Pioneers for a Cure – Songs to Fight Cancer


Source: Pioneers for a Cure


In an effort to raise funds to support organizations pioneering new methods in cancer treatment and research, some of today's top Jewish musical artists have recorded the music of the pioneers of Israel, the soundtrack to Jewish life during the early to mid 1900's. Proceeds from the project will be distributed to the cancer charity selected by each artist. Among the contributing artists are, Neshama Carlebach, Pharaoh's Daughter, Rashanim, Adrienne Cooper, Noah Solomon, Frank London, Tovah Feldshuh, David Browsa, Dudu Fisher, etc. The Pioneers for a Cure website was launched on the last Israel Independence Day with thirty tracks of original pioneering songs available to download.


Rabbi Greg Wall, producer of Pioneers for a Cure, found that the Jewish National Fund in the 1920's and 30's commissioned well-known composers to write folk songs that could be sung by everybody, together, and taught to future generations. Then the JNF printed the commissioned pioneer songs' lyrics (in Hebrew and English transliteration) and melodies on hundreds of thousands of postcards that were distributed to Jewish communities around the world. Composer Hans Nathan, from the Jewish community of Berlin, heard about the JNF's initiative and was inspired to send postcards to leading Jewish composers of the day - Aaron Copeland, Darius Milhaud, Kurt Weill, Ernst Toch, Stephan Wolpe and others - beseeching them to write new works based on folk tunes.


Wall based his method of recruiting artists for the project on Nathan's. He e-mailed the postcards to artists, but wanted them to feel like the recipients of the original JNF postcards so he didn't send sheet music or recordings of existing arrangements.


As producer, Wall facilitated all the tracks, which range from bluegrass to Latino to Middle Eastern, and played saxophone on seven of them. He also wrote many of the arrangements, though some artists asked to contribute their own personal arrangements.


The 30 songs are currently offered online for a minimum of $1.99. Contributions of $9.99 or $99.99 per song are encouraged. Proceeds from each song are directed to a specific cancer charity selected by the artist who recorded it.


Work is already under way on a series of American pioneer songs, also to benefit cancer research and care.

Updated: Jul. 01, 2009