Photo: Esra Rothoff
The Painted Bird, Berlin's original radical bandits of the Yiddish-punk borderlands, have been troubling the Klezmer scene since 2005. After five years since their last release, they are returning with The Butcher's Share, their fifth and fiercest studio album on Oriente Musik. These original and adapted polyglot songs masterfully navigate the dichotomy between the hopeful and the despairing, the explosive and the corrosive. Featuring a killer live line-up (Christian Dawid, Michael Tuttle, Hampus Melin, and more), these are revolutionary anthems for the apocalypse.
Mames Babegenush is the East meeting the North. Strong Scandinavian roots merges with the vibrant dance music of Eastern Europe, from the ambience of Nordic pine trees to lively weddings in Romania the music of Mames Babegenush gives a sense of both melancholy and ecstatic joy.
Formed in Copenhagen in 2004 the six-piece ensemble quickly dazzled audiences as well as critics with a fresh sound and musical gumption. The group spent years to perfect the styles of traditional Jewish and Eastern European folk music and have always insisted on leaving their personal mark on their music.
Their 5th album, Mames Babegenush With Strings, is out via German Galileo Music vinyl/CD/digital platforms.
Photo: Dovile Sermokas
YSKFI is the international Klezmer band from Berlin playing traditional Jewish dance music and Yiddish Songs. The repertoire is inspired by Klezmer music from the first half of the 20th century and songs played at weddings and festivities in East European shtetls. A band for the whole family that will make you want to get out of your seat and dance!
The Story of a Family
A Narrated Concert
In the 1990s, following the breakup of the Soviet Union, hundreds of thousands of Jewish families from the former USSR emigrated to Israel, Germany, and N. America.
Singer Sveta Kundish's family was part of this great wave of movement, relocating from Ukraine to Israel in 1995. Years later her parents discovered a set of reel-to-reel recordings, made by her grandfather Motik Bezman in the 1970s and '80s, which had survived for the past 40 years, and which chronicle the day to day life, songs, and stories of her family in the shtetl Ovrutsch, Ukraine – part of a Jewish life there that has all but disappeared.
Using these recordings as inspiration, Kundish and accordionist Patrick Farrell collaborate to tell the story of one Ukrainian Jewish family, from Kundish's Great-Grandfather - a cantor in the synagogue in Ovrutsch - through her present life in Germany as a performer and cantorial student herself. Woven around the story are songs in Yiddish, Hebrew, Russian, Ukrainian, and German, either performed live by this acclaimed duo or brought back from the past through these rediscovered recordings. Family photos from the past 100 years, projected onto a screen next to the performers, give the audience a window into typical Jewish life in Ukraine during the years of the USSR, and into the widespread experience of emigration in the years after.
Photo: Manuel Miethe
Recipient of the prestigious Weimar Prize in 2016 and the Thuringia Order of Merit in 2017, Dr. Alan Bern is the founding artistic director of Yiddish Summer Weimar and the OMA Improvisation Project, founding director of the Other Music Academy (OMA), and co-founder and chair of other music e.V. He is a composer/arranger, pianist, accordionist, educator, cultural activist and philosopher. He is co-founder and director of Brave Old World, founder and director of The Other Europeans, Diaspora Redux and the Semer Ensemble, and he also performs with Bern, Brody & Rodach and with Guy Klucevsek.
His education included classical piano with Paul Badura-Skoda and Leonard Shure, jazz with Karl Berger, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Anthony Braxton and others, contemporary music with John Cage, Frederic Rzewski, Joel Hoffman and others, and philosophy and cognitive science with Dan Dennett. He received his master's degree in Philosophy and his doctorate degree in Music Composition. He has composed and directed music for theater and dance in New York, Montreal, Berlin, Lucerne, Essen and Bremen, among others. He is the creator of Present-Time Composition, an innovative approach to music improvisation informed by insights from cognitive science. In 2009, he was given the Ruth Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as a musician and educator.
Shane Baker is the best-loved Episcopalian on the Yiddish stage today. With the Congress for Jewish Culture, he has performed, lectured, and given classes in Yiddish theater and literature the world over; and tours with his critically acclaimed one-man show THE BIG BUPKIS: A COMPLETE GENTILE’S GUIDE TO YIDDISH VAUDEVILLE.
With the New Yiddish Rep, he has played Yankl in GOD OF VENGEANCE, and Vladimir in his own Yiddish translation of Samuel Beckett’s WAITING FOR GODOT for the play’s Yiddish world premiere, two Off-Broadway runs, and tours to Enniskillen, Northern Ireland and Paris, France.
Photo: Jordan McAfee
- strange loves, strangesongs, strange languages
Daniel Kahn & Sasha Lurje
Modern balladeers Daniel Kahn (The Painted Bird) and Sasha Lurje (Forshpil) have woven a program of beautiful, sad, and dangerous songs. Heartache, lust, murder, nature and world-weariness weave through these duets in German, English, Yiddish, Ukrainian and Russian. Creatively translated and adapted, the lyrics shift back and forth between tongues and musical styles: from classics by Tom Waits and Brecht in Yiddish to Russian ballads in English. A heart-rending evening.