There are not many women who have come out as soloist singers late in their life. Apart from Evelyne, the only woman that springs to my mind was Sharon Jones who came to the fore at age forty nine after years of being a prison guard. Her music was in a funky soul style in the manner of James Brown who was the Godfather of Soul.
After years of performing in various choirs and vocal groups Evelyne Weltlinger debuted as a soloist in 2012 at an age a few years older than Sharon Jones.
Although their respective musical styles are a million miles apart they both seek to capture the soul in the music.
Appearing at the Django Bar in the Camelot Lounge to launch her debut CD, Evelyne’s song selection seemed to be based on the neshumah or soul in both the lyrics and the music. In this sense it is different from black soul which emphasises power. Rather the Jewish neshumah appreciates the individuality and delicacy within a person’s spirit.
Evelyne’s two sets, spaced with an interval, sought to evoke soul’s multi-faceted characteristics. There were songs of laughter, sadness, yearning and tenderness. Laughter in such songs as Ich Vil Zich Shpiln (I Want To Have Fun). Sadness evoked in Goodbye To Love. Yearning felt in the song Liede Der Flucht (Song Of The Wanderer). Tenderness brought out in the song Leg Dayn Kop Af Maine Kni (Lay Your Head On My Lap). Evelyne transverses these and other emotions with grace and charm.
Her insightful introductions be they about the meaning, the composer and the musical arrangements made one listen even more closely to each song in each song which added resonance to the performance.
Each song she sang was sung in English, French and Yiddish and several had Hebrew added. The skill with which she translated some of the lyrics with her ability to retain the essence of the original version was truly remarkable
In performing long lost yiddish songs or those composed by composers who were murdered in the Holocaust such as Avrom Brudno, Hanna Senesh, Evelyne does a great service in preserving precious Jewish music history. Aware of this mitzvah (good deed), I found Evelyne’s emotionally soaked singing created a long lost world which went beyond her vocals.
Ably accompanied by her brilliant violinist son Daniel Weltlinger who played ‘soulful’ gypsy jazz ( ziganer) and who is now Berlin based, which was where the CD was recorded. Although the CD was recorded with the backing of a trio, at the Django Bar she was accompanied by a talented quartet of musicians who could capably follow Evelyne’s vocals ranging from joy to sadness. Including Daniel they were Cameron Jones on guitar, Mark Harris on the bass, and Marcello Maio on accordion.
As well as the originality of the multi-lingual lyric translation some of the songs are totally her own compositions such as Goodbye To Love, I Don’t Know Why and Love Me.
The CD, SONGS OF MY HEART, and more information on Evelyne is available at her website www.evelyneweltlinger.com. If you missed this worthwhile concert you can catch her show at Hotel Blue, 18 Lurline Street, Katoomba on the 18th May at 6.30pm. Bookings for this show are at http://www.hotelblue.com.au/entertainment or call 47826922.
Featured image – Evelyne Weltlinger and behind her bassist Mark Harris. All images by Ben Apfelbaum.