Jamie O. Nov Blog 2: Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, news.

“BRAVA! What a beautiful performance! Thank you so very, very much. Please let me know what I can do to make this dream happen. Know that you were your traditional brilliant self and your audience adored you.”

(Belinda Bremner, Writer, Actor, Producer)

A Note from Jamie
November Part 2
Ready for Anything

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-Thanksgiving Blog for Caregivers
-SongNotes: Rozhinkes mit Mandlen/Raisins and Almonds
-Update on Roots in Ireland
-What’s next? Midwinter Concert, podcast

Our In Old Chicago concert November 6 was a rousing success! A full house, and a lovely reception to the new show, and a standing ovation. Thank you Chief O’Neill’s, and my fellow performers: John, Chris and Judi.

I’ve written a blog for Thanksgiving that honors the caregivers. Appreciating the angels doing this tough work. My latest SongNotes blog features Rozinkes mi Mandlen/Raisins and Almonds, a Yiddish song I recorded on Pasiones. (One of my best.)


The Roots in Ireland project has an UPDATED project page for sponsors and donors, amazing progress! Watch for more In Old Chicago events this spring. Coming this winter, for the hygge time, a mid-winter lullabies and lovesongs concert and my new Jamie O’Reilly Roots Podcast for subscribers!

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hanukkah! Peace, Jamie

Sorting a Life (Blog Excerpt)

No one is useless in this world… who lightens
the burden of it for any one else.
— Our Mutual Friend, Charles Dickens

THINGS, in crates and boxes, shelves and drawers, burgeoning closets, under the bed, over the top, need to be gone through. These possessions, a road map to how they lived, what they invested in, what they put-off till tomorrow. A living history of who they were.

The British call caretakers “carers.” I like that. It is an arduous job, infused with gravitas, as we grapple with the immediate and what is needed to get over the next hurdle. Seeing someone through the end days, when aging and deteriorating conditions have advanced, wipes us out. We do not have the luxury of making sense of the past, of who they are, who they were. Of contemplating what-ifs — what we wished they’d been to us, or how it could have been different. It is nose-to-the grindstone.

As we sort possessions, manage paperwork and finances, what we need is a few hours more sleep, and a stronger back!

Peace-of-mind, what we hope they will leave us with, may be a long time coming. We wish for angels.

(from Sorting a LIfe, Jamie’s blog for the Caregivers)
Read the full essay: https://www.jamieoreilly.com/sorting-a-life-jamies-blog-for-the-caregivers/

This holiday season, as Hanukkah approaches Sunday, I offer this song, with a solemn wish for
unity, peace and sweet memories of family, and for those who’ve gone before us.

Rozhinkes mit Mandlen ראָזשינקעס מיט מאַנדלען
Raisins and Almonds
Based on a traditional Yiddish lullaby
Arranged by Abraham Goldfaden
for the 1880 musical Shulamis

I first heard Rozhinkes mit Mandlen in 1996 while researching music for a folk-cabaret Michael Smith and I were creating, based on the stories and songs of the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, the brave battalion that fought as part of the International Brigades. Pasiones: Songs of the Spanish Civil War would see many live performances, radio appearances, and is one of our most beloved recordings. We recorded Pasiones, with my niece Katrina on piano, in front of a live audience at WFMT Studio in Chicago in 1997. Michael and I did a radio interview about Pasiones with Studs Terkel, and it was Studs who wrote our CD liner notes. We performed Pasiones for the last time in 2011 on WFMT’s Folkstage series. (Read about Pasiones.)

Listening to Lincoln Brigade veteran Max Parker’s Al Tocar Diana: At the Break of Dawn, on cassette, (issued in 1982 by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings), I was struck by the beauty of Rozhinkes, which was included among many songs I came to learn. and love. This song was well suited to the timbre of my lyric soprano range. Singing it became a dramatic point for me in our show. A nurse is caring for a dying soldier, who asks her to sing him a lullaby. Our track starts with Michael’s lovely Martin guitar accompanying me for a verse, Katrina enters on a piano for the lilting “Ay” section.

Chicago’s cultural scene in the mid-nineties was a joy to be part of. A group of performers (myself included) whose interests went beyond formal classical music or musical theater, were getting a hearing in the public programming at the Chicago Cultural Center. And being paid! Among us were Sima and Arnold Miller, whose performance of Yiddish songs was revered.

I was also taken with the singing of Martha Schlamme (née Haftel; September 25, 1923 – October 6, 198 an Austrian-born American singer and actress, whom I’d heard on Studs Terkel’s radio program. Her repertoire and style inspired me to expand my musical palette, to integrate art song and folk music. She performed in over a dozen langauges, giving the songs genuine mood and depth.

Inspired by these pros, I was coached for the recording by my friend, musician Stuart Rosenberg (who had produced Yiddish Theater, and produced our Pasiones recording). I learned the Yiddish, approaching it as I did the artsongs I’d tackled in music school.

In my nearly 40 year professional career, in addition to my native English, I have sung in Olde English, Gaelic, Greek, Latin, Russian, Hebrew, Swedish, German, Italian, French, Spanish, Ladino, Portuguese, Yiddish and Catalan.
Pasiones has songs in six languages!

(MORE on the blog)

Listen to Rozhinkes mit Mandlen & Read the full Blog

The Roots in Ireland Project had a successful event in November, at Chief O’Neill’s Pub, with a concert, a raffle, and a full house. With this dream project, I am celebrating my musical and literary heritage and inviting others to do the same. I have created an extensive marketing and fundraising effort for the yearlong-plus project, including recording a new song and producing a video. All the concerts have sold-out!

Read more about Sponsorships & the project https://www.jamieoreilly.com/updated-roots-in-ireland-sponsor-and-donor-page/

I am collaborating with women-owned businesses and engaging skilled artisans. Donors and Sponsorships are sought for the trip to Dublin. Your support is needed and appreciated! – Jamie

Coming in This Winter!

Serenades, Lullabies and Lovesongs
A Midwinter Concert
Tre Kronor Swedish Bistro (upper room)
NEW The Jamie O’Reilly Roots Podcast

Photos by Jamie O’Reilly, Iwona Biedermann
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