Homeland To Heartland: The Journey by Millie and the Mentshn



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CD Overview

Morris Tenenbaum, born in 1896, was part of the Kalechovskys who lived in the tiny, most segregated village (100% Jewish) of Visoko-Litovsk, Russian Lithuania. Before Morris passed away, he wrote and illustrated a lengthy journal of his life in Russian Lithuania, his family’s immigration to America, and his early life in the United States.

Fascinated by the stories, Millie (of Millie & The Mentshn and granddaughter of Morris’ cousin) arranged several musical programs interspersed with Morris’ stories. The first program described life in the late 1800’s in the village – including the union of Morris’ parents Chaya and Hershal (resulting from bargaining with a “very competent shotchen“), the holidays, the family wool processing and dyeing business, the shul, the market place, and the Russian authorities. This CD contains the second program in the series, which follows the immigration of the Tenenbaums to America. Recorded live, Millie reads selections from cousin Morris’ diary to set the mood and some context for the music. We hope you will relax, let your mind slip into the past, and enjoy the stories and the music. Mayn harts, vu s’iz dort mayn heym!

The production of this unique CD has been a labor of love in that there are few individuals still alive who made this or a similar journey in the early 1900’s. The CD was recorded at a live performance of Millie & The Mentshn, a classically-trained group that includes vocals (Millie Johnson), oboe (Ken Bronstein), viola (Eric Kean), piano (Lou Lippman), and percussion (Warren Palken).

Track Listing
  1. 1902 at home in Visoko-Litovsk, Russian Lithuania
  2. A Heymisher Bulgar
  3. Soldiers arrive…1903 Hershal departs for America
  4. Zayt Gezunterheyt
  5. 1906 villagers help Chaya and children pack to join Hershal
  6. Yibaneh Hamikdosh / Im Amarti
  7. “Oy vey, ich chalish!” The sea voyage
  8. Shpil Gitar / Du Meydele, Du Fayns / Dos Kleyne Tsigaynerl
  9. 1912 in Minnesota, Hershal longs for the old neighborhood
  10. Vos Iz Gevorn Fun Mayn Shtetele?
  11. Morris purchases a 1916 Model T Ford
  12. Ay Bay Yababay
  13. Uncle Affroyim arrives in America
  14. Mitzvah Tanz
  15. 1920 at the new home in St. Paul
  16. Abi Gezunt
  17. Morris reminisces about life back in the Shtetl
  18. Shloymke’s Freylekhs / Shpil Zhe Mir A Lidele in Yidish
  19. No matter what…with music, life is good!
  20. Yidl Mitn Fidl


There is something quite captivating about what you’ve done. It’s like it manages to be folksy and high art nostalgic and contemporary all at the same time. All that, plus there’s some kind of depth to your singing and an earnestness and simplicity about Morris’ words….This contributes to its being compelling.”— Barbara Davis, TAIJIQUAN JOURNAL

“[The CD] compiles 10 readings from Tenenbaum’s journal with 10 traditional Russian and Yiddish tunes…what drives the disc, though, are its music tracks…the CD is a neat history lesson.”— Tony Stasiek, Music Critic, Take Five, THE BELLINGHAM HERALD