Europe one regularly hears a wide vari-
ety of ethnic music "and we never called
it 'world music' — we just called it
Her own music could be classified as
folk, she says. Joan Baez, Pete Seeger
and the Weavers first influenced her in
the 1960s, when, accompanying herself
on guitar, she moved beyond tradition-
al romantic Hebrew songs and began
singing about the struggles of real life.
But during her long career as a top
album seller in Israel with almost 50
recordings since the late '60s, many of
them now gold or platinum, she has
sung just about everything — from
folk- to rock to pop, Israeli and foreign,
even children's songs. Along the way,
she's earned comparisons to Baez and
Edith Piaf and Judy Collins as - well.
Alberstein believes the term "world
music" was "born in the United States
because everything' that is not
American is 'world music.'
'But to me, Frank Sinatra and Elvis
Presley is 'world music,'" she says, light-
ly tweaking our American-centrism.
"Every good music is 'world music.'
That is the magic of songs. Even if
you don't understand the words, you
can relate to it. You can even create
your own words sometimes."
Whatever one calls it, the "world
music" genre has created a new market
andd - a new respect for other cultures.
And that is positive, she says.
"I like it because it brings a lot of
people who maybe didn't hear the
music before, because now there are
`world music festivals' and Americans
are much more open to it."
She notes that instead of just per-
forming for the Jewish community in
America, she now is being asked to
perform at art centers.
"Ten and 15 years ago you didn't see
African groups and. European groups
performing in art centers. It is good,"
Yiddish Booster .
Alberstein always has had a love of
Yiddish. She is increasingly recording
in the language, including last year's
collaboration, The Well, with the
Klezmatics, and the recently released
Foreign Letters, a Rounders re-release
of an album originally on a French
label that includes six Yiddish songs.
"I'm a freak of Yiddish literature and
Yiddish poetry for many, many years; I
have a big library. I still can't figure
out why it happened," she says.
While she has sung Yiddish songs
throughout her career, or put Yiddish
writings to her own music, she now
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Alberstein's recent releases include
"Foreign Letters," a Rounders
re-release of an album originally
on a French label that includes
six Yiddish songs, and last year's
collaboration with The Klezmatics,
writes some of her own songs in Yiddish.
"I have many more in my head," she
says. "I'm very happy, but it's some-
thing really crazy. I don't do it for ide-
alistic reasons, though there is some-
thing to keeping Yiddish alive and giv-
ing it some fresh feelings.
. It is an inspiration. When I see a
beautiful poem in Yiddish, the music
And how does she characterize her
Oct. 10 performance?
"It's like a journey into Israeli and
Jewish history through music and sto-
ries," she says. "Some are very person-
al, some are very funny, some are
melancholy; it is an experience."
She adds, "It is also a chance to see
something from Israel that is not just
the tanks and the war and terrible
things that are part of this country, but
also another side that is part of this
country. The more spiritual side." ❑
Chava Alberstein performs 8
p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, at Royal
Oak Theatre, 318 W. Fourth
Street, in Royal Oak. Doors at 7
p.m. Ages 21 and older. $35-
$60. (248) 544-7949.
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