YIDDISH in Canada
YIDDISH in Canada
7. 5. 2012
The fourth Mameloshen Festival of Yiddish Entertainment and Culture.
“The Rady JCC is pleased to be working with the I.L. Peretz Folk School Endowment Trust in presenting this wonderful series which plays an integral role in preserving the place that Yiddish has in our community”
The Winnipeg Art Gallery will host the festival May 22, 31 and June 13 to 14.
As a spectacular finale to the 2012 festival, Mameloshen will bring to life excerpts from “Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish.”
“Just about everyone in the modern world knows Fiddler on the Roof and this production of excerpts will feature the best known songs, with simultaneous translations in English,” Barr added.
The first Yiddish language film ever to be shot in Canada, and the second in North America in over 70 years, is set to shoot mid October 2011.
The 2nd International Yiddish Theatre Festival sponsored by the Segal Centre for the Performing Arts will be held June 13-22, 2011 in Montreal, Quebec.
KlezKanada’s Festival of Yiddish Culture
This year’s 15th edition of KlezKanada’s Festival of Yiddish/Jewish Culture and the Arts, take place in a Laurentian camp from Aug. 16-22. After the Holocaust, surviving Jews who started a new life in America would have nothing to do with klezmer, which reminded them of old times, bad times. As far as most people in the community were concerned, they had absolutely no idea what klezmer music was all about. The klezmer revival started in the mid-’70s, a music that had basically died along with victims of the Second World War. Maybe only half-a-dozen people were the key figures who searched through attics and cellars and found old 78s and located some musicians who were still alive.
The festival’s biggest drawing card this year are The Other Europeans, a 14-member group of top-ranked musicians from all over performing traditonal music in fresh and innovative ways. Members will give workshops in the camp, and perform a major concert at the Outremont Theatre on Sept. 2, under the auspices of the first edition of The Main: Montreal’s Jewish Music Festival.
The camp offers a unique scholarship program, including 75 to 100 students per class, age 10 to 35. Popular local star Josh (Socalled) Dolgin is a graduate of the program, and plays at the debut edition of Montreal’s Jewish Music Festival from Aug. 29-Sept. 2, a program put together by Klez-Kanada that also includes such notables as Marilyn Lerner, Okto Echo, and The Moshav Band.
Sam Hoffer migrated with his parents from Romania at age 7 to “Hoffer” in Sasketchewan. Hoffer is a Jewish farming community on the Canadian prairies founded in the early 1900s by distant relatives of the same name. Sam Hoffer have now become a Jewish stand-up comedian and have made a lovely CD full of stories in Yiddish. The CD includes an introduction and five stories, each between eight and 13 minutes. “Meyn Kompyuter” is about the trials and tribulations of a first-time computer user. “The Bureaucrat” presents a picture of the hardships involved in working for the government. “The Washroom” is about coping with calls of nature when you’re at the theater. “The Customer” is about the frustrations of trying to find both the right department and a sales person in a department store. And “My Dear Neighbor” is yet another take on the old grass is greener on the other side syndrome.
“S’helft Nisht Keyn Krekhtsn!” (“There’s No Use Complaining!”). The CD is available on iTunes http://www.cdbaby.com and elsewhere.
סאַם כאַפער מייגרייטיד מיט זייַן עלטערן פון רומעניע אין עלטער 7 צו “כאַפער” אין סאַסקעטטשעוואַן. כאַפער איז אַ ייִדיש פאַרמינג קהילה אויף די קאַנאַדיאַן פּרייריז געגרינדעט אין דער פרי 1900ס דורך ווייַט קרובים פון דעם זעלבן נאָמען. סאַם כאַפער האָבן איצט ווערן אַ ייִדיש שטיין-אַרויף קאַמידיאַן און האָבן געמאכט אַ שיינע סי פול פון דערציילונגען אין ייִדיש. די סי ינקלודז אַ הקדמה און פינף דערציילונגען, יעדער צווישן אַכט און 13 מינוט. “מיין קאָמפּיוטער” איז וועגן די נסיונות און טריביאַליישאַנז פון אַ ערשטער-צייַט קאָמפּיוטער באַניצער. “די ביוראַקראַט” גיט אַ בילד פון די כאַרדשיפּס ינוואַלווד אין ארבעטן פֿאַר דער רעגירונג. “די וואַשראָאָם” איז וועגן קאָופּינג מיט רופט פון נאַטור ווען איר רע בייַ די טעאַטער. “דער קונה” איז וועגן די פראַסטריישאַנז פון טריינג צו געפֿינען ביידע די רעכט אַמט און אַ פאַרקויפער אין אַ צווייַג קראָם. און “מייַן דיר נעיגהבאָר” איז נאָך אנדערן נעמען אויף די אַלט גראָז איז גרינער אויף דער אַנדערער זייַט סינדראָמע
איינער קענען ויספאָרשן עטלעכע פון די עלטסטע און רובֿ יקאָניק אידישע זייטלעך אין טאָראָנטאָ, פון אַ ונטערשטאָט שול נאָך שייַכעס זייַן ייִדיש ראָאָץ צו די שטאָט ס ערשטער ייִדיש בייס – וילעם. דאָ זענען שאָווין אַז דאָרט ס מער צו אידישע טאָראָנטאָ ווי די באַטהורסט סטריט קאָרידאָר.
Doors Open Toronto the Jewish Way
Every year, Doors Open Toronto offers free public access to 150 buildings in Toronto of architectural, historic, cultural or social significance. For one weekend only you can write a letter with a quill and mail it in Toronto’s First Post Office, tour the retro Shamrock Bowl where 5-pin bowling was invented, and gain unfettered access to Toronto’s best museums and galleries, just to name a few. One can also explore some of the oldest and most iconic Jewish sites in Toronto, from a downtown synagogue still bearing its Yiddish roots to the city’s first Jewish cemetery. Here are showing that there’s more to Jewish Toronto than the Bathurst Street corridor:
1. Congregation Knesseth Israel, 56 Maria Street. This west-end synagogue’s simple exterior belies its traditionally elegant Eastern European interior. Built in 1911.
עולם קנעססעטה ישראל, 56 מאַריִאַ סטריט. דאס וועסט-סוף שול ס פּשוט יקסטיריער בילייז זייַן טראַדישנאַלי עלעגאַנט מזרח אייראפעישע ינלענדיש. געבויט אין 1911.
2. First Narayever Congregation, 187 Brunswick Avenue. The building, though not originally built as a church, has been used by religious groups for over 100 years – including Christian Scientists and Mennonites. It was taken over by the First Narayever Congregation in 1943 and is known today as a young, hip, gender-equal and socially conscious synagogue. The original Yiddish signage is still on display.
דער בנין, כאָטש ניט ערידזשנאַלי געבויט ווי אַ קהילה, איז געניצט דורך פרום גרופּעס פֿאַר איבער 100 יאר – אַרייַנגערעכנט קריסטלעך ססיענטיסץ און מעננאָניטעס. עס איז גענומען איבער דורך דער ערשטער נאַרייַעווער קאָנגרעגאַטיאָן אין 1943 און איז באקאנט הייַנט ווי אַ יונג, לענד, דזשענדער-גלייַך און סאָושאַלי באַוווסטזיניק שול.דער אָריגינעל ייִדיש סיינידזש איז נאָך אויף ווייַזן.
3. Gilda’s Club Greater Toronto – the Lombard Street Firehall, 110 Lombard Street. Gilda Radner got her start in a fire station? The Lombard Street Fire Hall was built in 1886 and served as the Central Fire Station until 1969. Second City moved in March 1974, until they acquired their current clubhouse thirteen years ago. When Gilda’s Club Toronto, the free support community for families living with cancer, was looking for a home in 2001, designers pooled their expertise to convert the former fire hall and theatre into the welcoming space it is today. Visitors can tour the clubhouse and learn about the various incarnations of this old-fashioned, one-time fire hall.
4. Pape Avenue Cemetery, 311 Pape Avenue. Though locked up to the public for many years, guests can gain open access to Toronto’s first Jewish burial site for one day only. Established in 1849 by the Toronto Hebrew Congregation (the predecessor to Holy Blossom Temple), Pape Avenue Cemetery is home to some of the most prominent Jewish residents of Toronto from that period. Get a glimpse into early Jewish Toronto through short tours, led by Ellen Scheinberg, Director of the Ontario Jewish Archives and Susan Brown, a local artist and community activist, which will also examine Jewish burial customs and the artistry on the gravestones.
כאָטש פארשפארט זיך צו דעם פּובליקום פֿאַר פילע יאָרן, געסט קענען געווינען עפענען צוטריט צו טאָראָנטאָ ס ערשטער אידישע קבורה פּלאַץ פֿאַר איין טאָג בלויז. געגרינדעט אין 1849 דורך די טאָראָנטאָ העברעיש קאָנגרעגאַטיאָן (די פאָרויסגייער צו רוס צוויט המקדש), פּאַפּע עוועניו סעמעטערי איז היים צו עטלעכע פון די מערסט אנגעזעענע ייִדיש רעזידאַנץ פון טאָראָנטאָ פון אַז צייַט. באַקומען אַ בליק אין פרי ייִדיש טאָראָנטאָ דורך קורץ טאָורס, געפירט דורך עללען שיינבערג, דירעקטאָר פון דער אָנטאַריאָ ייִדיש אַרכיוון און סוזאַן ברוין, אַ היגע קינסטלער און קיבעץ אַקטיוויסט, וואָס וועט אויך ונטערזוכן אידישע קבורה מינהגים און די אַרטיסטרי אויף די גרייווסטאָונז.
5. St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church, 115 Bond Street. There’s nothing outwardly Jewish about this Heritage-designated landmark – which is noteworthy for being the church outside Greece to have an interior painted entirely by the Pachomaioi monks, master iconographers from Mount Athos – but the building functioned as a synagogue until 1937
Doors Open Toronto takes place May 29-30, 2010. For more information and a full list of sites, visit www.toronto.ca/doorsopen.
Festival of Yiddish Entertainment
Winnipeg Art Gallery. Tuesday, May 17 and 25
The third annual Mameloshen Festival will run from May 11-25 at the Muriel Richardson Auditorium located in the Winnipeg Art Gallery. The opening night act will feature “A Tribute to the Barry Sisters,” with Winnipeg’s own Shayla Fink and Debbie Maslowsky performing songs that made this duo internationally acclaimed.
The festival is presented by the Rady Jewish Community Centre and the I.L. Peretz Folk School Endowment Trust.
א אָנקומענדיק האָליוואוד קאָמעדיע סטאַרינג די דיפייאַנטלי גוי סטיוו קאַרעלל ימפּלויז אַ פּראָסט יידדישיסם אין זייַן טיטל. העכסט בילד וועט באַפרייַען דינער פֿאַר שמוקקס יולי 23.
מאַמעלאָשען מיטל “מאַמע לשון” אין ייִדיש. “ייִדיש איז אין וואָוג,” הערות דעבי מאַסלאָווסקי, די ווינניפּעג מוזיקאַליש טעאַטער וועטערינאַר וואס קאָ-שטערן אין דינסטאג נאַכט ס עפן ווייַזן פון די דריט יערלעך מאַמעלאָשען פֿעסטיוואַל פון ייִדיש פֿאַרווייַלונג און קולטור.
סטאַרינג די היגע געזאַנג סענסיישאַנז ריטשארד יאַף און דזשיין ענקין, ווי גוט ווי אַליזאַ & די קלעזמאָרים ציגייַנער באַנד און די תלמידים פון די גרייַ אַקאַדעמיע פֿאַר אידישע חינוך.
די ווינניפּעג קונסט אַרטיקל ס 320-המשפט מוריעל ריטשאַרדסאָן אַודיטאָריום איז דער פּלאַץ פֿאַר אַלע דרייַ ווייזט. מאַסלאָווסקי און איר קאָ-שטערן, שייַלאַ פינק, זענען פּערפאָרמינג אַ צינדז צו די בערי סיסטערס, אַ ניו יארק דואָ ווער געבראכט ייִדיש לידער צו מיינסטרים אמעריקאנער ראַדיאָ.
Mameloshen means “mother tongue” in Yiddish. “Yiddish is in vogue,” notes Debbie Maslowsky, the Winnipeg musical theatre vet who co-stars in Tuesday night’s opening show of the third annual Mameloshen Festival of Yiddish Entertainment and Culture. Maslowsky and her co-star, Shayla Fink, are performing a tribute to the Barry Sisters, a New York duo who brought Yiddish songs to mainstream radio.
Staring the local singing sensations Richard Yaffe and Jane Enkin, as well as Aliza & the Klezmer Gypsy Band and the students of the Gray Academy for Jewish Education.
The closing show on May 25 will feature Toronto’s Mitch Smolkin. He’ll be paying tribute to the Yiddish golden age on Broadway.
The Winnipeg Art Gallery’s 320-seat Muriel Richardson Auditorium is the site for all three shows.
YOU ARE INVITED TO CELEBRATE Shavuot WHILE DANCING THROUGHOUT THE NIGHT.
Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 9:30pm
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Bryna Wasserman to be honoured
Bryna Wasserman will receive an award for her service to the Yiddish culture in the local community. On May 2, Wasserman, artistic director of the Segal Centre for Performing Arts and the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre (DWYT), will receive the Mlotek Prize for Yiddish and Yiddish Culture at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall, N.Y. “Because of who’s giving it, because it’s in New York, and it’s going to be at a very prestigious theatre, and there’s a long list of talented people that are going to be there, and the fact that they recognize that the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre is an important cultural theatre that preserves the Yiddish language — it’s important,” says Wasserman. The ceremony is part of the annual National Yiddish Theatre – Folksbiene concert gala, an evening of music and theatre featuring international Yiddish talent. In receiving this award, Wasserman is continuing the tradition set out by her mother Dora, who in many ways got the ball rolling in this domain. “Dora Wasserman was so well-honoured in this community with an Order of Canada and an Order of Quebec that it’s a milestone for me to be honoured for the work and recognized,” she says. “It’s a recognition of the fabulous work we’re doing here in Montreal. It’s important because we’re getting to be known internationally.” At the ceremony, posthumous tributes will also be made to Yiddish cultural leader Joseph Mlotek and to his sister, Sara Rosenfeld, Order of Canada recipient in 2003 for promoting Yiddish culture in Canada. The Jazz Singer will run from June 6-27 at the Segal Centre. Quoted from an article by Walter J. Lyng Also look at: https://kopjik.wordpress.com/yiddish-around-the-world-ייִדיש-אַרום-די-וועלט/yiddish-in-usa/
Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre Productions directed by Bryna Wasserman Partial Theatrography 1996 Double Identity by Sholom Aleichem, book & lyrics by Miriam Hoffman, Music by Binyumen “Ben” Schaechter Mirele Efros by Jacob Gordon 1996 YAYA production of The Sages of Chelm, adapted from Abraham Shulman’s script 1997 The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, adapted from Mordechai Richler’s novel, music by Gary William Friedman, Lyrics by Edward Gallardo Old Wicked Songs by Jon Marans 1998 On Second Avenue by Zalmen Mlotek and Moishe Rosenfeld On Second Avenue (reprise) 1998 The Dybbuk by S. Ansky Vienna tour: On Second Avenue and The Dybbuk 1998 YAYA production of Tekuma by Yigal Donets and Edit Kuper 1999 Toronto Tour: On Second Avenue Florida Tour: On Second Avenue 2000 The Great Houdini by Mel Shavelson, Alexander Ary and Elan Kunin 2001 The Great Houdini for Montreal Festival 2001 Visages 2001 The Threepenny Opera by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht, translated into Yiddish 2001 Vienna Tour: Double Identity by Sholom Aleichem & Green Fields by Peretz Hirshbein 2002 Double Identity (reprise) 2003 The Golden Land by Zalmen Mlotek and Moishe Rosenfeld 2003 YAYA Production and Reprise of No More Raisins, No More Almonds, Children’s Ghetto Songs by Batia Bettman 2004 Fiddler on the Roof (Anatevka) based on Sholem Aleichem’s stories, book by Joseph Stein, music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick Leeds International Jewish Theatre Festival Tour Vienna Tour for 10th Anniversary of Jewish Theatre Week: Fiddler on the Roof (Anatevka) & On Second Avenue 2005 Lies My Father Told Me by Ted Allan, Music and Lyrics by Elan Kunin Toronto Tour: Fiddler on the Roof 2006 God of Vengeance by Sholem Asch New YAYA Production of No More Raisins, No More Almonds, Children’s Ghetto Songs European Tour ( Dresden, Prague and Vienna): God of Vengeance by Sholem Asch & Those Were The Days by Zalmen Mlotek and Moishe Rosenfeld 2007 Those Were the Days by Zalmen Mlotek and Moishe Rosenfeld Tours to Toronto, Ottawa and Virginia Beach of YAYA’s No More Raisins, No More Almonds, Children’s Ghetto Songs by Batia Bettman 2008 The Wise Men of Chelm by Abraham Shulman, music by Eli Rubinstein YAYA Production of No More Raisins, No More Almonds, Children’s Ghetto Songs 2009 The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert & Sullivan
Montreal’s Yiddish Festival gears up for June
Participants from around world to gather in Canadian city on June 17 to celebrate 50 years of Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theater
The first ever Montreal International Yiddish Theater Festival is set to kick off on June 17. Participants from around the world will gather to celebrate 50 years of the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theater.
The festival, hosted by The Segal Center for Performing Arts, will feature both small productions and large scale shows ranging from classics to modern works. Israel’s Yiddishpiel, France’s Der LufTeater, Romania’s Jewish State Theater of Bucharest and other Yiddish theater companies will be performing.
Montreal’s Yiddish Festival
Participants from around world to gather in Canadian city on June 17 to celebrate 50 years of Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theater The first ever Montreal International Yiddish Theater Festival is set to kick off on June 17. Participants from around the world will gather to celebrate 50 years of the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theater. The festival, hosted by The Segal Center for Performing Arts, will feature both small productions and large scale shows ranging from classics to modern works. Israel’sYiddishpiel, France’s Der LufTeater, Romania’s Jewish State Theater of Bucharest and other Yiddish theater companies will be performing.
Martinis & Chocolate Ages 25-39
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As the glamorous 40-something wife of a financier and a devoted mother of four,
singer Stacey Jackson is not your average Motown-meets-metal rocker.
And with a philanthropic debut album, she’s no diva either
It would be easy to hate Stacey Jackson, with her petite, cheerleader’s figure, her four children, her house in Chelsea and her generally blessed life. Yet the 41-year-old Canadian singer whose tag line is ‘soccermom, rockermom’ has an innocent quality that perhaps explains why the London-based wife of a phenomenally successful financier would choose to produce her new Motown-meets-metal album in association with the children’s charity Music For Youth. She’s a well-connected woman, with friends who include fellow rocker Bryan Adams and billionaire businessman Philip Green. But from the moment she bounds into the hotel, all flapping hand gestures, enthusiasm and unlikely peppering of everything with Yiddish, it is quite plain that she is not what you’d expect from a woman who has made an album just because she can. She lacks the blinkered agenda of the self-publicising would-be star. She orders the least expensive glass of red wine. She confides that she has her hair blow-dried by a junior at a local salon because she objects to paying £50 for a senior stylist, and has gel manicured because they last for a month. Her (virtually invisible) leather Versace skirt is worn with a pair of high-street shoes from Office. Above the ring finger of her left hand floats a brilliant cushion-cut diamond and the corresponding finger on her right hand is encircled by a hefty eternity ring, but she found the purple Ralph Lauren gown that she wore for her son’s bar mitzvah in the sale at Saks Fifth Avenue. ‘I’m a shopper,’ she says lightly, ‘what Jewish girl isn’t? But I’m a wise shopper. I have so much Jewish guilt.’ ‘I had a proper career, and then I was going to be a mummy. But how could I not sing again?’ And for all her grooming and gloss, Stacey is at heart ‘an 80s throwback. By the time I was 14 I was singing in a hard rock band called Cold Front and my heroes were Guns N’Roses, Mötley Crüe and Kiss,’ she says. ‘I had big, blonde hair, black eyes and a bandanna.’ Stacey and her younger brother John, a commodities trader, were brought up in Montreal, which seems remote but is actually rather starry. She remembers the buzz of the Montreal Jazz Festivals, the Formula 1 racetrack and the Just For Laughs comedy festival. She had a traditional upbringing and was sent to a Jewish school, but her family were both creative and liberal. Her mother retrained as a sex education teacher once the children were at school, and her father was a graphic artist who designed album covers for acts including Celine Dion and her husband René Angelil’s band Les Baronets (‘who were like the French Canadian Beatles,’ Stacey says).
As a hobby he created a range of greetings cards called Stacey Liane, inspired by his daughter, and he would take her for rides in his sports car with Motown blasting out of the eight-track cassette player. ‘Diana Ross was my best friend,’ she says. ‘I knew every Supremes song before I knew my alphabet. My dad was my biggest fan. When I was a teenager I’d play in bars on the side of the highway, where no Jewish girl should go, and at two in the morning my mother and father would be there shouting, “Go Stacey!”’ Her parents drew the line when, after having secured a hard-won place at Concordia University, Stacey announced her intention to hit the road with her band. ‘They were like, “You, four guys and a roadie? No way. You are studying.” I made a fuss, but because I finished that communications course I got an amazing internship at CBS News in New York City.’ She moved to New York and started to learn the television PR trade, making ends meet by teaching aerobics classes. A few months before the internship began, the whole family went to Florida for Christmas and, one night in a bar, the then Stacey Levy was seduced by the unexpectedly clean-cut charms of fledgling investment banker Henry Jackson. ‘Normally I went with guys with earrings and spiky hair, but he was very preppy – I think he was wearing a Shetland sweater – and he put a smile on my face.’ After chatting to him for an hour she nipped to the loo and used the payphone to call her mother who was asleep back at the hotel. ‘I said, “Mum, I’ve just met the guy I’m going to marry.” She said, “You’re drunk. Come home.”’ Stacey and Henry were married three years later, by which time she was making a name for herself as a TV publicist for cable television, working for the Lifetime channel and then going freelance and handling PR for the Independent Film Channel, BBC America and Discovery. He, meanwhile, was forging ahead in the investment banking world, ending up as managing director of Deutsche Bank AG. In 2006 he left to found Merchant Equity Partners, a phenomenally successful private equity company. Perhaps one of the things that makes Stacey so unavoidably likable is her happy marriage. Secure and straightforward, she seems impervious to the competition between bankers’ wives in London, who tend to judge each other in terms of the social opportunities and ‘threat’ levels they present. ‘Marriage is a business,’ she says simply. ‘You have to work at it if you want it to grow. He’s very cute, he’s my best friend and if there is a decision to make we make it together. He can be demanding; I have to do the banker’s wife thing – I hosted his firm’s Christmas party at our house – but he is totally supportive.’ She was living on New York’s Upper East Side and had two small boys, Reid, now 14, and Tyler, now 11, when she decided to give up work in order to concentrate on motherhood and – for the first time in years – singing. ‘I thought I had hung up my lungs,’ she says. ‘I had a proper career, and then I was going to be a mummy. But if it’s in you, it’s in you. How could I not sing again?’ She started giggling in clubs around the city with a band called Fuzzy Dice, managed by the bass player Bill Bennett (who owned a company called the Off Wall Street Jam where bankers, lawyers and secretaries could pop in after work, pick up a guitar or some drumsticks and let off some steam). She also started another group with parents from her son’s nursery: ‘The school was called the 92nd Street Y. We were the Y Nots,’ she says. By the time Henry’s job brought them to London in 1999, Stacey was 31 and Reid and Tyler were four and one. ‘I loved London immediately,’ she says. ‘It is buzzy but civilised, which is the best of both worlds, but I didn’t really have any friends here and I was lonely. My nanny was my best friend.’ Then, six months after arriving in England, she heard that Bill Bennett had been killed in a car crash on his way to a gig. ‘I could easily have been in that car, and it made me determined to keep going with my music,’ she says. ‘I got myself a vocal coach and, through him, I met a band called Big Ocean. They slotted me in as a vocalist and we played different [London] clubs, like Café de Paris and Scala.’ She popped out yet another baby boy, Liam, now seven, before Rich Cardwell, Big Ocean’s musical director – who also happens to be James Morrison’s musical director – suggested she record some of the Motown tracks she played with the band, and the foundation for her album Upside Down were laid. ‘It was my art and my time. It was my album. But so what? I wanted to help people at the same time’ She was financing the album herself, so time was of the essence, but just as the recording process began she found herself pregnant for a fourth time. She wasn’t to know it yet, but her charmed life was about to get challenging. ‘That baby’s name was Miles. It was a boy – there was no question in my mind. Once you have three boys, if you hold out for a girl, you are probably going to be sorely disappointed.’ But at the three-month scan the doctor told her that, although he could hear a heartbeat, the baby was very oddly positioned. ‘The baby had stuck itself to my caesarean scar,’ she says, ‘which is rare and considered an ectopic pregnancy because it can’t develop: it hadn’t attached itself to the uterus and couldn’t get nutrients. It wasn’t aborting naturally so I had to end the pregnancy.’ She insisted her husband fly to Los Angeles for his nephew’s bar mitzvah and sat in the hospital, waiting for the operation with her eldest son – he thought she had a tummy ache – until her mother arrived from Canada. She felt very calm. If it wasn’t meant to be then she could accept that.
Three weeks later she, Henry and the boys flew to Florida for a Christmas holiday and she got a call to tell her that her mother had suffered a heart attack and was in hospital awaiting a quadruple bypass. Stacey jumped on a plane to find both her parents in a terrible state. ‘She was really sick,’ she recalls. ‘It was horrible to watch because it was sucking the life out of my father who was already diabetic and on dialysis. We got her home, but it turned out that my father was the one who really needed care, and the day after I got back to London I got the one in the morning call to say that he’d died.’ He was only 62. Six months later, on the day of his memorial service, Stacey found out she was pregnant again. ‘And it was a girl, Caylie [short for Michaela – Stacey’s father was called Michael], so I figured he looked down and sent me a girl as payment for my wild teenage years.’ In the middle of recording Upside Down, which gives her much-loved Motown tunes a rocky, harder-edged treatment, Stacey had a moment of epiphany and realised that, for her, the making of the album would only have real value for her if it was about more than personal fulfilment. ‘It was my art and my time. It was my album – I was going to make it and sell it on iTunes and tell my friends and family. But so what? I wanted to help people at the same time. I wanted to help kids.’ She hooked up with Music For Youth, a charity (it celebrates its 40th anniversary later this year) that stages music festivals all over the country to provide musically inclined children from all backgrounds with an opportunity to perform. Stacey toured the country, collecting young musicians as she went, and shipped them down to London to perform on her album, recorded at Chiswick’s Metropolis Studios. ‘They were all excited because Alexandra Burke had just been working there,’ she says. ‘I want these kids to know that they can do anything they want to do. I got so much nachas [Yiddish for pride and joy] from knowing that they were getting this experience, and that they’ll never forget it. One day maybe they’ll grow up and do an interview with YOU and say, “I remember going into the studio that day and it changed my life.”’ In effect, she wants this album to fulfil her own expectations of herself, musically and philanthropical. Fame, as an end in itself, doesn’t interest her: ‘I want to be an inspiration. I want to be rocking when I’m 80. Do I need paparazzi following me? No, I’m a mother.’ Caylie recently started nursery school while the boys are at prep and public schools dotted around London. ‘This one is at football, that one has science club, the other one has exams to revise for and the baby needs to eat early. I run mission control from my kitchen,’ she says. ‘My children are my priority, but if I have to choose between watching my kid tackle another kid in rugby practice in the rain and being in the studio with my guys, then there’s no contest. But I would never miss an important rugby match. I slice myself up like a pie.’ She’s only little, but somehow there’s enough to go round. Stacey Jackson’s debut single ‘Band of Gold’ and album Upside Down are available on iTunes