Olga Avigail Mieleszczuk Poland
Olga Avigail Mieleszczuk is a singer, accordion player and researcher of Eastern European musical folklore. Her research and creative work focuses on Jewish music of Ashkenazi roots, especially from borderlands of Poland (Galitzia, Polesye), including Chassidic music, Yiddish folk songs, and multilingual Jewish songs. Her program “Polesye: The Songs of Miriam Nirenberg” is inspired by field work conducted by Prof. Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett under the auspices of YIVO Institute for Jewish Research between 1968-1975, with Miriam Nirenberg, a Jewish folksinger born in the Polesye borderland region of Poland, who moved to Toronto in the 1930s. Based on this research, Mieleszczuk revives, reconstructs and creates modern arrangements of Nirenberg’s many Yiddish songs, most of which are known only to a small circle of ethnomusicologists. The Poland-Toronto connection makes this project especially resonant for this year’s Ashkenaz Festival, spotlighting themes related to Polish-Jewish history and women in Jewish music. The band features Olga Avigail Mieleszczuk (vocal) Grzegorz Bożewicz (accordion) Hadrian Tabęcki (piano) and Piotr Malicki (guitar), with special guest Jessica Deutsch (violin).