Lenka Lichtenberg “Thieves of Dreams”

May 8 - 2022

Sunday, May 8, 2:30 pm
Paradise Theatre, 1006 Bloor St. W

Come celebrate women the world over this Mother’s Day with the release of an album that sets to music poems of Lenka’s own family matriarch, who wrote these powerful poems of love, marriage and resilience while she and her daughter (Lenka’s mother) were both imprisoned in the Theresienstadt concentration camp during WWII.

Co-presented by The Ashkenaz Festival. Co-sponsors: Masaryk Memorial Institute; Sunflower Records; the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Toronto. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

About the new album: Upon the recent passing of her mother, Lenka discovered two tattered notebooks of hand-written poetry that her grandmother, Anna Hana Friesová (1901-1987) wrote in the Terezin (Theresienstadt) concentration camp where she was imprisoned during World War II. Lenka was surprised to discover that a majority of the poems were intimate fantasies and love poems that you’d never expect to be written on the brink of death. “I imagine that the verses she wrote represented the one time each day that my grandmother had some control over her life. She dreamed of this imaginary world to survive the cruelty of the real one.” So, Lenka decided to bring these stories back to life – as music, in this stunning tale of how her mother and grandmother survived Terezin – and kept their sanity.

The poems were set to music by seven Canadian and Czech composers. Offering a rich musical tapestry, the lush arrangements span from string sextet, beatboxing, spoken word and jazz trio to a cappella songs, and feature colourful instruments such as marimba, tabla and bass clarinet, all warmly bathed in Lenka’s signature 3-octave harmonies.

The international release of Thieves of Dreams: Songs of Theresienstadt’s Secret Poetess will take place on both the anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp in 1945, and symbolically on Mother’s Day – as Lenka Lichtenberg honours the inspiring resiliency of her mother and grandmother, whose stories, intimate dreams and messages for future generations will finally be shared with the world.

Lenka Lichtenberg (vocals, keyboard, harmonium)

David Buchbinder (trumpet)

Jessica Deutsch (tech director, violin, viola, bass, vocals)

Auri Fell (vocals, beatboxing, ukulele

Fern Lindzon (piano, vocals)

Special guest: Aviva Chernick (vocals)

(NB: Not comfortable in an indoors crowd yet? There will be a ‘socially-distanced’ section available on the balcony. Not sure you can NOW commit to a May event in our most unpredictable times? Tickets are refundable)

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