For about ten years–from 1979 to 1989, my second year in the US–Andreas Brosch and I worked on arranging and performing Jewish songs: hasidic, yiddish, Israeli. It started with a hasidic songbook we recorded, with cellist Helmut Weber, for a German gospel singer by the name of Jan Vering who had met Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach and caught the fire of hasidic song. We began performing this music in Christian youth venues and graduated to playing for Jewish and cultural audiences as well. For me, this was a way of working out what, at that time, were existential questions: What did it mean for me to be of Jewish and German birth? Was there a way for Germans to appreciate the beauty of Jewish music without that black cloud of guilt that inevitably interposed? Is there a spiritual affinity between Jews and Christians? Was I myself Jewish, Christian, or both? — My work and life today is in many ways far removed from these questions; I’ve been recently called “a gifted polemicist” and someone who thinks “from the neck up.” But I cannot deny my origins. I still love these songs and I cherish the memory of performing them for such a long time and in many venues with such lovely, thoughtful friends and gifted musicians.
Aschira: Jüdische Lieder (1980)
Michael Zank (vocals, guitar, perc.), Andreas Brosch (vocals, guitar, recorder), Helmut Weber (cello)
Arrangements by Michael Zank and Andreas Brosch. Recorded at Geistliches Rüstzentrum Krelingen on a Revox tape machine. Digitally remastered by Andreas Brosch.
Hashiveynu (Melody: M. Ben Uri, Lyrics: Lamentations 5:21)
Gam ki elekh (Melody: Shlomo Carlebach, Lyrics: Psalm 23:4)
Bashanah Haba’ah (Ehud Manor/Nurit Hirsh)
Yah Ribon (Melody: A. Rotenberg, Lyrics: Zemirot l’shabbat)
Hamol al ma’asekhah (Melody: Y. Calek, Lyrics: liturgy)
Tsam’ah Nafshi (Melody: Hasidic, Lyrics: Psalm 42:3 and 63:9)
Tsur Mishelo (Traditional)
Ata Honen (Lyrics: Liturgy (Shemoneh Esreh), Melody: R. S. Rockoff)
Horeyni Hashem (Lyrics Ps 27:11.13, Melody: Y. Begun)
Aschira (Lyrics: Psalm 104:33-35, Melody: Y. Calek)
Dus Kelbl (Text and melody: Shlomo Secunda)