Meir Noy Yiddish Song Project

Yiddish language, music, and culture

The journals of musicologist and ethnographer Meir Noy contain a record of over 2,000 Yiddish songs collected and transcribed by hand, starting in his native town in Poland before the Second World War, and continuing in Israel. This collection, often transcribed from the mouths of refugees and Holocaust survivors, contains an as-yet uncharted source of Yiddish song repertoire. The songs in Meir Noy’s collection are notable for their unusual folkloric content, range of topic, and music. They contain rarities such as parodies of international songs, unconventional love stories, and twists on religious and social conventions.

The Meir Noy Song Project seeks to bring to light the songs in this collection through a series of recordings, community presentations, and workshops, with the goal of familiarizing the Bay Area Yiddish community with this collection, as well as the wider goal of expanding the public’s awareness and conception of Yiddish language, culture, and song. The Meir Noy Song Project was supported by a grant from ACTA’s Living Cultures Grants Program in 2021.

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