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Photo by Joe Eskow

Photo by Joe Eskow


Allan Blye at Mameloshen Festival: “All of Winnipeg is my family”

by Rhonda J. Prepes, June 23, 2013

Former Winnipeg Allan Blye was a fantastic choice to entertain at the Winnipeg Mameloshen Festival of Yiddish Entertainment and Culture. He told a bevy of jokes about Winnipeg and encouraged the audience to sing along to classic Hebrew and Yiddish tunes.

Accompanied by Ron Paley on the piano (who was also superb), Blye got everyone singing a zemer or melody right from the start. He then regaled the audience with Hineh Ma Tov Oo Manyeem, Pitchoo Lee, Lecha Dodee and numerous variations of Yiddish songs with the words Bim Bom in them.

The audience was awe-struck by his fabulous singing abilities as he sung a Yiddish song about a tailor, a blacksmith and a wagon driver who are listening to a cantor singing and each have their own reaction .

Blye talked about shopping at Gunn’s Bakery 30 years ago and seeing the whole Jewish community there and then he began to name them.

He reminisced about going from football practise at St. John’s high school to Cantor Moshe Jacob’s house for singing lessons. And he recalled with enjoyment his experience singing on Noah Whitman’s weekly Yiddish show on CKBS over 40 years ago.

Blye had the audience in stitches with Herschel Fox and Norman Mittlemann’s Yiddish rendition of Old Man River. At least I think it was Old Man River. It was called Alte Mun Tych.

“I am not concerned about entertaining you. I am having the best time in my life being here with you and singing,” said Blye who also studied under Cantor Brownstone.

He then hounoured his late mother and all Jewish mothers by singing “My Yiddishe Mame”.

“I am a throw-back to another era of singing,” said Blye who had an extensive singing, writing, and producing career in Canada and the U.S.

For his finale Blye sang a song he composed about Winnipeg and received a standing ovation from the grateful audience.

“I travel around the world, but I still come home to Winnipeg.”



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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.