Another example of coming full circle was having Zola star in the 2010 Annual Leah Todres Yiddish Song Festival.
Daughter of legendary Yiddish actress and singer Chayela Rosenthal, Zola is an accomplished stage performer, recording artist and Billboard award-winning songwriter. Zola’s sister, Nava Piatka, was the daughter that gravitated to singing and performing in Yiddish. Poet and songwriter, Leib Rosenthal, was her uncle.
While living in Boston, USA for many years, her career in music, performance coaching and entertainment blossomed. Zola has produced a number of original CDs, the latest of which is the jazz/soft-rock album “Here with You”. On the heels of her critically acclaimed live performance at Boston’s renowned Scullers Jazz Club, Zola returned to her home town of Cape Town and to her roots...to sing the Yiddish lyrics of her late uncle, the well-known poet and songwriter, Leib Rosenthal, who perished in the Holocaust.
This was the first time that Zola had performed in Yiddish.
Zola sang Leib Rosenthal’s ‘Ikh Benk Aheim - I Long for Home’ on stage at the Yiddish Song Festival and this is one of the songs you will hear in ‘Leah, Teddy & the Mandolin’. In her introduction Zola will explain the journey of that song from Vilnius to Cape Town, back to Vilnius, and then back here in Cape Town. Hopefully, with ‘Leah, Teddy & the Mandoin’ it will now reach out into the world.
A songwriter herself, Zola has adapted her late uncle’s song, giving it a personal context and
adapting some of the lyrics into English. This is a memorable performance that emphasizes the film’s powerful ability to reconnect us to our roots and provide us with a sense of continuity. ‘Taking roots’ has been a strong theme providing the audience an opportunity to reflect on their families’ history and the broader context of that not too distant time.
Another powerful song by Leib Rosenthal, which became the anthem of the Vilna Ghetto, is ‘Mir Lebn Eybik - We Shall Survive’.
This song is also to be heard in ‘Leah, Teddy & the Mandolin’.