Friday 29 April 2016


SHMUEL VIGODA (October 8, 1895-December 11, 1990)
            He was born in Dobzhin (Dobrzyn), Plotsk district, Poland, to a father who was a cantor.  As a youth he moved with his parents to Hungary, studied in religious primary school, in the Pressburg (Bratislava) and Klausenburg (Cluj-Napoca) yeshivas, and later graduated from high school.  He worked for a time as a Hebrew teacher in a village.  Over the years 1916-1918, he served in the Austrian military and was on the Russian front, later settling in Budapest where in 1923 he worked as a cantor for the Arena Street Synagogue.  From 1923 he was living in the United States.  He took up cantorial positions in New York and other cities.  He visited Europe, as well as Central and South America.  He began writing on the cantorial art in Di shul un di khazonim velt (The synagogue and the world of cantors) in Warsaw (1934).  From that point he wrote about cantors for: the anthology Khazones, zamlbukh (Cantorial art, anthology) (New York, 1937); in Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal; Forverts (Forward), Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal, and Tog (Day) in New York; Di shtime (The voice) in Mexico City; among others.  He adapted and wrote music for poetry by Yiddish and Hebrew poets.  In album format: Goles-kinder un shtumer protest (Diaspora children and quiet protest) (New York, 1930), 6 pp.  From June 1959 he published every Friday in Forverts a popular series of articles, “Barimte khazonim” (Famous cantors).

Sources: E. Zaludkovski, Kultur-treger fun der yidisher liturgye (Culture bearers of the Jewish liturgy) (Vilna, 1930), pp. 282-83; Khazones, zamlbukh (Cantorial art, anthology) (New York) (1937), pp. 171-72; S. Kahan, Muzikalishe eseyen (Musical essays) (Mexico City, 1956), pp. 135-36; Sh. Secunda, in Forverts (New York) (June 26, 1959).

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