Listen to the Yiddish Divas - Aviva - Berlin Online Magazin und Informationsportal für Frauen Music im Mai 2023 - Beitrag vom 11.07.2005

Listen to the Yiddish Divas
Sarah Ross

The Jewish womens a cappella ensemble Vôcôlôt features soaring voices in amazing harmonies with captivating rhythms and percussion. They unite traditional musical, jazz, folk and cantorial idioms.

The American ensemble has been performing throughout the world since 1988. Founded and directed by cantor Linda Hirschhorn, Vôcôlôt takes its name from the English word "vocal" and the Hebrew word "kolot" meaning "voices". The members of Vôcôlôt - Linda Hirschhorn, Elizabeth Stuart (percussion), Alison Lewis, Ellen Robinson, Judith-Kate Friedman and Jennifer Karno, sing in English, Hebrew, Ladino, Yiddish, and Arabic. They sing songs of celebration, community and the Jewish heritage.

This album, the latest release by Vôcôlôt in 2002, is as manifold as the Jewish culture itself, the diversity of the American Jewish experience as well as the world of women´s music traditions, and the Jewish Renewal out of which the songs emerge. The women´s a cappella ensemble presents a unique musical fusion of Eastern European musical traditions, folk, jazz, the cantorial vocal traditions and the contemporary compositions of Linda Hirschhorn. For example, next to a Yiddish song of resistance ("Zog Maran") you can listen to a Brazilian song of praise ("Elokim Noten Hakol"), or to "Guide Me" - adapted from a traditional Appalachian song, as well as to a joyous song adopted from a South African freedom anthem ("Yesh Lanu Koach"). Also songs that have long been favourites have undergone a new arrangement by the members of Vôcôlôt: "Eretz Zavat Chalav u´Dvash" (Land of Milk and Honey), "Ocho Kandelikas" (Eight Candles), and "Los Bilbilicos" (The Nightingales) are songs that attract new attention. The title song "Heart Beat" - "a place where the personal, social, political and spiritual resonate in harmony", as described by the artists - highlights Linda Hirschhorn´s strength as a songwriter in a very special manner.

AVIVA-Tipp: This wonderful album "Heart Beat" with songs that affirm life, with clear and strong female voices, singing in lush harmonies and accompanied with living percussion rhythms automatically catches you, and brings you on your feet. "Heart Beat" is the Winner of the CARA 2003 Award for best album and best song
("La Comida"). As Derk Richardson of the San Francisco Bay Guardian explained: "Yiddish Divas make music that embodies peace, resilience, reconciliation, and the notion that we will overcome our enemies with our singing".
Vôcôlôt has previously released three recordings: "Behold" in 1997, "Roots and Wings" in 1992, and "Gather Round" in 1989.

About Linda Hirschhorn: She is the founder, director and primary composer for Vôcôlôt. Cantor Linda Hirschhorn has released two songbooks and seven recordings of original material (four with Vôcôlôt). Her songs and choral arrangements have been published in major folk anthologies, are performed by professional and amateur groups around the world and have been used in video, radio documentaries and dance scores. Linda organized and directed the first Jewish Women´s International Chorus in Kiev (1994). In 1999, she was commissioned to compose works for "Seeds of Peace", an international project that brings youth and national delegates from areas of conflict throughout the world into dialogue and creative collaboration. Linda has been Cantor at Temple Beth Sholom, San Leandro, CA since 1988. She is mother of two children. "Holding one´s own while singing in harmony" is the paradigm by which she thinks communities will survive and thrive. To find out more about Linda Hirschhorn, visit

More information about Vôcôlôt and its members on:

"Heart Beat"

Audio CD, March, 2003
Original Release Date: October 6, 2002
Label: Lis Harvey
ASIN: B0000719TE
List Price: 15,99 $


Beitrag vom 11.07.2005

Sarah Ross