Leon Dubinsky Interview
Leon Dubinsky was born in 1941, in Sydney, NS. Growing up in Sydney and Whitney Pier, his mother and father ran a grocery store, and later a ship chandlery selling supplies to convoys. They were active members of the Jewish community their entire lives, encouraging extended family to attend synagogue and get involved musically. Rabbi Kenner, himself interested in opera, assembled a choir at the synagogue. Half of the the choir was composed of Dubinsky family members, including Leon's uncles, aunts and cousins. Leon joined when he was 9, along with his siblings. He grew up playing with musicians, and collaborated with prominent Cape Breton musicians such as Rita MacNeil and the Rankin family. Leon was also involved in theatre, studying for an MA in Illinois, and returning to the island to perform in musicals and Shakespeare, which he toured nationally. His music group recorded ten albums of original material, one a year, through the 70s and 80s. His song and arrangement for We Rise Again is certainly his most popular, and is sung internationally. Leon lives in Englishtown, performing regularly during Celtic Colours. In this interview, Leon discusses his family, his father's career, living in Sydney and Englishtown, his music, and the Jewish community through the years. This Interview was conducted over the phone in the fall of 2013 at Cape Breton University by Ely Rosenblum.