Zhenya Lopatnik

Zhenya Lopatnik Ukraine

Saturday, September 3, 7pm
Lakeside Terrace

Ukraine’s Zhenya Lopatnik is a leading voice in a new generation of Yiddish singers and songwriters emerging from the former Soviet Union. Born into an assimilated Ukrainian-Jewish family, Lopatnik only discovered Yiddish in her mid-20s, but quickly made her mark in the field. Heard once or a dozen times, Zhenya’s songs ring deeply familiar. They stir the soul and awake memories even for those who are too young to remember. And for those old enough to know, the sounds transport them to a world cut short by war and migration. In collaboration with pianist Yuriy Khainson, Zhenya has released three albums of original songs, and has served for over a decade as the vocalist of Kharkov Klezmer Band. She is also a key organizer of the international Klezmer festival “Kharkov Klezmer Teg,” and has been awarded the Golden Chanukiah Prize from the “World Congress of Russian Jewry” for her contribution to Yiddish culture. For Ashkenaz 2016, Zhenya is collaborating with Alan Bern and Mark Kovnatskiy of Germany’s Semer Ensemble, in performance of their new song project “The Holy Sparks.” With an ear for history more than nostalgia, Zhenya Lopatnik’s musical meditation “The Holy Sparks” is a tender work and a coup of time travel. The vessel of European Jewish life may have been shattered, but its sparks glimmer in Zhenya’s beaming voice: “Long gone may be that old musician and those shtetl towns, but in their wake our voices soar.”

Co-presented with:
Ukrainian Jewish Encounter