Bas Sheva (exotica)

Written by Durk Kooistra on Monday the 27th of April, 2009
If you like exotica you might know the cult sampler Ultra Lounge. Some great tracks in there by the usual suspects like Yma Sumac, Les Baxter, Lyman. But there's a less known gem to be found amongst their midst.

We are talking about Bas Sheva. Not much is know about this woman. Her real name was Beatrice Kurzman. According to "Uncle Dave Lewis, All Music Guide," Bas Sheva was

"born to a wealthy and prominent Jewish family in Philadelphia. When Kurzman decided to go into show business she adopted the name "Bas Sheva" (i.e., the Biblical "Bathsheba") in order not to embarrass her family....and probably got her start singing in the socalled "Borscht Belt" of Catskill Mountains resorts.

In 1953 Bas Sheva was engaged by bandleader Hal Mooney as the principal voice on Soul of a People, a collection of traditional Jewish songs issued by Capitol. This was a very successful disc in the Jewish market, and Bas Sheva's brassy, no holds barred delivery of this familiar material was an important element in making Soul of a People appealing....Bas Sheva's performance on The Passions is quite amazing even 50 years on; she screams, wails, whimpers, howls, grunts, and even acts a little to the pulsating rhythms of Baxter's dark, gritty, and complex musical score...

In 1960 Bas Sheva died at age 34 from a diabetic reaction suffered while entertaining on board a cruise ship."

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