Sunday, 6 November 2016

How Klezmer music introduced me to Pinterest

There’s something about Klezmer music that makes me feel nostalgic. Its style is heavily influenced by music played long ago in the Eastern European Jewish Shtetls. It is said to be influenced by an even older tradition, that of the High Priests thousands of years ago in the Jewish Temples. But why would that music make me feel nostalgic? I’ve never been to a Shtetl - they no longer exist - and I certainly didn't frequent the ancient Temples. I can only assume that it is possible to inherit emotions and cultural ties. This was the music that my Grandma and her family grew up with. This was the soundtrack of their Shtetl, especially in the happy times, maybe even in the bad times too.

I started listening to samples on YouTube. As the music played, with songs often sung in Yiddish, the language that my family spoke when I was a child, I watched with a growing sense of excitement. The familiar semi-wailing tones faded from my brain as I focused on the grainy photographs that were flashing onto the screen, one after the other, and, excuse me if I use a Yiddish exclamation here, 
“Oy Vey!” 

I was looking at pictures of people, real people, in the Shtetls of Eastern Europe in the early 1900s! That was when Grandma was there, a young girl struggling, starving. I’d never seen such photographs. The hairs on my neck were tingling. I could be looking at the very Shtetl where she grew up. I clicked on picture after picture.

This is the part where Pinterest intervened. I was not allowed to look at the best photographs (or so it seemed) until I joined their Site. I’m not a technophobe but if I tell you that I asked Daughter if she knew about Pee Interest, you’ll realise that I knew nothing. Once she had corrected my pronunciation (it’s Pin-terest for those who are as ignorant as myself) she then groaned,

“Why do you want to waste your time there?!”

“No!” I protested. “It’s not to view photos of food and fashion!” and once I’d told her about the Shtetl photographs, she understood.

Three hours later, and with a bit of chatting and advice from people on Twitter, I finally managed to set up an account and now have two Pinterest Boards. At the moment they are private because I’ve not finished sorting them, but as soon as they're better populated I’ll be posting up the link. I’ve splattered this post with a few samples to give you an idea.


  1. Hi Ros - how fascinating to read how involved you became once the music was playing ... I can believe it .. some titles or film accompaniment do it for me ...

    What a brilliant way of bringing back your grandmother's time for family and friends of today ...

    Pee- interest?! What fun ... cheers and looking forward to see your board ... I might get into Pinterest at that stage then (might being the operative word!) ...

    Cheers Hilary

  2. sounds like you are pinning a wise interest.......very good. I tried Pinterest briefly and did not "get" the fascination. But I did not have a mission either. Enjoy!!

  3. My mother's family were from the stetl of Vashilishok and my father's from Vilna Gubernia . It's strange to see families still searching the internet for family links.

  4. Looks like you're making the very best of Pinterest!

  5. LOVE Klezmer...and Pinterest .... get a lot of research pics from there.

  6. It's like the reason I first joined Facebook. Someone posted some photos there and I had to join in order to see them. Nine years later, I don't know what I did without it.

  7. The music must be in your dna. I could loose myself for hours on Pinterest. I have a board with my Turkey photos on it.

  8. Wow, what a find, Ros! Let us know when your Pinterest page is available. I'd love to see them!


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