Those who have experienced Aviva Chernick’s intoxicatingly soulful vocals never forget where they heard them first. Whether in her self-titled project of original devotional songs, When I Arrived You Were Already There, as lead for two-time Juno-nominated world music ensemble Jaffa Road, or as an interpreter of the Balkan Judeo-Spanish repertoire, Aviva’s passionate voice blurs the lines between sacred and secular, asking, isn’t it all holy?
Writing, recording and touring an original combination of world music sung in Hebrew, Ladino, English and French, this multilingual singer collaborates with some of Canada’s top world music figures and with international virtuosos such as Yair Dalal and Frank London. In every performance – from an intimate house concert for 40 people, to an outdoor music show for 1,000+ – “Aviva Chernick is a fearless musical adventurer whose clear and persuasive voice takes us places we wouldn’t know to go on our own” (CBC Radio 2 host Tom Allen).
Sung in both English and Hebrew in a pure, raw and unguarded voice, When I Arrived You Were Already There creates a genre-defying fusion of sounds. CBC Radio music columnist Errol Nazareth raves: “Aviva’s crystalline voice graces the album…Voices and instruments come together beautifully on this record that has a distinctly hymnal vibe.”
Aviva’s collaborative recordings have garnered numerous honors, including a Canadian Folk Music Award (CFMA) Nomination for her first solo outing, JUNO nominations for both of Jaffa Road’s albums Where The Light Gets In (2012) and Sun Place (2010), and two more CFMA Nominations for Where The Light Gets In and The Huppah Project’s Under the Canopy (2009). Aviva and her co-writers from Jaffa Road won the John Lennon International Songwriting Grand Prize for their rendition of “Lo Yisa Goy”, a prayer for peace. Among Aviva’s other notable co-written pieces are “Sim Shalom,” which was selected by CBC Radio One’s Hear & Now as a “Song of the Week,” and “Ana El Na,” which received an industry nod from OCFF (Ontario Council of Folk Festivals), winning the prestigious “Songs From the Heart” award.
In addition to her ongoing work with Toronto’s world music community, Aviva is a cantorial soloist, leading prayer at congregations in and around T.O., as well as travelling to congregations around North America as a guest leader, teacher and facilitator of her engaging group vocal and spiritual workshops. She currently studies with ‘American Treasure’ and Sephardic musician Flory Jagoda, supported by an official apprenticeship from Virginia Folklife and Virginia University.