ISRAELL'CHAIMNovember 2021

I Had A Dream – Songs Of An Immigrant

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By Deborah Vietor

Ruth Weber and her daughter Emilia Lopez Yañez, have released a new CD, I Had A Dream — Songs of an Immigrant.

Each of the songs produced represent a fusion of musical dreams between mother and daughter, honoring the poetry of Ruth’s grandmother, Betty Karon Hertz. These ethereal and visceral songs are derived from grandma Betty’s poems, some in Yiddish and others in English.

Both women are voting Grammy (The Recording Academy) members. Together they have performed on several award-winning Billboard-charting albums. Weber is a composer, pianist, musician and record producer and the Artistic Director/Conductor of the San Diego Jewish Men’s Choir. With too many accolades to mention, Weber also recently won the John Lennon Songwriting Award.

From video games to feature films and children’s CD’s, Lopez Yañez has been in commercials, voice overs and performed studio work. She received a Master’s in oboe performance at USC, with an undergraduate degree in vocal and oboe performance at Chapman College. Her beautiful voice and oboe playing has been featured internationally.

The duo have worked with many celebrities on award winning projects, including Julian Lennon, Quincy Jones and Ketchi.

According to Weber, Betty experienced a most religious upbringing, combined with a life of poverty. Often the Rabbi allowed her to sit in while the men learned Torah, something unheard of in her day. Her dream? To write poetry and someday visit the state of Israel. Betty was never able to visit Israel, however she and her daughter honor her, capturing her great story through music.

Weber’s settings of some of the songs were arranged with the assistance of her son, Enrico. Melodic themes reflect hauntingly unusual times, combining Classical with New Age music. Lopez Yañez’s melodic and spectacular vocals resonate with the population, creating hope, crossing many boundaries, forming a connection between generations.

Betty, who thought her family was the greatest, traveled to the United States from Russia during the Bolshevik Revolution. She created a book of poetry, eloquently describing her life experiences and transition.

Upon arriving in the U.S., Betty shared her collection with a neighbor in her building who scoffed at her poems, causing Betty to feel embarrassed and burn this treasure of poetry. What remained were 12 meaningful poems.

For the musical dynamic duo team, working together has been a dream, as during the pandemic Lopez Yañez relocated to San Diego and Weber was able to take a semester sabbatical from teaching at San Diego Miramar College to work on this project. Weber’s husband John converted a closet into a recording studio where they created magic.

Lopez Yañez came to know her great-grandmother through their family reunions in Wisconsin. They would sit on the couch as Grandma Betty shared her stories. Both grandparents spoke Yiddish.

“She was so proud of everyone in her family!” declared Lopez Yañez.

One song, “Mushrooms,” describes Betty in her youth as she picks mushrooms for her family with little else for them to eat.

Inspirational, educational and entertaining, these songs will live on in the hearts of many for generations to come.

Learn more about Ruth and Emilia at ruthmakesmusic.com, emilialopezyanez.com, and ruthandemelia.com.

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