THIEVES of DREAMS: SONGS of THERESIENSTADT'S SECRET POETESS

Thieves of Dreams, a  multimedia theatrical concert. A JUNO Award-winning album. A poetry book. Altogether:

"a marvellous synergy of communal spirit rooted by ancestral fortitude meeting with adversity." 

The songs are based on poetry that Lenka's grandmother, Anna Hana Friesová had written while imprisoned in the concentration camp Theresienstadt (Terezín).  

Learn more about the project from this brief video. For more information on the album, please scroll all the way down. For reviews, radio, media, pls see PRESS

View / download Thieves' BOOKLET!

28-page booklet Introductory word; all translations (from Czech to English); original Czech poems from 1940-1945; original artworks by Milli Janatkova 4.53 MB
6-panel album sleeve credits, photos, etc. 2.06 MB

 

 Open to booking inquiries.  See /events for upcoming shows of Thieves of Dreams In Concert or full-stage production.

Preview three of 16 album tracks:

Awards and nominations, CHARTS, and ‘best of’ lists:

- 2023 Juno Award for Global Music Album of the Year 

- Two 2023 Canadian Folk Music Awards nominations: ‘Oliver Schroer Pushing the Boundaries Award’ and ‘Global Roots Album of the Year’ 

- "Thieves of Dreams" reached #1 on the Merging Arts/Global Radio Chart (USA) in August 2022 

- "Thieves of Dreams" reached #11 on World Music Charts Europe in September 2022 

BEST of 2022 on World Music Charts Europe - (#36) 

At #1 for 2022 on Folk Roots / Folk Branches with Mike Regenstreif:  “…a very poignant and very powerful album” 

Top 10 songs of 2022, by Paul Hartman WTMD 89.7 ( #8)  

- Top 10 on CFBX - Worldbeat/International Albums for Winter 2022 (#2) 

- Top Worldbeat/International Albums for 2022: (#11)

- Top 10 for 2022: Folk Roots Radio (#9) 

Radio, TV, Press: for a complete list, visit the press tab.

CBC TV Montreal: an interview with Debra Arbec, February 3, 2023 

"Incredibly touching... A moving way to honour history and make sure we never forget" - Talia Schlanger, CBC's Q (May 17, 2022) 

“Beautiful music …a mellifluous cross-pollination of world music and jazz.” T'Cha Dunlevy  •  Montreal Gazette (Jan 26, 2023)

ABOUT THE PROJECT ‘THIEVES of DREAMS,' a "haunting set of musical gems" (The Bangkok Post, June 9, 2022)

This project is about women. Creative, strong, breaking social taboos, and in some ways... invisible. My maternal grandmother Anna Hana Friesova was a stunning, well-educated woman from an entirely assimilated Czech Jewish family: assimilation was fairly common; in her case, it was based on fears of pogroms witnessed by her husband. She was an accomplished artist both with a pen and a brush, and nobody took her seriously - I suspect not even herself: she never mentioned her art to me. Only when my mother recently passed, I discovered two worn notebooks among her possessions: poems Anna Hana wrote between the years 1940 and 1945, just before and during her two-and-a-half-year incarceration (1942-1945)  in the Terezin (Theresienstadt) concentration camp during WW2. I was stunned by the intensity of her words, the erudite vocabulary, the raw and often disturbing honesty. I find her words just as poignant today as they were eighty years ago. 

video of Cekame kdesi, composed by Shy-Anne Hovorka

Daniel Rosenberg's EPK - interviews, stories, photos and all you need to know about the history of the project. 

Thanks to generous Canada Council for the Arts and  Ontario Arts Council grants, and the Czech agency SoundCzech which enabled my collaboration with Milli Janatková, I have been able to commission other women composers to help me create musical settings for Anna Hana's poems, in order to bring about multiple voices and perspectives. Each of us brings our own history and musical sensibilities into the project.

ALBUM Thieves of Dreams - description:

Thieves of Dreams: Songs of Theresienstadt’s Secret Poetess

Texts: written by Anna Hana Friesová while she was in the Theresienstadt concentration camp during World War 2. The poems, mostly about love, relationships and dreams of far-away places, range from the hopeful (“In the bleakest, darkest night, remember the sun”) to the visceral ("With the last tear, the final darkness tumbled down, and God couldn’t see our faces. The end fell into our eyes like a stone onto a mirror”).  Lenka brings these unearthed treasures to life, weaving the powerful poems into a stunning musical and spoken word performance.