REVIEWS OF THE CD
**** SONGLINES APRIL 2018
Witty lost songs by turn-of-the-century East Enders. Don’t Ask Silly Questions is a remarkable compilation of popular Yiddish songs that were heard in London’s East End in the late 19th and early 20th centuries... It’s a repertoire that is totally unknown today and this album is testament to the initiative and research carried out by Katsha’nes’ vocalist (and scholar) Vivi Lachs.
The four women in the Katsha’nes quartet are talented and versatile musicians who move seamlessly between many styles, often composing music for songs where only the lyrics have survived. They catch the different moods of the various songs, perfectly expressing the challenges, strangeness and dark comedy of the immigrant experience…
The album is full of surprises. It retrieves forgotten popular songs and tells us of the historical Jewish immigrant experience with a great deal of relevance for our times.
THE CABLE OCTOBER 2017
What a joy!
In this age of when the public have chosen to categorise songs of tradition and the genre …of protest song together, here you have exponents of the sharp edged, barbed urban statement straight from the streets where the Jewish immigrant encountered England…
The sentiments expressed in the lyrics and melodies that Katsha'nes bouyantly perform on this CD, are those of the first annotated generation of “Agunot” (The chained women tied by religious law to the men who deserted them.). A situation explained by the spiky performance on this release of the song “Di brivelekh fun Rusland – Letters from Russia”. Abrasive too are items “London bay nakht/London by night”; “Azoy geyt dos gelt avek/That's how the money goes”.
Katsha' nes here give voice to some souls of the immigrant settling generation, not so much the communities of Yiddish speaking “Lantsmun*”, but mainly to the children of the ghetto suffocated by a constricted claustrophobic environment, full of dark and dimly lit alley ways and shadowy tenant courtyards that needed a lighter touch