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Elisa Korenne | Oy Vey: Is Jewish for Uff-Da (Live in Concert)

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Folk: Modern Folk Spiritual: Jewish Folk Moods: Type: Live Recordings
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Oy Vey: Is Jewish for Uff-Da (Live in Concert)

by Elisa Korenne

A live story-and-song concert that tells the true, little-known, stranger-than-fiction stories of Jewish immigrants who settled in the rural Upper Midwest. (Alternate title for east- and west-coasters: 'Uff-da' is Midwestern for 'Oy Vey'.)
Genre: Folk: Modern Folk
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Introduction to oy Vey (Uff-Da')
0:48 $0.99
2. Introduction to Moishe the Peddler
0:54 $0.99
3. Moishe the Peddler
2:09 $0.99
4. Definitions of Oy Vey and Uff-Da
1:31 $0.99
5. Introduction to Courthouse Synagogue
1:08 $0.99
6. Courthouse Synagogue
3:06 $0.99
7. Introduction to Hold On
2:05 $0.99
8. Hold On (The Dr. Bronner Song)
3:27 $0.99
9. Jewish Life On the Plains
3:43 $0.99
10. Sweet Dakotaland
0:52 $0.99
11. Mail Order Bride (The Rachel Calof Song)
3:09 $0.99
12. Introduction to I Can Do It Too
1:00 $0.99
13. I Can Do It Too (The Sophie Trupin Song)
2:04 $0.99
14. Introduction to When Feathers Flew
0:42 $0.99
15. When Feathers Flew (The Wadena Song)
2:53 $0.99
16. An Explosive 4th of July
1:39 $0.99
17. Introduction to Look Into My Eyes
0:26 $0.99
18. Look Into My Eyes (The Sanford Berman Rap)
2:45 $0.99
19. Sabbath On the Farm
2:39 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes

"The show was fantastic – featuring a fun mix of storytelling, audience interaction, song/music performance, teaching moments, and so much more. Elisa is as professional as they come, both on and off stage, and gave a strong, thoughtful, humorous and heart-warming performance that our audience loved – from teens to senior citizens. We would gladly bring her back in the future, and highly recommend Elisa and ‘Oy Vey’ to any venue. 
-- Claire Avitabile, Director of Performing Arts, Sabes JCC, Minneapolis, MN

“ 'Oy Vey is Jewish for Uff-dah' " is one of those performances that is difficult to describe – because it’s so rich and complex. Elisa thoughtfully weaves stories and songs together that both entertain and inform the audience. The performance is fun, engaging, and heartfelt with original songs that charm - even our rural audience."
-- Taylor Barnes, Director, The Arts Center, Jamestown, ND


'Oy Vey' is Jewish for 'Uff-da' is an award-winning story-and-song concert by performing artist Elisa Korenne known for her songs and showcases that tell eclectic stories in edgy and elegant acoustic and rock.

In this engaging live performance, Elisa intersperses her original songs with story-vignettes and explanations about Jewish culture. Elisa's warm stage persona invites audiences to relax and enjoy unlikely and fascinating stories from history, her intelligent and engaging songs have audiences singing along, and her rich voice has listeners asking for more.

Elisa specializes in writing songs about unique and uncommon individuals and events generally left out of the historical canon. She crafts poignant, always entertaining songs out of their lives and words.


The idea for ‘Oy Vey’ is Jewish for ‘Uff-da!' originated in Elisa Korenne's experience moving from New York City, where she lived next door to millions of fellow Jews, to New York Mills, where she was the only Jewish person for 100 miles, or so it seemed. Strangely, Elisa noticed Jewish names on street signs and store awnings, and she began to wonder why. With her experience writing songs based in history, Elisa started researching the Jews who once lived near her new hometown. She discovered that in the 19th- and 20th-centuries, many Jews immigrated to the rural upper Midwest, a good number of them to be farmers. Elisa had never heard of Jewish farmers, and she was smitten with the idea of learning more about them. Elisa's research into the history of Jews in the rural Upper Midwest has been transformed with songwriting and storytelling into a fascinating hour of stories and songs about this small, unlikely, and mostly extinct group of rural Minnesotans, North Dakotans, and other Midwestern Jews. ‘Oy Vey!’ is Jewish for ‘Uff-da!’ bridges a large gap in the knowledge of and about Jews around the country, especially in this area where Jews are uncommon. The show makes people laugh and empathize with some of the most fascinating characters in history.

The creation of the concert and its songs and stories was made possible by support from Rimon: the Minnesota Jewish Arts Council, the Howard B. Brin Jewish Arts Endowment Fund, the Friends of B’nai Abraham, the Jewish Historical Society of the Upper Midwest, the Lakes Region Arts Council, and the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund.


Singer-songwriter Elisa Korenne writes intimately introspective songs about her pathways, and the pathways of fringe figures in history. What binds these disparate life journeys is a profound and poetic sensitivity for the human condition. “My work is about cultivating empathy and opening minds and hearts,” Elisa says.

Elisa’s sophisticated accessibility has garnered her favorable comparisons to Liz Phair, Sarah McLachlan, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Melissa Etheridge, and Aimee Mann. She’s performed both nationally and internationally, an overseas highlight being headlining the Nevers-a-Vif music festival in France. Her live resume includes a variety of performing contexts, from exquisite singer-songwriter establishments to theatrical venues where she performs story-and-song concerts based on her oddball character-study compositions.

She’s earned songwriting awards from the Plowshares Songwriting Contest, Sisters Folk Festival, Great American Song Contest, Song of the Year, Song Prize, and the Philadelphia Songwriters’ Project. Elisa’s songs have graced networks such as HBO, VH1, and ABC. The preeminent independent music retailer CD Baby hails Elisa as “one of the best we’ve ever heard,” and Singer & Musician magazine says she “belongs on anyone’s must-play list.” In addition to these accolades, Elisa has received artistic fellowships from The Jerome Foundation, the Ucross Foundation, the Hedgebrook Foundation, Isle Royale National Park, and the Brush Creek Ranch Foundation. Her stunning new album, Concrete, is her most seamless collection of eclectic pop-rock. On it, she gracefully weaves through styles and diversely compelling stories with an assured artistic identity.

Concrete is a scrapbook chronicling character-defining moments in the life of Elisa, and the eccentric personalities she unearths through probing the recesses of folkloric Americana. Taken on an autobiographical level, the songs span a pivotal period in Elisa’s life when the city girl moved from Brooklyn, New York—a metropolis with a population of 8.25 million—to New York Mills, Minnesota, a nook of a town with a population of 1,197.

The album title, Concrete, represents the shifts happening in Elisa’s physical and sentimental landscape during this transitory time. “In New York, I was surrounded by concrete, the streets, the buildings, and the sidewalks. But, at the same time, I didn’t have emotional concreteness,” she reveals. The album documents Elisa finding bliss through a centering love relationship and the sweet simplicity of rural domesticity. Complimenting these revelatory personal narratives are fascinating, quasi-mythical tales of eccentrics that time may have forgotten. “There is something about these oddball characters that everyone can relate to,” she says. Tying these perspectives together is Elisa’s emotional eloquence which dynamically shifts from blunt realism to floral pensiveness.

Concrete is refreshingly diverse, spanning slinky funk-rock, “Lean Into The Curve”; quaintly graceful pop-rock, “Know Better”; and smoldering sophisticated adult contemporary pop-rock, “Concrete.” Elisa navigates this refreshing eclecticism with aplomb, shifting her richly expressive voice from swaggering sass, to subtle flirty sensuality, to slow-burn emotionality.

An album highlight showcasing her astounding lyric writing is the gripping “Love to Love,” a song based on the life of Victoria Woodhull (1838-1927). Victoria was a pioneering feminist, the first woman to run for president, the first woman to publish a newspaper, and the first woman to own a Wall Street bank. In her own words she was “too many years ahead of this age.” “Love to Love” is like a fireworks display of Elisa’s dazzling literacy, a style best explained by the description “grit with grace.” Here she sings such harrowing lines as: Born in a wooden shack in Homer, telling fortunes for my keep/My father starved and hit me; doctor wed me at 15/Two kids and one drunk husband, who squandered all our dough/I was an actress, whore, and psychic for a Travelling Medicine Show.

Elisa’s creativity is wonderfully fluid. Live she riffs storyteller/comedian style on her quirky historical character studies, enriching her music performances with compelling backstories and charming wit. Recently, she developed the story on Concrete’s “100 Miles To Nowhere” into a humorous and touching memoir about her move from New York City to New York Mills titled Hundred Miles To Nowhere: An Unlikely Love Story.

Listening to Concrete it’s striking how Elisa can step outside herself and inside of others to pen songs that resonate so broadly. But that’s the crux of her work: sharing feelings with boldness and authenticity.



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