Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Berl Broder (1815–1868), born Berl Margulis was a Ukrainian Jew, the most famous of the Broder singers, 19th century Jewish singers comparable to the troubadours or Minnesänger, and reputed the first to be both a singer and an actor. Thirty of his songs survive; of these, 24 are in the form of dialogues, usually between craftsmen such as tailors or shoemakers; his songs are seen as a precursor to Yiddish theater.
He childhood was taken up with religious studies at home, until his father's death when he was 16. A handsome, bright young man with a good voice, he taught himself the violin. He worked briefly as a brushmaker; his co-workers became his first audience, and he developed a reputation for always having a rhyme or a proverb.
From some time in his late teens or early twenties, he headed on the road as an itinerant performer, along with two other singers, one of whom was also a tailor who made costumes for the troupe. It is believed that many of his songs were improvised on the spot; only thirty survive in written form.
- Bercovici, Israil, O sută de ani de teatru evreiesc īn Romānia ("One hundred years of Yiddish/Jewish theater in Romania"), 2nd Romanian-language edition, revised and augmented by Constantin Măciucă. Editura Integral (an imprint of Editurile Universala), Bucharest (1998), pages 31-36. ISBN 9739827225. See the article on the author for further publication information.
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