Saša Bartošová, Ruth Fraňková, Elena Hornová, Helena Klímová, Markéta Konečná, Michal Kostiuk: clarinet, Pavla Kostiuková, Martin Lepšík: solo (24), Lucie Lucká-Mertová, Yvona Lucká-Škrdlantová, Sára Mertová, Vida Neuwirthová, Lukáš Pellar, Václav Pištecký, Alžběta Rejšková, Tereza Rejšková, Hana Rothová: percussion, Helena Rothová: piano, percussion, Miki Roth: solo (6–12), Hana Skoumalová, Zdena Skoumalová, Jan Skoumal, Anna Sterecová, Bohdana Škrdlantová, Irena Tausingerová-Berkovičová: violin, Petr Vacek, Hana Vyhnálková, Miroslav Vyhnálek
Hana Rothová: artistic leader, song arrangement
Vladimír Merta: guitar
Kristina Bělohlávková: cello (6, 11) guest artist
Mishpaha Quartet (18)
Helena Rothová, Pavla Kostiuková, Martin Lepšík, Michal Kostiuk
Petr Jelínek: bassoon, Michal Kostiuk: clarinet, Ruben Lang: violin,
Martin Lepšík: guitar, Tereza Rejšková: violin,
Helena Rothová: piano, Miroslav Vyhnálek: guitar
A Prague choir that arranges and performs Chassidic, Yiddisch, and Hebrew songs.
About 15 years ago, a few women decided that instead of morely gossiping about the impossibility of free expression and the notorious oppression of Jewish culture by the totalitarian regime, they ought to fight against it in the simplest way: a Jewish song.
While the youngest children were sleeping, in the bedrooms of Prague flats, the first choir was forming, which would study and spread something natural and hard to ignore – folk and religious songs. The choir emerged from the inner needs of a nationality which was initilally neglected. Even membershipping in the choir was to be an almost subversive act against the regime, as was folk music in general, which was proved by the role of singers and of folk songs during the “velvet revolution”.
The choir spread not only songs, but also tooling of national identity. About 15 people were shaping its image. Today, although their first two CD recordings have boosted the morale and dedication of its members, Mishpaha still means the same tradition of family singing, which can be heard at concerts, as well as al religious fetivities and ceremonies in the newly established Jewish Community at Prague.
The greatest experience of family singing is the simplest one: more important than your professionality its the fact, (if) that your heart is in the right place and you have faith.
The Mishpaha choir was for a certain period of time accompanied by Vladimír Merta, a singer songwriter and one of those “crazy, angry young men”, who started his own little personal battle with the regime 25 years ago, and is in a sense continuing it even now.
The artistic direction and arranging of the Chassidic songs was originally by Dr. Hana Rothová, now by her daughter Helena-Ester Rothová-Divecká, who also accompanies the choir on piano. Helena’s father is a well-known singer from Prague’s Alt Neu (Old New) Synagogue, Miki Roth, who is the source of authentic tradition. The rest of the singers are people of all different backrounds: students, pupils, doctor, psychologists, linguistics, scientists, and three actors. Irena Tausingerová accompanies the Mishpaha choir with her almost klezmer violin, Michal Kostiuk enriches the choir with his brilliant clarinet.
The choir has been in Israel, where it attended the world Congress of Czech Jewry. Any interest or contact with local groups, promoters or cultural antivities would certainly be both of great help and reward. Perhaps some sort of cultural exchange at the semi official level would be the most appropriate.