Hana Frejková

Yiddish THREESOME

This is an invitation for a concert of Yiddish songs named Yiddish at the THREE, a project of HANA FREJKOVÁ, actress, singer and author of the reflexive book "Divný kořeny" (Strange Roots) (Torst 2007). Together with her colleagues Milan Potoček (clarinet), and Slávek Brabec (accordion),she will introduce you Jewish songs that relate to ups and downs of human lives with irony,

Hana Frejková glosses the concert with Jewish phrases and jokes. She also uses the glossary of the book Jidiš pro radost (Yiddish to enjoy) enabling her to explain some expressions of this Unique language. Leo Rosten, its author, especially known with his book "The Education of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N " (Pan Kaplan má třídu rád), is really an exceptional teller. And i tis not by chance that clarinetist Milan Potoček and accordionist Slávek Brabec now participate in realizing a very successful performance with same name in the Prague theatre Městská divadla pražská.




Both these instruments, accordion and clarinet, are closely connected with Jewish songs, belonging to klezmers, pipers and fiddlers, who played music at pubs, on courtyards and on streets. They add unforgettable charm of music for the rich and the poor and create irreplaceable mood.


From the book The Joys of Yiddish by Leo Rosten:

For the benefit of innocents, I hasten to add that Yiddish and Hebrew are entirely different languages. A knowledge of one will not give you even a rudimentary understanding of the other. True, Yiddish uses the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, employs a great many Hebrew words, and is written, like Hebrew, from right to left. But Yiddish and Hebrew are as different from each other as are English and French, which also use a common alphabet, share many words, and together proceed from left to right. Nor is Yiddish a synonym for Jewish. Yiddish is the name of a language. Technically speaking, there is no language called Jewish. Strictly speaking, Jews do not speak Jewish any more than Canadians speak Canadian, or Baptists read Baptist. But it would be foolish to deny that in popular English usage, Jewish is used as a synonym for Yiddish. After all, Yiddish comes from the German Jüdisch, meaning Jewish, and in the Yiddish language itself Yiddish means Jewish. We may as well accept reality.


Mame-loschen, that’s Yiddish...
This time, in songs.

When Jews from Eastern Europe talked about their childhood, they never forgot to mention mame-loschen, that is, mother tongue, or native language if you will. But that sounds a bit cold. Mame-loschen was something nice and warm; simply, it was the safety a child feels when with his or her mother. You can hear it in the very sound of the word – mame-loschen. And even though they went on to speak English, German, or another language, mame-loschen always meant the same. The feeling of home. They kept returning to it in many of their songs. We now want to bring back that feeling by songs, stories, jokes and reading from reminiscences by architect Jan Rott of his childhood in Prague in the 1920’s and 1930’s. The songs were selected to reflect both the past and the present day-to-day life with its joys and sorrows; in addition to the unmistakable melody, they are full of wit, irony and nostalgia. Listening to these songs often evokes moments, feelings and situations that are familiar to each of us.

Mame-loschen – the language of Jewish mothers – in songs!


Hana Frejková

Actress, singer and author of a reflexive book Strange Roots, HANA FREJKOVÁ, graduated from Janáček Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (specialization: dramatic acting), passed through many roles in a number of theatres, and participates now in various theatre, film and TV projects, e.g. Mother’s Courage (Ger. 1995), The Forgotten Light (Cz. 1996), Citadela (It. 2002), The Bride for Paddy (Cz. 1999, O. Hoffmann’s Festival, Main Audience Award), Resurrection (It. 2000, Moscow Festival Award), Origins of Evil (Can./USA 2003, two Emmy Awards and an Elsa Award), Snowborďáci (Cz. 2004, Czech Lion Award), and 3+1 s Donutilem (2005).

She cooperated with English-American theatre groups in Prague for several years, starred in American musicals Nunsense I and II by D. Goggin, in a cabaret named Long Live the Life based on authentic performances in Terezín Ghetto during the war. Now she acts in Masquerade by T. Pratchett in the Theatre in Dlouhá and participates in a project called Club of Lost Talents that is composed of songs from Terezín Ghetto.

For many years she has dwelt on singing traditional Jewish songs. She sang in Bruno Schultz’s international project, with Jiří Pavlica in a TV show named They met…, in the Prague Season Festival in Paris (2002), in the 9 Gates Festival in Prague where she invited the violinist Alexander Schonert to create a Duo in Three (2004), in Frankfurt-am-Main in the well known Memorial Friedberger Anlage (2006).

CD Prager Tandlmarkt (2000)

Strange Roots (TORST 2007)

CD Dire-gelt (2007)


Older projects:

For some time she performed with musical groups Scharbilach and Prager Tandlmarkt, in the last years she cooperates mainly with Michal Hromek.

Michal Hromek

Michal Hromek (1958) studied classical guitar at the Pardubice Conservatory. You can find traces of classical, folk and jazz music as well as strong influence of Renaissance lute pieces in his compositions. He recorded seven CD of his original compositions and his instrumental arrangements of folk themes from Ireland, Britain and Moravia. His CELTIC GUITAR album was awarded a gold disk in Canada in 1997. He has collaborated with various artists in recordings, concerts and TV appearences, such as Gerald Garcia, Martin Mysliveček, Jaroslav Šindler, Tom Daun or Jiří Pavlica.

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