Song Searcher is the story of Moyshe Beregovsky’s lifelong search for authentic Yiddish folk music and of his unique archive, which was presumed to be lost forever. Beregovsky, a musician and scholar, crisscrossed Ukraine with his phonograph in hand, during the most dramatic years of Soviet history in order to record and study the traditional music of Ukrainian Jewry. His work began in the 1920s and led to his arrest and imprisonment in a Stalinist labor camp in 1950. Most of the people he recordedå on hundreds of fragile wax cylinders were shot by the Nazis and tossed into countless mass graves. Ultimately, Beregovsky succeeded in saving the musical heritage of the centuries-old Yiddish civilization. He rescued the Living Voice of his people from the flames of the Holocaust but paid for it with his life.
With this introduction, Yelena Yakovich one of the leading Russian documentary filmmakers, begins her latest work, Song Searcher. Filmed on location in Ukraine and many other countries, loaded with rare, unique video-footage and archival audio materials, the film directed by Yelena Yakovich is much more than an account of Moyshe Beregovsky’s life and work. It tells the awe-inspiring story of Beregovsky’s people, whose song could not be silenced even during the darkest hour in their history.
The music rescued by Beregovsky is heard throughout the film, either in its original archival version or performed live by some of the best contemporary klezmer musicians. As they play this music of the Yiddish soul for appreciative audiences in all corners of the earth, they hope that these old melodies, which laugh through tears and fill hearts with love and humanity, will help heal our broken world.