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Dan Gottshall & Miriam Kaul
Krausnik Str. 21
D-10115 Berlin, Germany
011-49-302-838-4390 phone
011-49-302-838-4391 fax

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The Hades Jazz Festival web page is

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The Golem Shuffle make it to Hades Jazz Fest, Poland

[Note: This article e-mailed around to several interested folks by Mel Levine,, and posted here with his permission, and that of the author.]

Date: Thu, 9 Dec 1999
From: Mel Levine,

Klezniks and khaverim,
Dig this letter I sent to the Forward

I am enclosing an Email letter from Miriam Kaul in Berlin, a longtime friend from Columbia, MD, on the events surrounding a performance of The Golem Shuffle, a band based in Berlin, at a jazz festival in Lublin, Poland on December 5, 1999.


Letter from Lublin: Shalom Aleychem

Well we have returned from our trip to Poland. It is truly amazing how many experiences one can have in such a short time. The town we played in is called Lublin and it is south of Warsaw some two and one half hours. I believe it also to be the area where the Lubavitcher Hasidim originate. If not directly there, they had a large community in the area before the war.

Our rhythm section is one that makes every border crossing a nightmare. We have Lito Taburo from the Phillippines who is not as big as I and who certainly does not look Polish or German. The drummer is Zam Johnson from L.A. who looks like a cross between a Mexican and a Japanese person with waist length hair and thick glasses. The bass player is from Paris and one parent is Cambodian so he does not look acceptably Aryan either. Then there is Dan Gottshall, trombone, with his braids, and me on saxophone, as the only female, from Baltimore, MD, which makes for an interesting group conglomerate.

The border comes within the first 2 hours of leaving Berlin. I went to another compartment. It is our strategy so that if anyone is hassled there will always be an outside person to take care of any possible disaster. At the border crossing an old man came into my compartment with a really large suitcase. We talked awhile in German while the border patrol went through and scavenged through his suitcase to find that stainless steel skillet he was smuggling across the border. At any rate, he said he was 90 years old and showed me where his fingers had been broken by the Germans in 1939 to take a gold ring from him. He went to Russia and then said that also did not work. He pointed out the large expanse of flat land as we were riding and said that the Communists had never allowed to be be planted to produce anything. He said that flat land was the reason Hitler wanted Poland anyway.

After the border guards left at the next stop in Poland, a woman came into the compartment and took the suitcase away. It seems it was her's but she already had a suitcase full of household things bought in Germany and needed someone else to take one of them so the border guards would not take them. Well at least it worked.

Poland is very very poor. We arrived in Warsaw and were to make a train connection to Lublin. While waiting for the next train there came an announcement and people began to leave. A man came to us and spoke English. He asked if I was playing music in Lublin as he had seen my picture in the newspaper. I said yes and he began to talk with us. It seems the transfer train had been cancelled because of bad weather. So we are in Warsaw with no slotys and no bank machine and hungry.

So Peter, whom we immediately nicknamed Pete, took us under his wing. He got taxis and we went into the center of Warsaw to a restaurant he knew. He called our promoter and explained in Polish the problem. It was solved by arranging for a van to drive from Lublin to Warsaw to pick us up. Meanwhile, that meant we had 3 hours to while away in this Warsaw restaurant which we did admirably eating immensely and sampling every manner of Polish drink. By the time our van came we were in quite good spirit by way of spirits. We arrived in Lublin at 4 a.m. and slept very long the next concert day.

The concert was in an old cellar that had been turned into a restaurant, bar and concert venue. They provided us with wonderful food before the concert. The concert hall of this building was packed and the public flipped out when we played the first tune. What I found interesting was we have incorporated Shalom Aleychem into our repetoire with a funk jazz groove. We sing it and it works somehow. When I announced the tune even before we played it the public began clapping wildly. I have no idea why they understood that or what it meant to them but nevertheless they loved it.

After the concert they fed us again and I being within 100 kilometers from Russia, ordered caviar and vodka. It was fabulous and we had a great celebration.

Before leaving the next day, Dan and I struggled up at 10 a.m. to at least take a quick look at the town of Lublin. It is very beautiful with standing buildings from the 1500s in a sad state of repair. There is one synagogue remaining from before. One really has the feeling of being in another time. The contrast between the buildings built by the Communist regime and the buildings from a former time is somehow unsettling. The beauty of an experience such as this is that things that one has read come alive. It is the farthest east I have been and it was fascinating.

I plan to go to Krakow perhaps in the spring. It is a city that has still intact an altstadt [old city. ari]. Perhaps at that time we can have the time to explore Warsaw as well.

One can really see from where the klezmer music came. It is somehow in the air. Well as to our part of the whole adventure, we wailed!! They really loved us so I am sure we will get invited to do some other concerts there. I hope so. Alles gute! Wish you were around to talk about it all.

The Golem Shuffle was the Headline group for the Hades Jazz Festival, an event lasting five nights. This is the seventh jazz festival that has been hosted in Lublin.

The material we played in Lublin, Poland on 5 December 1999 is from the Golem Shuffle CD from Dan Gottshall that was recorded in the States.

The European version of the band is comprised of people residing in Berlin, however none are German or Berlin natives: Dan Gottshall, Trombone and rap/vocals, Baltimore, Maryland; Miriam Kaul, Alto, Soprano Saxes and vocals, Baltimore, Maryland; Gerard Batrya, Bass and French rap, Paris, France; Lito Tabora, Piano/keyboards, Manila, Phillippines; Zam Johnson, Drums, Los Angeles, California.

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Contents copyright © 1999 by Miriam Kaul. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Page last revised 11 June, 2007.