Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Barry Sisters – Shalom

   Jewish melodies and Yiddish songs reached great popularity in the first half of 20th century. Especially in USA where it became part of all-American culture that had high and well-deserved reputation. In late thirties when Andrews Sisters reminded Yiddish evergreen Bei mir bisdu shein, the song became an instant hit. The same with other popular tunes from Jewish theatres and vaudevilles. Thanks to the radio the same songs were instantly popular. For two young singers, sisters Claire and Merna Bagelman this trend became perfect opportunity to start their career. First songs they recorded under their family name as The Bagelman Sisters. Shortly they changed the name of the duo to Barry Sisters.
   The legendary Barry Sisters became extremely popular almost instantly after debut. It was this special moment, when popular music has creating it’s modern shape. Thanks to the radio and the propaganda efforts, American popular culture became the sample of US democracy in the war era. The same time European civilization was collapsing in hatred, the new world was giving a real hope for the people flying off the old continent. And there’s no need to add, many listeners were really proud listening to Jewish songs in nationwide radio shows.
   Barry Sisters started in thirties as they called themselves „Yiddish jazz singers”. Since 1937 they’ve participated in New York Radio Show „Yiddish Melodies in Swing” singing traditional tunes and jazz standards in Yiddish language. Barry Sisters singing popular music in close harmonies and dance rhythms were classified as the mainstream of  swing era vocal ensembles. They were valued especially for great voices perfectly sounding together, smart interpretations and nice stage personalities. It was really hard to find such talented, creative and good looking singers. Thanks to this features, unparalleled Claire and Merna made Yiddish song the phenomenon in the era of the swing.

The Barry Sisters – Shalom (1962)

   In fifties radio pave the way to LP recording. The high capacity carrier, more resistant for repeated use, in more protecting and visually interesting covers – recordings gave chance for almost substantial presence of music on listener’s shelf and was great opportunity to buying and possessing although the substitute of what was unattainable before. While radio was elusive medium, record gave the feeling of possessing something valuable. In fifties phonographic industry flourished and recording became the kind of activity that shortly became one of main parts in musical life. And this were the best times in Barry Sisters musical career. They started in times of 78 rpm records and these early recordings were compiled and published as their first LPs. But the era of modern LP record became for Barry Sisters the earnest when they signed contract with Roulette label.
   Recorded in 1962 Shalom (Roulette SR-25157) is fourth Barry Sisters’ album published by Roulette and their sixth LP record in general. It has been released shortly after the tour in Israel, so cover photo shows duo’s arriving on airport in Tel Aviv. Following this album came published the next year live recording The Barry Sisters in Israel (Roulette SR-25198). Shalom is one of most popular Barry Sisters’ albums of the top period in the career of the duo. One look to the program of the record can reveal artists’ intentions. Mainstream Yiddish pop repertoire positions like Ketzele Baroiges, Ain kik auf dir, Chiribim Chiribom or Die Greene Koseene and popular melodies to Hebrew lyrics in Israeli Medley or the theme from movie Exodus make this selection attempt to connect the old and new world of Jewish culture. The title of this LP is greeting word Shalom. And this speaks for itself.

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