Our Songs

This recording was inspired by the residents and staff at the Kline Galland Home, Seattle's premier Jewish nursing care facility. It can be used as a sing along activity for Jewish folks familiar with these popular songs or simply for listening by anyone interested in the favorite Ladino and Yiddish songs of Seattle's Jewish communities.

On this CD, you will hear some of the last remaining Yiddish and Ladino voices of Seattle's Jewish seniors. During Passover of 2006, Sheila Fox and the Kosher Red Hots hosted a Ladino and Yiddish sing along at the Kline Galland Home. The auditorium was filled to the brim with residents, staff, friends and family. The warm rapport and gaiety of the lively event Clarinet Group has been captured in this endearing audio documentary.

The recording weaves live sing along with studio and field recordings. The project, conceived and produced by vocalist Sheila Fox, was funded in part by Jack Straw Productions, who awarded Sheila an Artist Support grant. For the studio recordings, she brought together an array of great musicians: Latin Grammy nominee, pianist Jovino Santos Neto, Seattle jazz veteran, accordionist Ken Olendorf, concert violinist and composer Talia Toni Marcus, and Spokane's most sought after bassist and guitarist, Eugene Jablonsky. Folk clarinetist and Kosher Red Hot Liz Dreisbach, and longtime klezmer musician Kim Goldov, played on the Ladino jewel, Morenika. The field recording of 92 year old Regina Russak is sweeter than anything, and the singing of Hazzan Isaac Azose takes you straight to the streets of Sirkedji in Istanbul.

The Kline Galland Home was founded by philanthropist Caroline Rosenburg Kline Galland, a Bavarian born German Jew. It was constructed in 1914 with a capacity of seven residents. Today it is a 205 bed Clarinet Group
Sweet Blue Flores by Mattie Viesse
facility and is recognized as one of the finest skilled nursing homes in the country. Warmth and light and art and music best describe the energy of this wonderful gem of a place in Seattle's Jewish community.

Guest Artists

Our guest artists, five singers and three visual artists, are devoted keepers of their traditions.

Hazzan Isaac Azose is one of the most well-known Sephardic Hazzanim in North America. He was born to Ladino speaking parents from Turkey. Isaac has contributed immensely to the preservation and continuation of Ladino songs, language, and traditions.

Lucy Spring, a mainstay at the Kline Galland Home, has been a staff member there for 23 years. Her parents were Ladino speakers, and she has led many Ladino and Yiddish sing alongs. She worked closely with musical director Samuel Goldfarb at Temple De Hirsch in Seattle.

Frank Krasnowsky is an 86-year old committed Yiddishist. He co-chaired the Seattle chapter of the National Yiddish Club for many years. He has performed and recorded with the musical duo Chutzpah, and he is a published writer of short stories and poems.

The rest are five remarkable women who live at the Kline Galland Home, singers Leni LaMarche and Rena Russak, and visual artists Sylvia Ross, Mathilda Viesse, and Marcia Raskov who created the artwork for this CD. Their photos are below.

All of these people, and others at the Kline Galland Home, inspire and touch us deeply.

Mediterranean Village

Sylvia Ross was born in Brooklyn and started painting in her late teens. She studied costume design for a short time at Gene Turner Arts School in San Francisco. She married and had three children, lived in Los Angeles for 30 years and in Portland for 15 years. She started painting again at 82 when she came to the Kline Galland Home. 'I had wonderful parents and I've had a wonderful life!'

Sephardic performer, Leni LaMarche grew up in Seattle to Ladino speaking parents from the isle of Rhodes. She is a passionate keeper of the songs and stories of her tradition. She performs as a singer, storyteller and comedienne. Leni likes to tell the story of Little Red Riding Hood in Ladino. At 85, she is the grandmother of 12 and great grandmother of 12.

Yiddish singer, Rena Russak immigrated to Montreal in 1934 from Chernovitz, which was then in Romania and now in the Ukraine. In Montreal, she worked as a seamstress and sang in the Yiddish Chorus. At 93, she continues to sing many of the songs she sang as a girl. Yiddish is her mother tongue, but she also speaks Romanian, Russian, Hebrew, French, and English.
Clarinet Group
Sweet Blue Flores

Mathilda 'Maddie' Viesse has always been involved in the creative arts. She was born and raised in Portland and kept a kiln in her basement. Her parents were from the isle of Rhodes. She grew up speaking Ladino. She is credited with bringing mahjong to the Jewish community in Seattle and has been referred to as "the Grandmaster of Mahjong."

Red Lipped Tulips

Marcia Raskov began her love affair with painting in the 1980s at the Beacon Hill Senior Center. She holds an Artistic and Creative Talents Award from the Washington Association of Housing and Services for the Aging. Marcia says, 'They call me Marcia Monet,' and at age 92, she has lots of art projects she wants to do.
Jack Straw Productions, Artist Support Program
Feygele Ben Miriam Fund
Rena Klein, Gordon Younger, Pamela Bridge and many many others without whose help this project would not be possible.
Heartfelt thanks to Talia Toni Marcus, whose ears and advice in the studio were invaluable and to Liz Dreisbach for working magic with words and detail.
Munchas grasias Leni LaMarche, Lucy Spring and Isaac Azose, our Ladino guest singers. Groysn dank Frank Krasnowsky and Rena Russak, our Yiddish guest singers. Thank you Laurie Garber, Lenya Treewater and Marilyn Israel for all you do at the Kline Galland Home.