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Jewish Next

JewishNext aspires to develop distinctly Jewish brands that support and promote the values of friendship, inclusion, tolerance, and diversity. The flagship project is "Jewish, the Musical" (JewishTheMusical.com)

"Jewish Songs for All" is an umbrella project that sources "Jewish Songs. In Russian" and "Jewish, the Musical" 

Jewish songs enjoyed popularity in Yiddish, but, seem to be sinking into obscurity due to the falling number of speakers, but it appears not to be the case with the same songs when translated to Russian.  Since 2017, when the project "Jewish Songs. In Russian" started these simple demos generated a loyal following on YouTube and other streaming platforms, and, attracting new fans, mostly Russian speakers, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, to  these charming reincarnations 

The phenomenon is evidence that the best songs that are under threat of being forgotten due to diminished use of the original language can be saved and get a new life when masterfully translated to a major language (as of 2021, the Russian language is spoken by more than 280 million and ranked no. 2, after English, among the languages used on the internet). What makes these particular translations so special is that they, thanks to the incredibly high quality of translations, manage to cross over not only from one language and culture to another but tell these local stories exactly as they are - the universal human experiences. 

As we can see from the comments on YouTube they especially strike a note for Russian-speaking Jews as they satisfy their thirst for reconnection to the ancestral identity, finally, in their own language. Hatikvah, the national anthem of Israel translated to Russian (Атиква, гимн Израиля) is a great example of how people, all people, are genuinely impressed with these translations and this particular recording. There must be something special about this song, particularly, the Russian version. 


There are different reasons for such fascination, though these three seem to be the essential ingredients for the lucky outcome:   

1. The masterful translations and adaptations by Olga Anikina, a St. Petersburg, Russia-based writer, who in a span of a few verses can depict a vivid and powerful story. For example, when you listen to her translation of "Children Are Going Away" (Едут дети) describing kids being taken to the death camp, the story transforms from a specific Jewish to the universal one. Coming from a great lyricist and poet, these masterpieces often improve on the original lyrics and are bound to survive translations (Shakespeare and Homer come to mind).  
  
"Еврейские песни. По-русски" - album art

2. Most of the over 40+ songs translated to Russian (there are few English translations as well) are based on the well-known, already popular, and engaging tunes (e.g. "Tumbalalaika", "Chiribim, Chiribom", "Hevenu Shalom Aleichem", Hava Nagila, etc.)

3. Though recorded by the artist in her kitchen on a mobile phone, as the project can't yet afford studio recordings, these elegant demos (just a guitar and vocals) by Elechka, a folk-style artist based in cold Moscow, entrance everybody, even those who don't speak a word in Russian.

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"Jewish Songs. In Russian" is an integral part of the "Jewish Songs for All" and is founded by Walter J. Kin who is working on making it a community-driven project.     

On January 5th, 2022 our 22-song collection was accepted by ANU, Museum of the Jewish People in Tel-Aviv, Israel to be used in its exhibitions and programs. The next batch of songs including Yiddish original lyrics, lead sheet, and song history will be prepared with the help of Jewish song experts and enthusiasts. 


Help from organizations that focus on Jewish art renaissance can make this initiative a star example of how preserving and promoting Jewish identity can be a cool and engaging process for everyone involved. Grants encouraging preservation, study, and further development of Jewish songs offered to music producers, songwriters, including lyricists and translators as well as performing artists can be a start. Imagine that someone who sings "Hava Nagila" got to the finals or even won "American Idol" or the "Voice", a prominent talent show on TV. Do you think that such a person can benefit from an award, a grant? And what if she sings "Hava Nagila" in English? Do you think that the song might even have a chance to top the charts? Say if Drake or an artist of such scale performed it? 

If the recording of "Hatikvah" generated more than, say, 10 million streams and/or topped the charts, do you think that people who made this happen deserve a reward? Even if they are not Jewish? Doesn't matter what language they sing on. If the world knows that this song is Jewish, then it's an achievement and that could be you. 

Impact investors and philanthropists can bring these songs to every household and make history by not only reconnecting Jews with their own traditions and identity but also bringing and opening them to the entire world. Not only TV, radio, social media, streaming and games, Web3, metaverse, NFT, and crypto can be explored and entertained for such a noble mission. 


Walter J. Kin, Founder of JewishNext mission

JewishNext advocates for one's ethnic and cultural identity as a natural way to support and promote friendship, inclusion, tolerance, and diversity.

Jewish Songs for All (JewishSong.org)

We aim to translate most of the essential Jewish songs (including "Hevenu Shalom Aleichem", "Ale Brider", "Mi Haish", "Oyfn Pripetchik", "A Yiddishe Mame", "Avinu Malkeinu", "Tango in Auschwitz", "Hava Nagila" and "Tumbalalaika") into the English language as part of Jewish, the Musical


You can read about our project (in Russian) at SongsInRussian.org (Еврейские песни. По-русски)


Еврейские песни. По-русски. (JewishSong.or)




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