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Lenka Lichtenberg: Canada’s World-Roots Troubairitz

Vocalist & composer Lenka Lichtenberg shines as one of the most ambitious and visionary artistic builders in a nation that proudly defines its human identity as a multicultural mosaic. The Prague-born soprano unites the world through sacred song in no less than seven languages -- Yiddish, English, Czech, French, Russian, Hebrew, and Roma -- in collaboration with leading world-roots instrumentalists and vocalists from the global diaspora. Her seven albums to date are far more than mere recordings in sequence; each one is its own groundbreaking idea, carefully manifested from the selection of songs and performers, to the recording environments, to the form and shape in which they are presented to the world. From her inspirational roots in Jewish liturgy and Yiddish poetry, Lichtenberg has branched out to become a bona fide world-roots troubairitz.

Lichtenberg’s stunning most recent contribution to the world-roots canon, in the company of her ensemble Fray (Yiddish for “Free”), is Embrace. Continuing in the tradition of the ensemble’s eponymous 2010 debut album, Embrace boldly forges uncharted terrain in new Yiddish music -- drawing on traditional songs and contemporary Yiddish poetry. Lichtenberg blends the tradition and language of Eastern European Jewish culture with unexpected sounds from Middle Eastern, Brazilian, and North Indian music, expertly animated by Canada’s leading Indo-Canadian and world fusion artists, including: Alan Hetherington (musical co-director, drums, pandeiro, percussion), Ravi Naimpally (tabla, darbuka), Ernie Tollar (flutes, saxophones), John Gzowski (guitars, oud), and Chris Gartner (bass). It was officially released in April 2013 at one of Canada’s signature performance venues, the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s Glenn Gould Studio.

Her next recording, to be unveiled in the spring of 2014, is Lullabies from Exile. This collaboration with world-renowned Iraqi-Jewish violinist, oud master, and vocalist Yair Dalal was recorded on three continents over a three-year span. The project intertwines Babylonian and Yiddish traditional music -- two branches of a tree that, while born from the same roots and trunk, grew in separate ways for so long.

The world’s top global-roots reviewers embrace Lenka Lichtenberg:

"Passionate and prolific, Lenka Lichtenberg is a force of nature within Canada’s world music scene.... Like Loreena McKennitt with Celtic sounds, Lichtenberg is pushing Yiddish music beyond its klezmer stereotype into a truly inspired form of world music." ~ Nicholas Jennings, Penguin Eggs (Canada)

“Embrace is world music in the truest sense of world fusion... It sends chills up and down your spine and makes the eyes moisten, and it is an absolute must-have for any serious world music aficionado… Perfectly consistent throughout, Embrace is a magical album full of charm and beauty that grips the listener and won't let go... already among my all-time favorites of the world fusion genre.” ~ Rich Sharma, Rainlore’s World of Music (U.K.)


Open My Eyes Eccodek Peripheral Vision Remix: collaboration with Eccodek's Andrew McPherson (2014)

Embrace: Lenka Lichtenberg with Fray (2013)

Songs for the Breathing Walls: Lenka Lichtenberg (2012)

Bridges: Live at Lula Lounge with Roula Said (2012)

Fray: Lenka Lichtenberg with Fray (2010)

Pashtes (Music to the Poetry of Simcha Simchovitch): Lenka Lichtenberg with Brian Katz (2006)

Open the Gate (2003)

Deep Inside (1999)

Awards & Nominations:

2013: Nominee, Canadian Folk Music Awards (CFMA), World Solo Artist of the Year

2013: Winner, Independent Music Awards Vox Populi, Best World Music Album

2013: Nominee, Independent Music Awards, Best World Music Song

2012: Winner, Canadian Folk Music Awards (CFMA) Traditional Singer of the Year

2012: Nominee, CFMA, Traditional Album of the Year

2011: Winner, CFMA, Musique de la Monde Porcupine Award

2011: Winner, Songs from the Heart World Music

2011: Nominee, Canadian Folk Music Awards, World Solo Artist of the Year

2011: Finalist, John Lennon Songwriting Competition, World Music

2008: Winner, CFMA Vocal Group of the Year (with Sheynville Express)
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