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Sara Mitchell - Chad Gadya

Adir Hu
Chad Gadya
Ki Lo Na’eh Ki Lo Ya’eh

Sara Mitchell“These Seder tunes come from my late father Aubrey Cohen; unfortunately I do not know where they originate.

His parents and grandparents were all born in Britain which, for a Jewish family, was very rare at that time. His father, Noah Cohen, was one of four children who were all born in Tredegar, South Wales.

His mother Sarah’s maiden name was originally Gittleson but the family later changed it to Gilston. She was one of nine children.

Noah and Sarah were married in Leeds at the turn of the last century. They settled in Manchester and had five children. Aubrey, my father, was the third. Economically it was a very difficult time for them after two world wars. During that time Noah had many trades including being a furrier and selling whatever items were available - phonographs and records amongst them.

Old photograph showing Aubrey, his father Noah Cohen, and his grandfather Rabbi Israel Cohen

The whole family shared a love of music and would attend the opera and listen to recordings at every opportunity. It seemed fitting that Noah was able to combine his interest with his work. My father continued his family’s love for music, particularly singing and family traditions played a major part in his life. Yomtovs would be shared with our extended family and the highlight was the Seder (the Passover meal) where the singing was always melodic. Even when different families gathered together his tunes would always dominate the proceedings.

Sara's parents Aubrey and Inez CohenWhen chanting parts of the Haggadah he would emphasise the words ‘Sh’ne’ema’ which means ‘as it was’. My father always loved jazz and would incorporate many of the rhythms into his tunes in a quite unique way - the Seder would reach its peak quite literally at the end of the last song, Chad Gadya, when he would hold the final note long after everyone else had closed their Haggadah.

I am very proud of my father and hope that I will continue his traditions and his inimitable style.”

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