting, perhaps getting up now and then to cut a rug."
Cathy Riches
- Cathy Riches


Sheynville Express is the new release from Sisters Of Sheynville, the all-female Yiddish Swing-Klez group from Toronto. SOS, as they refer to themselves, bases their vocal style on the recordings of the Barry Sisters. But to pigeonhole them would be a great mistake. The sound is a great combination of a contemprory feel while holding true to the Swing tradition. Fronted by Vocalists Isabel Fryszberg and Lenka Lichtenberg, the three-part harmonies are intricate, but easy to listen to.

Probably the most inventive arrangement on the album is "I'm An Old Cow Hand." Yes, it's the old Western-style tune you may be familiar with, but they've added Jewish lyrics. "I'm an old cow hand from Bathhurst and Grand" is a reference to a Jewish neighborhood in Toronto. After the second verse the song goes from a western swing into a German Goldenshteyn Bulgar, then to a latin clave, then a Western movie theme, and back to swing. I like the changing styles. Along with the new lyrics, this song covers a lot of territory.

Then there's the Yiddish classic "Chiribim." A favorite song for many, the middle section is infused with great jazz solos by Saxophonist Jane Fair and Pianist Fern Lindzon. Lindzon also provides the third vocal harmony on the album.

I must mention the outstanding rhythm section of Fern Lindzon on piano, Rachel Melas on Bass, and Lorie Wolf on Drums. These ladies are terrific! They shift between swing, bulgar, latin, and contemporary jazz with ease and absolutely nail each style.

The group is rounded out by the horns with Kinneret Sagee on clarinet, and guests Jane Fair on Sax and Rachel Lemisch on Trombone. They have a great sound, and Sagee's Clarinet evokes the time of many of these songs, when Benny Goodman and Woody Herman were in their heyday.

While these songs are a combination of English and Yiddish, there is one absolute gem among them. "Zivot je jen nahoda" is a great song that starts in English, but comes around again in Czech, the native tongue of Lichtenberg. To hear this in three-part harmony is unusual and exciting. It's clear the language is not easy to pronounce. I tried to sing along, but I almost hurt myself. (Not really, but I think I need some Czech lessons.)

"Blues Stay Away From Me" is a lovely change of pace as a slower song, as is "Halfmoon," an original by Isabel Fryzsberg, done in a similar style.

Another pleasant surprise is Lichtenberg's arrangement of "Sheyn vi di Levone," a well-known Yiddish swing song. This time it is done at a halftime tempo, which allows SOS to bring out more nuance, giving the song a very different feeling.

For Klezmer lovers there is "A Vaybele a Tsnie," a Freylachs that is high energy and makes you want to get up and dance.

The album also includes such classics as "Ketsele Broyges," "Yidl Mitn Fidl," "Di Grine Kuzine," and "Ooh, Mama!". These are all very well done and enjoyable to listen to. This is what makes Yiddish really swing!

The last song, "Ay, Ay, Hora," is a great closer. It is in a fast two and gives a last taste of the great SOS sound.

Speaking of the SOS sound, the recording and engineeering quality on the album is outstanding. Every vocal and instrument is clear and well-defined, and the mix sounds great on everything from earbuds to my home theater. Much credit goes to Producer Eric Stein, of Beyond The Pale and the Ashkenaz Festival, for bringing out the best the group has to offer.

I really liked the musical arrangements of Fern Lindzon, who has a great understanding of the varied musical styles on the album. The vocal arrangements by Lenka Lichtenberg are wonderful as well, highlighting the vocal talent of these gifted singers.

The 16-page CD booklet is nicely laid out, with both Yiddish and English lyrics and plenty of photos. One of the pages is about the concept for the album and the background of the band.

While these ladies are not really sisters, and there is no place called Sheynville (they say it is really a special place in their hearts and minds), the music here is genuine and impassioned. It left me wanting more. So stamp my passport, I'm hopping on the Sheynville Express!

To hear my interview with the Sisters of Sheynville, listen to Klezmer Podcast 24.

Reviewed by Keith Wolzinger, 14 Dec, 2007.

Personnel this recording:
Lenka Lichtenberg: vocals
Isabel Fryszberg: vocals
Fern Lindzon: piano, vocals
Rachel Melas: string bass
Kinneret Sagee: clarinet
Lorie Wolf: drums

Guests:
Rachel Lemish: trombone (tracks 1,4)
Jane Fair: tenor saxophone (tracks 5, 7, 12)

- Review by Keith Wolzinger


If they were French, they’d be the Sisters of Belleville. The Sisters of Sheynville (Prettytown) are Isabel Fryszberg and Lenka Lichtenberg, local ladies who have spent the past year lifting (by hand, to judge from their charts) the Yiddish swing harmonies of the Barry Sisters (Claire and Merna Bagelman) who recorded widely in the middle of the last century.
For their debut performance in Toronto, the Sheynville Sisters assembled a jazz band including on bass, Ashely Summers (who plays with saxophonist Tara Davidson), on keyboard — Fern Lindzon (who leads a trio that includes Ted Quinlan and Kieran Overs), and Katherine Moses on reeds. In this case, the ensemble would also have to include the audience who came pre-pared to love (and they showed it) the authentic (and it was) Yiddish repertoire, and to ignore those times the band was ‘off’.
What the ‘Sisters’ lacked in polish, they made up in spirit, schmaltz, in-humour (you really do have to be Jewish to get it) vocal harmonies and their scat. You don’t have to be Jewish to hear that their ‘chiribiri bim bom bom’ riffs really rocked. The Sisters of Sheynville will be at the Distillery Jazz Festival the weekend of May 20.
www.thelivemusicreport.com/clubs/concertHalls/freeTimesCafe/sheynville.html


- Stanley Fefferman for The Live Music Report


Discography

Sheynville Express. Released November, 2007
produced by Eric Stein.
CdBaby.

Photos

Bio

"a strong debut for this intriguing group..." Scott Janow, L.A. Jazz Scene
Masterful musicianship, tricky solos and fancy vocal work are all the signs of a good klezmer disc, and The Sisters of Sheynville deliver on all accounts. NOW Magazine, Aug. 2008
..."they've constantly electrified audiences wherever they've gone...a band dedicated to making joyful music!" ..."beautiful singing and harmonies...they can light up a studio with their musical joie de vivre..." The Canadian Jewish News, Nov. 2007
... the most fun and unexpected addition to NXNE, CHART ATTACK, June 2008

Nominated in 2 categories ("Best Vocal Group" and "Best World Album") at the Canadian Folk Music Awards, and winning the Vocal Group of the Year Award, Canada's only all-female swing-klez sextet is enjoying an exciting momentum. Since the release of their critically acclaimed debut CD Sheynville Express, produced by Beyond the Pale's Eric Stein, the Sisters of Sheynville have emerged as one of the most exciting new ensembles on the North American world music scene . They headlined in San Francisco and Vancouver festivals, loved their Mariposa Folk Festival concert experience, and sold out their concert in Toronto's prestigious folk venue, the Hugh's Room. They also performed at major festivals in Washington, Winnipeg, NXNE and Toronto's Ashkenaz Festival. In June, 2011, the Sisters are headlining at Montreal's Second Yiddish Theatre festival.
History: Founded by Isabel fryszberg and Lenka Lichtenberg, the band debuted in April, 2005, with a repertoire inspired by the Barry Sisters' vintage Yiddish swing, as well as klezmer and roots music of the 1930s-40s old time radio era. Since then, the Sisters' sound evolved to include more jazz, improvisation, and original material. Their intricate 3-part vocal arrangements are supported by hot jazz and klezmer stylings from a crack ensemble featuring some of Torontos leading young jazz and klezmer instrumentalists.

The Sisters are: Lenka Lichtenberg (vocals), Isabel Fryszberg (vocals); Fern Lindzon (piano, vocals); Kinneret Sagee (clarinet); Rachel Melas (double bass); Lorie Wolf (drums).

Our almost complete festival and club performance resume:
Vancouver Chutzpah! Festival; San Francisco Jewish Music festival; Mariposa Folk Festival; Hugh's Room; Washington Jewish Music Festival; Ashkenaz Festival; Mameloshen Yiddish Festival in Winnipeg; Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival, Distillery Jazz Festival, Celebrate Toronto Festival, Toronto City Roots Festival, Winterfolk and Downsview Park festivals, the Rex Jazz Bar Hotel, Toronto Performing Arts Centre, Leah Posluns and Al Green Theatres, Lula Lounge, the Free Times Cafe, the Gladstone Hotel, the Tranzac Club, Buffalo, and Workmen's Circle in New York.
radio interviews: Jazz FM, CIUT and CJTW;
airplay on a number of CBC and various world music programs across Canada; special program on Radio Sefarad, Spain.


Band Members