Send me e-mail and if it looks like something others will enjoy, I'll add it to this page. People seem to most enjoy descriptions of concerts, or just the klezmer scene in your area. If you're not a musician (if you're in the same boat as me) this is your place to write. Also, if you can answer any queries posted here, please do!

If you do have questions, they are best posted to jewish-music mailing list. A mailing list works using e-mail. When you send a message to the list, it is passed on to all list subscribers. Likewise, when someone sends an e-mail to the list, you, as a subscriber, also receive a copy of the message.

From: "Atleson, Michael W"

Date: Fri, 7 May 2004

I'm the co-host of Sunday Simcha, a radio program on WMPG-FM in Portland, Maine. I am particularly interested in klezmer and other Jewish music with a jazz influence. I'm sure you need more CD recommendations like a hole in the head, but three terrific additions to our station library compel me to mention the following, for what it is worth:

Michael Atleson

From: Edw Salomon

Date: 17 Jun 2003

Just a note-If you have not heard it-check out the new Yale Strom CD "cafe jew zoo" on Naxos World label (> It features mostly new work, great vocals by Elizabeth Schwartz and two older melodies with just Yale on violin and Andy Statman on clarinet.

BTW-I applaud your work. It is a focal point of my musical/cultural life.

From: "mary lowther"

Date: Tue, 8 Apr 2003
Subject: The Big Celebration

FYI: Last Sunday our Congregation Temple Emanu-El Synagogue, the oldest Jewish house of worship in continuous use in Canada, built before Canada was a nation and when Abraham Lincoln was still in the White House, celebrated the completion of an addition to the shul. Many people were involved in the creation of this building, who's architecture echoes the synagogue's, and which boasts a roof-top playground.

Mitzvah, a klezmer trio I play with, was asked to perform at the opening ceremonies, so let me tell you what happened. The Yiddish Columbia State Orchestra, led by Marian Siegel, opened the fesitivities with excellent klezmer numbers. We played a set during the ceremonies. The synagogue was packed to the rafters and folks clapped their hands and danced in their seats when we opened with "Leben Zol Palestina." It was so full that the ladies in the first row were only 2 feet from my clarinet (their ears are probably still ringing). When we played "Meron Nign" next, with Gary on doumbek, Rabbi Brechner could contain himself no longer and got up with his wife and a local belly dancer and they danced in the aisle. That was quite a challenge, I can tell you, keeping up with the rabbi. But most importantly, from a musician's standpoint, the food was great! (A string quartet entertained us while we ate.)

Mary Lowther, Victoria, BC

From: Noam Pail

Date: Wed, 07 Aug 2002
Subject: Klezmer music in Tel Aviv

I founded a Klezmer club in Tel Aviv about 7 years ago and since then we run it almost every month. It is now very popular, while about 150 people come and enjoy every time. I play on Clarinet myself, as you see it is not my main business, just for the happiness "Neshama". I was instructed for few years mainly by Giora Faidman for Classical and Klezmer stuff. My band "Hachmay Zefat" used to play every summer at the famous Festival held in Zefat in Israel. I would appreciate to get some info about your group and maybe one day to meet and plan some join Klezmer activities.

By the way I created a special CD "The KlezBeatles" which I recorded a klezmer clarinet style with the Beatles most popular songs (play back). So If you are interested in this stuff I could send you a copy as MP3 files if you wish.

Best regards,
Noam Pa'il

From: Richard Schwegel,

Date: Mon, 03 Jun 2002
Subject: Jewish Music Archives/Chicago

As librarian and custodian of the Jewish Music Archives at the Chicago Public Library, I am sending you this message and hope you will find a place for it on your site, so that the musicians on your site maysee it.

The Chicago Public Library maintains an archive called the Dina Halpern Jewish Music Archive. It is dedicated to recording live performances of Jewish music, and interviewing performers, wherever it is performed. In pursuance of this object, one volunteer, Cyril Robinson, has been to festivals in New York, New Jersey, Toronto, London, Vilna, St. Petersburg, and has recorded in cafes in Bristol, England and Paris. He can, however, only record so much. In addition to concerts, he has also interviewed numerous musicians, and recorded practice sessions. We wish to expand our collection beyond the capacity of one person to carry out this task.

Therefore we are calling on any klezmer musician who wishes to do so to (1) interview fellow musicians, and (2) record practice sessions, and then send the product to the library at the address below.

It is our object to create a collection which not only lovers of Jewish music can listen to, but a collection that will be a resource for musicians as well. Listeners will be able to listen but not to download from the collection. Practice sessions will eventually be catalogued in a separate collection.

Upon receiving an item, we will send an immediate acknowledgment. If you wish, after it has been processed, we will send you a copy of whatever you have sent us.

It is our object to give a contemporary portrait of Jewish music, and we hope, over the years, to establish a moving portrait of its development. We also welcome any comment or suggestions from musicians on how to improvethis collection.

Richard Schwegel
Head, Music Information Center
Chicago Public Library
400 S. State St.
Chicago, IL 60605

From: Yair Reiner,

Thu, 12 Apr 2001
Yiddish Radio Project

Sound Portraits Productions has spent the last 15 years tracking down and restoring every surviving remnant from the 'golden age' of Yiddish-American radio (1930-1950) and is currently producing a multi-part series based on this material for National Public Radio's "All Things Considered."

(While almost entirely forgotten now, Yiddish radio was once heard everywhere in the US, from East Coast to West with 30 stations in New York alone. The programs included everything from music, to man-on-the-street interviews, to news programs, to variety shows, to rabbinical courts. The surviving material offers a fascinating, breathtakingly intimate window onto a lost world.)

To celebrate the Passover holiday, The Yiddish Radio Project has posted some previews of the restored materials. (Require Real Audio)

First Maestro Sam Medoff and the Lads of the Yiddish Swingtette present a swing version of "Dayenu" (from Yiddish Melodies in Swing, WHN 1940):

Then it's Nahum Stutchkoff and his kidkins pitching matzo to break a mother's heart (from WLTH, mid 1930s):

To learn more about the Yiddish Radio Project go to:

And keep you eyes and ears open for our Yiddish Radio documentary series premiering this Fall on NPR's "All Things Considered."

Henry Sapoznik
David Isay
Yair Reiner

From: Rebekka Weinstein

Date: Tue, 01 May 2001
Subject: Wandering Jews

This summer, a remarkable thing is going to happen. Six young klezmers will travel across the United States playing klezmer music. We're called Wandering Jews ( It's an extremely exciting project and we are determined to bring klezmer to the far corners of North America!

Now, you might be wondering, why am I telling you this? Good question. Well, I'm politely asking if any of you could . . .

  1. help us get gigs/find contacts
  2. house/feed/help us find housing and food

We'd love any help and advice that you could give - we're really polite, fun people, and we don't take up too much room/have pet allergies/mind sleeping on the floor/eating pop tarts cold for dinner/etc. In short, helping us is really self-serving because you'd get a tremendous kick out of it. We need help finding gigs in your area, and if you know anyone in any other area who might be able to help, that'd be great too!

Here is a tentative outline of our itinerary!

July 1-7: The MidAtlantic
July 8-14: The Deep South
July 15-21: Texas/Oklahoma
July 22-31: The Southwest
August 1-7: West Coast
August 8-14: North Country
August 15-21: Great Lakes Area/Canada
August 21: Arrive KlezKanada (Montreal, Canada)!

Email or for more information! A Sheynm Dank/Thank you!

Added, 1 Jun 2001, by Jeff Perlman,

I will be playing clarinet with the Wandering Jews, a group of young klezmorim travelling around the US this summer. I see that you put Rebekka Weinstein's email up prominently on your site, and for that I thank you. I'd just like to alert you to the MP3s which are now available on our website, in addition to an updated schedule. All this is at:

And, while we will be doing a fair bit of busking, we're also planning gigs in advance in many places. Any help you or your friends can give with contacts around the country would be much appreciated. (Of course, just posting that message to the entire klezmer community is a great help in itself.)

Elissa J. Sampson

Date: Fri, 02 Feb 2001
Subject: Re: new band

The Kleztraphobix are a relatively new Klez band in the NY metropolitan area. As their name hints, their music shows off their brand of humor. Tunes include a lively rendition dedicated to the wise men of Chelm as well as some of the traditional repertoire. They recently played at Tonic as part of David Krakauer's Klez Brunch series. The arranger/composer of some of the tunes and clarinetist is Mike Cohen; Psachya Septimus is on accordion; Jordon Hirsch on trumpet, Dave Hirsh on tuba and base!! and George Hooks on drums.

Personally, I view klezmer music's origins in simchas (celebrations) as a good reason to treat it as what it was meant to be, namely music to move to, whether you're talking about a bulgar, a freilich or other traditional Eastern European dances. The Kletzraphobix did not disappoint from that perspective and luckily there was enough room at Tonic to indulge. People clapped their hands, snapped their fingers, stamped their feet, and yes, two of us actually danced.

I would have preferred something to balance out the brass along with the base, namely a violin, a cymbele or even a viola, but I confess to having a weakness for strings. Having said that, this was fun and am looking forward to seeing them again.

Thomas Eckermann

Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2000
Subject: Berlin, Germany

Sorry my english is not so good. My name is Thomas Eckermann and I make the organisation for music in our theatre. It is the "Hackesche Hof-Theater" in Berlin. Every Monday at 8.30 p.m. and every saturday at 11.00 p.m. we have the Yiddish Music in our theatre, also every day in summer at 8.30 p.m.. A lot of people know us. For example Alen Bern and the rest from Brave Old World or Jeff Warschauer, Flying Bulgars, Adrienne Cooper, Casco Bay Tummlers all the German Bands.

So I think it is good for every Band to know us. Please make a place for us, so that the people contact us. The few in our theatre is 70% from the evening box. Sometime it is only 200 $ for the band otherwise it will be to 700 $. For the bands is our place good to include it in a tour.

So thats enough. My Homepage: take a look, and the e-mail:

Ruby Harris

Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000
Subject: First Klezmer Revival Band

The first Klezmer Revival Band was the Diaspora Yeshiva Band. My name is Ruby Harris and I was in the band. In 1979 David Gray (of the Klezmorim) came to my house, then in Jerusalem, to do research. We talked and I was hospitable with him. When I went to San Francisco several years later, he was not welcoming, so I don't know what he did with the research. We toured the USA and Europe 6 times between 1976 and 1983, often on a bill with the likes of Henry Sapoznik, Hershel Bernardy, Shlomo Carlebach, and the like. We were on CBS records for a while, and later made an MTV video with Tom Petty and Bob Dylan's tour of Europe and Israel.

In 1992 we sold out Carnegie Hall. Somewhere along the line, we also invented Chassidic Rock, which we became more famous for. When we started, Jewish music consisted, like you said, of Sunrise Sunset, plus chazanut, Israeli stuff, New York Jewish wedding stuff (I'm from N.Y.), and Allen Sherman. Micky Katz was long gone, and Nobody heard the word Klezmer. I remember when we played, people actually considered it a conflict to use Holy words with that kind of music, not to mention jazz, rock, etc. (sort of like what they said about rock n roll in its infancy).

It just so happens that in 1970 and 71 in New York, I was in a jazz big band, and I don't know if you remember, but rock was king, Jazz was almost dead, and big band swing was virtually buried with klezmer, but we dug it, and we were interviewed by the legendary Symphony Sid on the legendary WEVD radio in NY. The also legendary Art Raymond at WEVD also interviewed Diaspora a few years later. I also played bluegrass in those years (like my friend Andy Statman), when bluegrass was also pretty much in the dusty relic closet. Andy grew up with Dave Tarras, and I met Menashe Skulnik when I was very young. Brooklyn, Queens, and the Catskills still had an echo of Jewish Music.

In recent times, I've played with Andy and Kurt Bjorling of Brave Old World, and I gigged with Hankus Netsky and Don Byron at Lou Siegles fabled restaurant in New York, and I played for a while here in Chicago with the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band. I now have my own band, plus I have an electric violin blues band. I have a new CD out with 3 grammy winners on it. You can get it at (Velvel Pasternak), or at my website,

Nice chatting with you. I hope this interested you. Hope to hear from you.


From: "Ethan Minovitz"

Date: Sun, 21 May 2000

Dear Ari:

BTW, I ran into the address of what must be the most exotic klez band on Planet Earth. It's on the "Kehillat Beijing" WWW pages (

"Beijing is home to what we believe to be the only all-Chinese klezmer band in the world. Their debut performance was at the 1996 bar mitzvah of Ari Lee, and they are available for weddings, bar mitzvahs and other simchas. For more information contact us at"

The band name, sad to say, isn't listed. Somehow I doubt that it plays Mickey Katz's version of "Chinatown," though ;-]

Another link well worth posting ASAP: The Northwest Folklife Festival returns to Seattle Center from May 26 to 29, and a number of Seattle-area klez groups are playing, mostly on Sunday, May 28. Names include the Kosher Red Hots, Shawn's Kugel and Heavy Shtetl. A couple of groups are also playing on Monday, and there's an Israeli dance workshop sometime during the fest. Admission is *free*, although donations are gratefully accepted. (Tip for those who keep strictly kosher: a very good Chinese vegetarian restaurant, under rabbinical supervision, is one block north of Seattle Center on Roy Street.)

Click on to see a listing of Jewish/Israeli bands at Folklife.

Shavua Tov,

From: Lloyd Wolf

Date: Sat, 15 Apr 2000
Subject: klezmer photographs

I am in the process of doing a book of photographs of Klezmer musicians.

I've done the PR shot of the Klezmatics (which is reproduced in Henry Sapoznick's book) and I have the cover image and seven or eight photos in the upcoming book "The Essential Klezmer" by Seth Rogovoy. Your klez-surfers might want to visit one of the pages on my website- it's got eight shots thumnailed nicely- of Sid Beckerman & Pete Sokolow, Merlin Shepherd, Lauren Sklamberg, David Krakauer, Mark Rubin, a 9-year-old fiddler at Klezkamp 99, Shirim, and the New Orleans Klezmer AllStars' accordian player going full tilt. Just thought you'd like to know...

The link is:

I also have a new book that's just come out on Chronicle with writer Paula Wolfson- Jewish Mothers: Strength Wisdom Compassion- you can see it at:

Best to You- Happy Pesach - You have a GREAT page- Lloyd Wolf

From: "Ed Sieb"

Date: Thu, 27 Mar 2000

I'm originally from Montreal, and have attended the yearly Cote Sainte-Luc Yiddish festival, which is held typically every August. A few years ago, there was featured a very popular Klezmer group, "Raoul" comprised entirely of non-Jews -- all francophone "Quebecois". Not surprising; the Quebec music scene is extremely multicultural and very dynamic. Quebecois musicians are extremly curious and interested in "la musique d'ailleurs", music from elsewhere. I'll see if Raoul are still current and get more details. (Of course, the Baggers we all know about!)

From: "Jerzy Matysiakiewicz"

Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2000

I'm crazy on klezmer and balkan music. I heve not very big collection of CD's. My favourite bands and artists are Klezmatic, Hasidic New Wave, Giora Feidman, groups from Knit and of course mighty John Zorn. Also Polish group Kroke /just heard new album "The Sounds of the Vanoshing World" - IMHO more Balkan then Jewish/.

From Balkan - Kocani Orkestar, Fanfara Ciocarli, Taraf de Haidouks and from many years Goran Bregovic - maybe commercial but great. I've heard him 2 times live in Poland.

With regards
Jerzy Matysiakiewicz M.D., Ph.D

From: "Moshe Renert"

Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999

.... I would like to update you on the activities of the band Olam (formerly Macedonian Mazl-Tov). Since I met you in Ashkenaz, Olam has established itself as the leading Jewish-based (to be distinguished from Klezmer) band in Western Canada. Our shows are always totally sold out. We are invited to perform in many communities and are always enthusiastically recieved. We feel very good about our take on Jewish (and related) music because our sound is different than other bands in the genre.

We have released our first CD "Foreign Dreams" about a year ago. It is a painstaking work of love and took 9 months to complete. We are proud of the results (even listening to it one year later). Although we did not have much time to promote the CD since its release (I got married and had my first son, Isaac, all in one year) it is selling very well by word of mouth (over 1000 CDs sold to date). I am looking forward to commencing full-fledged promotion in the next few months. I would be grateful if you could recommend to me what, in your opinion, is the best record label to approach.

... [C]heck out the tracks at (although some people claim that they can't get songs to download for them. I hope it works for you). I don't know if our music will be to your liking. It is more produced and less authentic than CDs that you usually review. However, please note that with the exception of one track we used no synthesized instruments whatsoever. It was important for us to keep the recording acoustic.

Here are some more exciting news: The CD "Foreign Dreams" is nominated for two Pacific West Music Awards (western Canada's version of the Grammys). We will know on December 5 whether we won. The song "Hava Nagila (Y2K Mix)" will be featured in an upcoming major Hollywood motion picture (I cannot tell you the name yet because of contract details). The movie people paid us enough money to record a second CD. We plan to do so in the late summer (we sure have enough new material for it).

It is intimidating to think about recording a second CD. While one can attribute the faults of the first CD to the follies of being a young band, the second CD needs to send out a strong clear message. In that respect, we aspire to model our next recording on standards set by our favourite band, Brave Old World. What we find in their music (and unfortunately in no other Jewish band's) is real depth. The CD "Blood Oranges" is a Jewish masterpiece that, for me, puts all other recordings of the genre in the shade. More than anything else it communicates maturity and unity of vision.

I still read your klezmer reviews periodically and use your assessments to purchase recordings for my own collection. I thank you for introducing me to Budowitz and Di Naye Kapelye....

Anyway, it seems that I can talk about Klezmer related issues for days, so I'll stop now. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Moshe Renert

From: "joslyn m. layne"

Subject: hello & thanks
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 1999

Hello! I checked out your site and wanted to thank you for the breadth of information and links you've included. I enjoy the Naftule's Dream CD, too, as well as many other Tzadik & JAM releases.. i'm writing to mention that you may want to check out Tzadik's Psamim release, "Abi Gezint," if you haven't already. It's really beautiful. Knitting Factory's new "Zohar:Ketar" with Uri Caine, and sometimes a vocalist, is really interesting as well. i just thought you may enjoy these. By the way, i have no affiliation with the labels/musicians other than the fact that i listen to their releases often! I work at a non-commercial radio station in michigan and so get to hear a greater variety of new releases.. thanks again for your site.

joslyn m. layne
wcbn jazz music director

From: Ethan Minovitz

Date: Thu, 4 Dec 1997

If I don't get back to Vancouver for the week of Hanukkah (which coincides with that goyishe holiday), there's a very good chance that I'll be covering Klezcamp for the Catskill/Hudson Jewish Star!

... about the Jewish music (not necessarily klez) scene in the Hudson Valley:

1) Robert (Bob) Cohen is an active part of the Reform congregation (whose name escapes me) in Kingston, NY. Unless I'm mistaken, that's the same Bob Cohen who guested with Pete Seeger and other folkies and wrote the notes to Joan Baez's first album! He's still an active musical performer, singing Israeli, Yiddish and other tunes solo (well, accompanied by his own acoustic guitar). I ran into him at the opening of the renovated Newburgh Jewish Community Center. He's looking for gigs -- I suggested to his manager that she advertise with our paper! She hasn't yet.

2) There is a Jewish radio show in the Hudson Valley. It's called the Jewish Community Center Hour (I think) and is hosted by Steve Rothstein on WEOK 1390 in Poughkeepsie, a station which otherwise has a fine Irish folk music show (with live bands, yet) and good-music programs featuring songs from the '40s and '50s. Three months here, and I haven't caught the show yet, however. It's from 1 to 2 p.m. Sundays, but I keep forgetting to listen. The station is hard to get from Sullivan County. I don't know if there's klezmer on the Jewish Community Center Hour, and wouldn't be surprised. As yet, I don't know of an e-mail address, but will try to listen to the show this coming Sunday!

Ethan Minovitz

From: Christian och Helena Hansson

Subject: Kroke
Date: Fri, 3 Oct 1997

... We are Christian and Helena Hansson and we live in Gothenburg, Sweden. We're totally devoted to klezmer music and have been so for a couple of years. It all started with the Swedish band Sabbath hela veckan (Sabbath all week long). ... Last Thursday, 26th of September, we went to a completely marvelous concert with the Polish band Kroke at Nefertiti jazz club, here in Gothenburg. The place was packed with people, gojim and jews, young and old, all spellbound by Kroke's own way of playing accoustic klezmer. The songs, now and then, glide into a mysterious, meditative, repetitive, a bit minimalistic playing, at least on bass and accordeon, (still undeniably klezmer), then sometimes go back on track, sometimes plays more and more quiet, until it finally stops. It's hard to describe, but the audience was thrilled.

... The next concert is tomorrow Friday, 3rd (today, in fact), on a small local festival, wtih a local band called Chutzpah. Don't know what it is, maybe it's just a bunch of happy amateurs. At least, that's what we expect, but you never know, sometimes you get surprised. Another band on the festival, that we're looking forward to hear is Stockholm-based modern Swedish folk music band Kalabra. But that's far away from klezmer.

Christian and Helena Hansson

From: Jack Falk

Date: Tue, 16 Sep 1997
Subject: szia!

... You asked about my time with Bob and the gang in Budapest. He is the best imaginable tour guide, isn't he? Before my first trip to Hungary (12/95), I cast a wide net looking for someone there to help with music, dance, etc. From every direction came the same advice: Bob Cohen. The irony, of course, is that Christina Crowder (the DNK--Di Naye Kapelye-- accordionist) grew up 10 minutes from here, but when she visited Portland earlier that fall, we never were able to meet one another!

I was very fortunate. Bob was exceedingly generous with his time and expertise. Perhaps this was because he and I share many mutual friends, although I suspect it's just his nature to be a gracious host. I don't recall whether I've mentioned what I was doing in Budapest in 1995-96. I served as music director for a Hungarian-language production of "Dybbuk". The director, Michael Griggs, is also based here in Portland, and through his work at the Portland International Performance Festival, he arranged to produce "Dybbuk" in Hungary with R.S.9 Theatre and in Poland with Wierszalin.

Anyway, when I mentioned our Dybbuk production to Bob, he offered to do whatever he could to help out. He gave me field recordings, led me to Sighet, let us use DNK recordings for workshops at the theatre, and invited me to Geza's studio for the recording session, where I wound up singing on the Szatmar medley. To cap it all off, Bob and Christina came to the R.S.9 premiere and the three of us played music in the theatre bar until 3 am. (A local videographer captured just about all of it, and the music actually got better after we consumed a gutful of palinka.)

I'm actually planning to go back to Budapest in November, to watch the sacred conversion of apricots into palinka. (Lots more fun than watching pigs get slaughtered.) I'm also planning to spend most of my free evenings at the tanchaz, watching Hungarians whack cellos and play dudas, furulyas, and other bizarre instruments. I've warned Bob that I'm on my way, and he's on the lookout for more interesting ways to spend our time. I can't wait.

Having said all this, let me wish you a sweet year, full of health, peace, and all good things!


From: Hy

Date: Fri, 8 Aug 1997
Subject: Jewish music?

Shalom. I just found your place. Marvelous. But I have to tell you about a fraud that is being perpetrated in the name of Jewish music. I just got a two CD album from Tower Music, entitled 'Burt Bachrach, Great Jewish Music'. BUT, there is no Jewish music on it. No, not as we know Jewish music. It seems to have some weird renditions of Burt Bachrach's songs. They are nice songs, but THEY ARE NOT JEWISH. And it's being produced by, get this, TZADIK Music. It seems to have been the brainchild of John Zorn. So be forewarned. HY in Orlando. I had a Jewish program on radio here for five years.

From: Rachelle Shubert

Subject: your web site
Date: Tue, 05 Aug 97

Dear Ari

I really enjoyed your web site. I am a singer living in Montreal. I sing in many different styles and particularly love Jewish music. In addition to the concert work and teaching of children I do I have provided vocal and guitar music for a number of services and functions at Temple Emanu-El Beth Sholom in Montreal.

I love klezmer music. Who doesn't? My Jewish background is not Eastern European, although my husband's is. I was born in Calcutta, India. You might call me Sefardic or Babylonian. Since I was raised in Toronto, I have absorbed much of the Ashkenazi approach to things Jewish. I have an interesting book of the music of the Jews of Calcutta by Rachel Musleah. Have you seen it? I bought it at the Negev on Bathurst Street when I was visiting my parents.

I am doing concerts entitled Music of the World with a sax player who will be part of the Ashkenaz Festival in Toronto. His name is Peter Freeman.

Well, just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your page and I went and rambled on.


From: Ethan Minovitz

Date: Fri, 25 Jul 1997
Subject: Upstate NY klez bands

Hello, Ari -- I found *some* information about a couple of klez bands in upstate New York.

Two Cents Plain (great name) comes from the Albany area and played July 20 at the Nassau Jewish Heritage Festival. Nassau, NY is near Albany and has an old Jewish community -- the synagogue building was constructed before the Civil War.

The Catskill Klezmorim appear to be local favorites, having played at the Concord Hotel, Albany's First Night and the Corning Arts Festival. The group was founded by classically trained clarinetist Robin Seletzky (daughter of West End Klezmorim leader Harold Seletzky), who studied at the New England Conservatory and the Juilliard School.Other personnel: Dennis Turechek, guitar; Bill Manley, drums; Carol Erlandson, accordion; Julie Signitzer Krajicek, violin; and Orin Jacobs, electric bass.

Shabbat Shalom,

Ruth Gruber

Date: 26 Jun 97
Subject: when in venice

FYI -- I was just in Venice for the Festival of Jewish Culture there, and found that one of the local shops in the ghetto has one of the largest selections of klezmer/jewish music on sale that I've seen. Definitely the largest in Italy, though he just started selling music six or eight months ago.Send pr on new releases, etc, to:

Davide Curiel
David's Shop
Campo del Ghetto Nuovo, 2880
30121 Venice, Italy
Tel/fax -- +39-41/716278.
Email --


Howard Wolfson

Date: Wed, 02 Apr 1997

Hi. My name is Howard Wolfson and I live in Washington, D.C. I love your page and am a frequent visitor. You may want to check out (if you haven't already) a new Kronos Quartet disc of the group performing Osvaldo Golijov's The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind. It is a piece inspired by klezmer and features David Krakauer on clarinet. I think it's wonderful -- edgy, but soulful and melodic.


From: [name withheld to protect the less-than-innocent]

Date: Mon, 5 May 1997

Three of the band (all the yidn, as it turns out) went last night to see Klez Conservatory - they're impressive enough on CD, but so much better in concert. I didn't think I was going to have such a good time, because I'm not so wild about the whole American/jazz/Yiddish theater nostalgia side of klez. They have a brand new fiddler who was the only weak point in the program (and I was the only one who thought so, because the boys were too bedazzled by her physical presence to notice anything missing in the music). It's not really fair to be critical of someone who still has to read through all the arrangements, and who obviously never played klezmer before joining the band. I'm sure she'll be simply amazing in about a year, and she's a cute young slender blond Icelandic type that will garner fans in very short order, but right now she's a bit of a disappointment, from a musical excitement standpoint.

The program was excellent, except for just a few of the selections. [male name withheld--ari] said they must have checked out the audience prior to the concert, calculated the average age, and said "OK, this is the older crowd - let's go with Set List #3B". We had to endure Rumania Rumania as the closer, and several other chestnuts I could have done without. But they're such good showmen, and the arrangements are so tasty, that it was OK, with that one exception, if I never hear it again in my entire life I will be content.

Warschauer was terrific, and got a couple of well-deserved and richly exploited solos - after the concert he said he models a great deal of his mandolin stuff on the tsimbl, but it was clear that he also listens to a lot of oud music. The clarinet player (Ilene Stahl, I think) wore a slinky, clingy, lowcut red strapless dress that looked like lingerie and wiggled her butt while she played, so the boys loved HER (no - she's a wonderful musician as well - I'm just jealous of her figure), and the singer is such a live wire and blessed with that incredible voice - anyway, it was great fun.

Gotta go, work beckons.
[name withheld]

From: Ruth Gruber 100423.3243@CompuServe.COM

Date: 23 May 97
Subject: hello hello

I'm gathering quite a bit of material on Italian klezmer bands. Did I ever describe the concert I went to in Terni of two groups? Or tell you about the CD of one of the bands?

There will be a klezmer festival in Ancona in July -- I helped hook up the organizers with Die Naye Kapelye, who will be there, as well as the Klezmatics and several Italian bands (and I may be giving some sort of presentation).

There's also some sort of klezmer festival this summer in Volterra as well as the Jewish culture festival in Venice, which will close with a Gebirtig day.

FYI a friend of mine put up a website with some of my photographs on it. it's (There are some spelling errors....)

take care

From: Ethan Minovitz (

Date: Sun, 20 Apr 1997
Subject: Macedonian Mazl-Tov

I caught MMT last night at Vancouver's Railway Club, and what a night it was! Not a really big performance space (a bar occupies most of the club), but 40 or so *very* appreciative folks in the audience. Do you know Elana Brief, violinist and vocalist with rival Vancouver klez band Kreplakh? She and I were at the same table, and *she* was the first in the crowd to get up and dance!

So what was played? Lots of hot and cool sax and clarinet, on Mike's part. For a moment there he *looked* like Dave Tarras on the clarinet -- when playing Bird's Bulgar, an original by Mike (who does all the arrangements). As you might guess, it's what could result if Charlie Parker had joined a klezmer band. Stirring versions of Shir LaShalom and Rozhinkes Mit Mandlen (sung by Sylvia Zaradic again), and a rap rendition of Hava Nagila -- who wants to "play it straight"? Papirosn was played with a Latin/salsa beat; it actually "works," but can we call this klezmer? And, of course, there were quite a few klezmer-infused Balkan tunes from Romania, Bulgaria, etc. The finale of the second set was Ale Brider -- time for everybody to get up and hulyet.

If you're in the Pacific Northwest next month, Macedonian Mazl-Tov's next gig is at 9 p.m. Saturday, May 17 at the Web Cafe, 390 West Hastings St. Tickets are at the door. The annual Northwest Folklife Festival takes place the following weekend in Seattle Center, and if it's anything like last year, there should be many area Jewish ensembles, including klezmer bands, during the Sunday showcase of Jewish music (which generally runs the whole afternoon). Last year's had a huge crowd. This year, it'll be May 25, and What the Chelm will appear again. Seattle's Shir Fun (which has promised to send me a demo) will also play...don't know about other bands.

All the best, Ethan Minovitz

From: Ethan Minovitz (

Date: Thu, 03 Apr 1997
Subject: Yes, Ethan Minovitz is back in cyberspace!

[excerpted from longer letter about the Vancouver klez scene and mutual friends] ... You might notice Anthology of Jewish Music mentioned on Kreplakh's WWW pages. They played during our fundraising drive a year ago. A year later, Kreplakh is playing live again on our show April 13! They're becoming much more polished all the time and are getting loads of gigs. ... Tzimmes, ... has been playing lots out of town but hasn't been doing a heckuva lot locally (I wish they would).

Kreplakh does have a rough demo consisting of several pieces (including an original) performed at our JCC during a benefit for the local egalitarian congregation, Or Shalom.

Another local band -- very up and coming -- is Macedonian Mazl-Tov, a six- or seven--piecer with Mike Braverman fronting on clarinet. It has a mixed klez and Balkan repertoire, with a dynamic singer, Sylvia Zaradic. She's of Croatian origin, but can sing in mama-loshn and Hebrew like a native. Unfortunately, I missed MMT's latest appearance (at the JCC), but remember fondly its debut public gig in a *very* overstuffed nightclub. Lots of well-deserved standing ovations. Macedonian Mazl-Tov is getting some nice club appearances in the next few weeks.... A very nice four-song demo (done in the studio) is available, and I've played it a few times.(contact info promised)

All the best,
Ethan Minovitz

From: Ben Brussell

Date: Mon, 20 Jan 1997

We [...] have been doing more Middle Eastern music. The progession from klezmer to Middle Eastern seems logical to me, but some Jewish listeners of the music seem to make a profound distinction between klezmer and Middle Eastern. I realize that there are many differences in these musics, but is this also rooted in the cultural and historical distinctions made within our own people between Ashkenazi and Sephardim?

I have an friend here in L.A. named John Bilizikjian who probably is one of the greatest oudist in America. He's first call for all the session work in L.A., claims he has over 10,000 tunes memorized in his brain and can play over 40 instruments. A fascinating and brialliant man. He says that although he is Armenian and loves all Middle Eastern music, he wouldn't dare play Turkish music for an Armenian audience. The logic there is obvious if one knows his history. Would a klezmer band playing German "ompa" music for an all Jewish audience be the same thing? Probably! So why have we gotten some very strong reactions playing Arabic or Arabic sounding music at events as if we were playing German ompa music? There is more in common culturally and histrocially between Arabs and Jews (dare I say it!) than Germans and Jews. Is this such a cardinal sin, or is the old saying, know your audience, in play here? It has been a rare occasion indeed where we have played for an all Jewish audience.

John Bilizikjian. was the first to say this to me and point out that if I love Middle Eastern music so much, I should study and learn Sephardic music for a Sephardic audience and make a distiction to the identity of the ensemble playing the music. (Klezmer band for Ashkenazi, Sephardic ensemble for Sephardim.) Would you agree?

As you know, the fusion of these musics I love and is essential for the artistic process. I like to mix it up a lot. A distributor of Jewish music here in L.A. said that when a client comes to him, they will specifically ask for klezmer, Yiddish, Israeli, Sephardic, etc. Most clients don't want a healthy mix of fusion or experimentation with these musics. They want the authentic stuff or nothing! Is this your experience as well? Is this a changing thing? I would like to know what you think. For me, these distictions I find very disturbing because I just love all music unconditionally for its soul and beauty and could care less for the negative or racial implications of the politics.

Any way I'm sorry I took up so much space. As a Jewish musician and artist (and proad of it, especially here in L.A.where so many Jews choose not to professionally acknowledge their identities in fear it might hurt business) I do think about these things a lot. I know you do as well. Take care and be well and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Ben Brussell

From: Martin Smid

Subject: klezmer lyrics
Date: Mon, 2 Dec 1996

I am from Czech Republic and I am interested in klezmer music (I play guitar and flute). I like your page because it is source of information about US Klezmer world. In our country Klezmer music is not very popular (small Jewish community and no companies selling the music). I do'nt even know any Czeck klezmer band. But that is not why I write to you. I was trying to find any klezmer lyrics on Inet and found nothing. Could you please advise me where to find it (if it is possible?)

Btw, do you know band Poza (one member is from Holland, second from Ukraina and third is Latvian Jew from Israel, I suppose). They were in Prague last month and I liked them very much. They play klezmer music, but with Russian texts and are very authentic.

Yours sincerely
Martin Smid

Notia Information Systems
Nad Petruskou 1
120 00 Praha 2
Czech republic
tel. +42+2+6911915
fax +42+2+6911925

From: Jeff Gordo,

Date: Tue, 29 Oct 1996

I'm relatively new to Klezmer. My first exposure ... was from the 'Lonesome Pine Special' where Finjan played. As someone who listens primarily to punk and ska, I was amazed to hear all the energy and fun of that music coming out of instruments that I had never before paid attention to (clarinets?, accordions?). Since then, I have slowly learned more about other bands, and even gone to see some play (I had the pleasure of seeing a show with Mr. Perlman & Friends).


From: Shelley Katsh,

Date: Wed, 23 Oct 1996

... "Kol Klezmer" ... is the in-house klezmer band of Temple Emanu-El in Providence, RI. ... Do you know about other synagogue klez bands? Could you let me know how to contact them if you do? I am also planning on starting a children's klezmer band this summer (to be called "Kinderklez.") I noticed the note someone sent you about a synagogue based high school band, and will Email them for more info. Ever heard about other kids bands?

Shelley Katsh

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