Partisans of Vilna

Partisans of Vilna

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This collection of songs stems from the partisans (defiant freedom fighters) around the Vilna ghetto and woodlands in eastern Poland during World War II (though performed more recently for this album). The songs deal with the sorrows of occupation, of the then-contemporary murders, of life in a ghetto. They deal with everyday issues in a sense of escapism from what was not the everyday. They deal with the armed resistance movement fighting the Nazis sporadically in the forests, often alongside Russians working toward similar ends. The origins of specific songs range from theater productions within the ghetto to military marches to folk songs. Tying them together, however, is a constant sense of defiance. Whether overt as in the armed partisan marches, or covert as in the theater production pieces, there is a defiance of the authorities and of the times. There is also a sense of hope implanted within the otherwise often depressing works, in the chord structures somewhat, but more importantly within the lyrics, with references to the awaited dawn from the Kingdom of Night. The musical performance on the album leaves something to be desired, but the goal of the album in preservation of the culture and an important movement at an important time is served exceptionally nonetheless. For those interested solely in the music, this album should perhaps be avoided. For those interested in Eastern European Jewry of the time, and the culture in general, it may prove a powerful album.

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