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The fiddle-ish fiddlers fiddled fiddlingly, both Irish and Jewish as "Der Rebbi Elimelech" puts it, and the subjects of the songs - love, laments, celebrations and craic - is quite universal in both Irish and Jewish cultures (and a lot others). There never developed a particular Irish Jewish music. Tenor Carl Nelkin, a trained aviation law consultant, selected his favourite songs, both Irish ballads (by composers such as Thomas Moore, Percy French, Herbert Hughes' "Star of the County Down", and the inevitable "Danny Boy") and songs from the Yiddish vaudeville theatre. Carl gives the latter the Irish treatment, accompanied by traditional Irish musicians.



Today there's yet no animosity, no matter what persuasion, but failte and hospitality inducing fresh acquaintance, as another song goes (which is not featured here). In these days when religion - at least regarding Christian-Jewish relations - is rarely a cause for conflict, Carl is proud of his heritage. The pride of an Irish Jew, denomination: Jewish, nation: Ireland: Many times the Jew's spirit is broken, he is overcome by the slightest wind. Nevertheless the greatest storm cannot uproot the beautiful tiny spark. That spark of Jewishness, so good, offers you honour and pride. Care for it, cherish it, guard it!
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In addition to doing legal and community work, Nelkin also performs as a part-time professional cantor and singer and recently released his first CD, ''Irish Heart - Jewish Soul.'' The collection, ''the only one of its kind in the world,'' features 14 songs, 7 drawn from the Yiddish theater, including ''Yankele'' and ''Dos Pintele Yid,'' and 7 traditional Irish songs, including ''Bantry Bay'' and ''Danny Boy,'' all backed by local musicians playing Irish instruments like the Uilleann pipes.
FolkWorld CD Reviews
New York Times Magazine