Boston Yiddish Radio days

Leyke became a regular on Boston Jewish radio for over 25 years, using her maiden name, Leyke Post, and collaborating closely with legendary hosts Isadore Katz, Samuel Fisher, and Ben Gailing. Choosing to stay in Boston rather than pursue a career in New York, she became a regular entertainer at local events and a featured performer at the Workmen’s Circle Camp in Framingham, Massachusetts, where she had the opportunity to collaborate with the world’s top Yiddish singers and entertainers including Menashe Oppenheim, Sholem Tanyen of the Vilner Trupe, and the aforementioned Isa Kremer.

Her sons David and Henry both followed in her footsteps, learning and performing Yiddish repertoire, and David became a major star in New York’s Yiddish Theatre revival of the 1970s and 1980s (until his untimely death in 1985). Leyke moved to New York in 1978, immediately gaining recognition in her own right, performing with David, on WEVD radio, in numerous off-Broadway productions, and as Woody Allen’s grandmother in the film “Radio Days.” In her later years, her son Henry kept her in the loop, regularly bringing her to Circle Lodge and Klezkamp, where she charmed a new generation with her rich and imaginative performances of obscure and forgotten repertoire. She died in 2004 at the age of 97.

When I met Leyke, she was in her early eighties, not exactly the prime age for a trained singer. It was only more recently that I became aware that some of her radio performances had survived, thanks to the efforts of her son Henry and pioneering Yiddish music activist Hank Sapoznik. I am delighted to have the opportunity to share these recordings with all of you so that you can experience the joy of Yiddish folksong – as it’s meant to be sung.

December 8, 2009