Mark Olf was for many years one of the best-known singers and composers of Yiddish and Hebrew songs in America. Born in Russia before the revolution, he emigrated to the United States as a boy and lived on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He became a teacher at the Henry Street Settlement, and he soon discovered that he could attract listeners as a singer, violinist, and guitarist, especially with his interpretations of Jewish folk songs in Yiddish and Hebrew. He later taught at Queens College, City University of New York, and at the University of Rhode Island. He also recorded four albums, three in Yiddish and one in Hebrew, built on traditional folk songs, for the Folkways label.
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