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New York’s Immigrant History In Song

New York’s Immigrant History In Song

Sandee is the arts and culture editor at the Jewish Week.

Wander the streets of the Lower East Side, and you’ll still find pockets of vibrant Jewish life as well as traces of what once was. These days, the scenery is ever-changing, with new construction, new storefronts, new streetscapes.

“A Musical History of the Lower East Side” peels back the layers of Jewish history, as well as the history of other ethnic groups who have deep roots here as well. A group of nine musicians, including cellist Noah Hoffeld, percussionist Jhair Sala, opera singer Ashley Bell, vocalist Niamh Hyland and vocalist and guitar-and-oud player Basya Schechter, will perform jazz, opera, Irish, Latin, Italian and Yiddish music.

David S. Goldman, a vocalist and guitarist, who is a co-producer and music director of the show, will play songs in Yiddish and Italian, reflecting his Italian-Jewish-Albanian heritage. Charles R. Hale, producer and writer who serves as artistic director of Artists Without Walls, provides a narration linking the music and overlapping ethnic history.

Goldman, whose Jewish and Italian ancestors lived on the Lower East Side when they first arrived in America in the late 19th century, says, “I’m fascinated to walk through the area, on streets where my parents, grandparents and great grandparents walked. I feel very much at home there.”

He explains that the musicians play in many different styles and languages, “a lot of what comprises the makeup of the Lower East Side. It’s such a rich area, changing all the time, and I hope we can preserve it.”

“A Musical History of the Lower East Side” will be performed live at BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers Street, Manhattan, on Friday, November 18th at 8 pm.

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