Arkady Gendler’s musical soundscape is a unique reflection of the diverse and cosmopolitan influences on Yiddish folk and popular song, from the late 19th to the mid-20th century..... A self-taught, natural lyrical tenor, Arkady sings here a sample from his extensive repertoire, with the focus on songs that he himself composed, or for which he wrote complete or partial original lyrics.

Arkady Gendler

Yidishe Lider

Genres: Yiddish, World.


1. Zay freylekh 2:53
2. Kh’hob nit gezen 4:33
3. Fargest nit Soroke 2:48
4. Es shvebt a lid iber Parizh 3:04
5. Khaves tekhter 4:40
6. Tsum shtam 3:43
7. Mayn shtetl Soroke 4:18
8. Shik mir a shtral 6:06
9. Zumer Veymar 3:18
10. Zingt oyf yidish 3:52
11. Kiever shayn 4:42
12. Viner vals 2:49
13. Nit in shtot 2:34
14. Tsvishn gold bazunte lonkes 4:16
15. Di hoydlke 4:30
16. Khaveyrim fun kindhayt 4:36
Total time 66:18

Arkady Gendler ~ Yidishe Lider

Arkady Gendler Avrom (Arkady) Gendler was born on November 29, 1921 in Soroke, Bessarabia. The tenth child of Rokhl and Elkhonen, Arkady grew up in a poor, but culturally rich environment. Everyone in the family sang, and the siblings formed the core of a Yiddish theatre club that performed often in their hometown.

Arkady Gendler Because Soroke was, at that time, part of Romania, the Gendler family spoke Romanian outside the home. But at home they spoke Yiddish — and only Yiddish. Arkady remembers a wealth of Yiddish repertoire from these pre-war years: children’s rhymes, poetry, folk songs, theatre songs, religious hymns, and the songs of political youth organisations. It was in Yiddish that he discovered many of the world classics.

Arkady attended a community-run Jewish elementary school for four years. Because of limited finances, he had to leave middle school at age eleven to begin working with his father as tailor. When the Second World War reached the Soviet Union, Arkady was drafted into the Soviet Army. He lost nearly all of his immediate family in the war - only one brother and one sister survived.

Arkady Gendler Demobilised in the Moscow region, Arkady began to attend a free evening school. Within a few years, financing his studies as a woman’s tailor, he graduated from a technological institute as a chemist. He was sent to Zaporozhye (Ukraine) and worked as specialist on polymers. He married, and the young family enjoyed a socially rich and active life.

Throughout the Soviet era, Arkady was often asked to sing Yiddish songs for his friends. Known for his natural lyrical tenor and his phenomenal memory, he helped keep Yiddish song alive. The eventual collapse of the Soviet system meant the beginning of a new era, as Yiddish could be spoken freely again. As one of few remaining with memories of Yiddish life and traditions from before the war, Arkady played a pivotal role in the rebirth of Yiddish and Jewish culture in Zaporozhye, and beyond.

Since the early 1990s, Arkady has travelled and performed at Yiddish culture festivals throughout the world - a popular artist, a gentle teacher, and loving mentor. He continues to travel to this day, generously sharing his priceless knowledge and repertoire.

(research by Janina Wurbs; the CD documentation includes a full biographical essay by J.W. in Yiddish, English and Russian)

  • Arkady Gendler — vocals
  • Nandor Szederkenyi — violin
  • Agnes Furlinger — viola, violin
  • Merike Hilmar — violoncello
  • Alan Bern — piano, accordion
  • Christian Dawid — clarinet, alto saxophone
  • Paul Brody — trumpet
  • Eric Stein — mandolin
  • Christian Kogel — guitar
  • Roman Grinberg — piano

Recorded in Vienna, October 12-15, 2011
by Georg Luksch at Home-music Studios
Arrangements by Christian Dawid
Graphic design and photography by Avia Moore
32-page booklet includes liner notes by Christian Dawid; biography of Arkady Gendler; all Yiddish lyrics in Latin transliteration; English song translations.
The accompanying PDF also includes Yiddish transcriptions; Cyrillic transliterations; Russian translations; a biographical essay by Janina Wurbs in Yiddish, English and Russian; a musicological essay by Joel Rubin in English and Russian.
Produced by Christian Dawid