Lenka Lichtenberg

A child of a Holocaust survivor, Lenka Lichtenberg was born and raised in Prague, in the former Czechoslovakia. As a child star, she recorded several Top 10 hits, performed in the musical theatre Semafor with Jiri Suchy, and in various television programs. She received her first formal vocal training at the Prague Music Conservatory, and continued her education at the University of British Columbia. She obtained her Master of Arts degree in Ethnomusicology at York University in 1993; her thesis was on Yiddish music of the Holocaust. She has been teaching music at the Ryerson Polytechnic University in Toronto between 1997 and 2005.
Since her arrival to Canada, Lenka continued to perform in a variety of genres, including a stint with a rock band in British Columbia, and on Princess Cruiselines. She has now focused on work as a Yiddish performer, singer/songwriter and composer of both Jewish and universally-themed songs, and on cantorial study and work. As a solo performer, a part of a duo with Brian Katz, or fronting a band, she appears at a number of events each year, both in Canada and abroad, such as the Toronto Jewish Book Fair, the Ashkenaz Festival of New Yiddish Culture (1997, 1999, 2002 and 2004), and concerts in Prague (Spanelska Synagogue; Theatre Ungelt), Germany (Dresden, 2004), Vienna (klezmore! 2005), New York (June, 2005), Australia (Hobart, January, 2006) and England (Leeds, September, 2006).
Her first CD Deep Inside, produced by the Juno-award winner Ken Whiteley, received air-play on radio stations in a number of countries, including CBC Radio, which also carried her profile on the Global Village program in June, 2002 and again in June, 2004.
Her second CD Open The Gate, produced by Levon Ichkhanian, is a collection of all-original songs in English and French (give a listen to the samples!)
PASHTES (simplicity), Lenka’s third CD, is based on a cycle of poems by the Toronto Yiddish poet Simcha Simchovitch. With music composed by Lenka and arranged by Brian Katz, and co-produced by Brian and Lenka, the CD was released at the Ashkenaz Festival in September, 2006.
Lenka is also a bandleader, composer and arranger for Sisters of Sheynville, an all-female yiddish ‘swing-klez’ sextet, a brainchild of Isabel Fryszberg who, together with Lenka, fronts the band. Since first appearing in April of 2005, the ‘Sisters’ have been very busy performing at festivals and numerous venues. For more information about the Sisters of Sheynville, musical samples, photos and calendar, visit www.sistersofsheynville.ca or view the electronic press kit at www.sonicbids.com/SistersofSheynville. The band’s debut CD is slated for release in February, 2007.
LenkaSince 2001, Lenka has been studying cantorial music. She regularly leads the Torah service and Kabbalat Shabbat at Congregation Darchei Noam, and sings Kol Nidre and other prayers at Kolel’s High Holydays services for Rabbi Elyse Goldstein. One of Lenka’s planned projects is a recording of traditional and new liturgy, to include her own compositions. Tentatively slated for 2007.
Other than work with Brian Katz, the ‘Sisters’, her solo and cantorial work, Lenka is also planning to explore her mother’s story Jana Renee Friesova: Fortress of My Youth through a musical stage show based on historical songs from Terezin, and original music. She presented the nucleus of this program at Toronto’s Jewish Mosaic Festival in June, 2006. Stay tuned!
As a child of a Holocaust survivor, Lenka is deeply passionate about her heritage (which did not include Yiddish), and the importance of cultural identity in our lives in general. She writes about many different topics, such as her craving for understanding between secular and religious Jews (‘One Day, A Conversation’). Check out her original songs!
Lenka is thrilled to have the opportunity to let her music speak to many different people around the world. She can’t wait to hear from you. Write a note! Write an e-mail! Hope you enjoy the music!