Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Monday, May 09, 2005

The Yiddish Crooner: Seymour Rexite

A big thank you to Kathryn, over at Suitable for Mixed Company since she did a post about Seymour Rexite, the Yiddish crooner. As the website about Rexite says:

At the height of his popularity in the 1940s and '50s, Yiddish crooning sensation Seymour Rexite starred on 18 half-hour radio shows a week. At its outset his career comprised an all-Jewish repertoire that spanned from liturgical song to Yiddish popular music. But when he took to the Yiddish airwaves, the bill of fare diversified. Whatever song happened to be popular on American radio, his wife, Miriam Kressyn, translated into Yiddish and Rexite sang on one of his shows. He feared nothing, sang everything, and stayed on the air for the better part of five decades.
The website also offers links of Rexite singing, in Yiddish, classics such as "Surrey with a Fringe on Top" and "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning," "Tea for Two," etc. Even better, the site is part of something called the Yiddish Radio Project, which I'd heard about on NPR. Unfortunately, though, since I always listen to NPR in the car, by the time I was back at my computer, I'd forgotten about the desire to see the website and hear the audio. I've always loved the sound of Yiddish. Neither of parents spoke it, although my Dad knew a bit (his childhood language was Berlinerish, which was the Berlin equivalent of Cockney). However, you can't be raised Jewish, especially in the 1960s and early 1970s -- when the entertainment world was still in love with things Jewish -- without having some exposure to that wonderful, rich, funny, emotion-laden language.