Today on the podcast, Susan Hoffman-Lankin-Watts. Susan is a fourth generation (at least!) Philadelphia klezmer musician and one of my favorite trumpet players in this music. If you want to hear the spirit of the old world come from the bell of a trumpet, listen to Susuan. The daughter of klezmer drumming legend Elaine Hoffman-Watts (z”l), Susan has done everything from touring the world in middle and high school with groups like the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, playing with groups like Frank London’s Klezmer Brass All-Stars and Socalled, and fronting her own bands. Most recently, she’s developing a project in Philadelphia featuring all new music from an all-star band of women klezmer musicians, to be debuted in October of this year. I’ve known Susan played with her and her mom for about as long as I’ve been playing klezmer and it’s a real treat for me to share this deep and extremely hometown conversation with you all.
I’m so excited to share this conversation with the great klezmer accordionist Sanne Möricke, from Berlin. We got to talk back in November when we were working on a project (as yet unnamed) with Michael Winograd in Brooklyn.
Sanne is one of my favorite klezmer accordionists and talking with her was fantastic. She plays in a lot of really great European-based bands like Trio Yas, Khupe, and You Shouldn’t Know From It. I learned a lot from this conversation and I hope you will too.
Hora/Zhok (Möricke) – Unreleased
Heymisher (Trad/arr. Khupe) – Khupe/Heymisher
Hora (Debka) (Trad/arr. Khupe) – Eyns, Tsvey, Dray
Khasene (Trad/arr. Khupe) – Khupe/Heymisher
Let’s Trip (Möricke) – Unreleased
Honga (Trad/arr. Trio Yas) – Get Up! The Dance Album (On Sale March 9th!)
Welcome everyone, to the 6th episode of the Radiant Others Klezmer music Podcast!!
What can I say about the band Veretski Pass? Veretski Pass takes its name from the mountain pass through which Magyar tribes crossed into the Carpathian basin to settle what later became the Austro-Hungarian Empire. These three musicians, Cookie Segelstein, Josh Horowitz, and Stu Brotman truly make up one of klezmer’s supergroups. Between the three of them they are founding members of seminal bands like Brave Old World and Budowitz and have been mainstays of festivals like Klezkamp and Klezkanada. I’m extremely impartial here: these are three of my favorite people, and favorite musicians in any genre.
“Call to Gather” & “Yismekhu” from The Klezmer Shul Live
“Vinnister Sher” from Verestki Pass
“Hora Liora” & “Grass Widow” from Trafik
“Stanislaver Bulgar” from Verestki Pass
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Welcome everyone, to the 5th episode of the Radiant Others Klezmer music Podcast!!
I had the pleasure of talking to ethnomusicologist and historian Mark Slobin at Klezkanada back in August. We had a great talk about the arc of cultural revivals, the creation of Ethnic identity in the US, and of course, the early days of the klezmer scene.
Anyone at Klezkanada will remember the torrential downpour that happened during this interview. Mark and I might get a little shouty at times in the middle of this episode, when the rain was coming down the hardest.
This is the first time I’ve interviewed someone who does not have their own musical output, so I offer for you a bunch of classic klezmer and Yiddish Tracks. All of these can be found on Youtube.
Abe Schwartz – Unzer Toirele
Nekhama Lifshsitz – Reyzele
Abe Schwartz – Ai Raci Ku Ne Draci
Lieutenant Josef Frankl’s Orchestra – Yiddish Blues
Naftule Brandwein – Der Heiser Bulgar
Welcome everyone, to the 4th episode of the Radiant Others Klezmer music Podcast!! This episode also marks the beginning of our 2nd mini-season!
Today I’m excited to present two conversations with two great Yiddish singers, Shura Lipovsky and Josh Waletsky. Shura and Josh both compose new Yiddish songs and each in their own way, show off some of the best of what Yiddish song has to offer. We talk about European Judaism, communist summer camps, the early days of Kapelye, and writing new Yiddish songs. Really great stuff.
I’m writing to let you know that my newest album Radiant Others is out today!
Radiant Others is the first klezmer CD to feature the trombone as the main lead instrument and Featuring a set of original music and arrangements of traditional klezmer tunes that span the history of the tradition. On Radiant Others, my trombone is supported by the futuristic rhythmic accompaniment of guitarist Nick Millevoi (John Zorn, Desertion Trio, Many Arms), and a few guest appearances from Christopher McDonald (Cuddle Magic) on keyboards.
Rivki Silver from Hevira says about the album, “Blacksberg… brings a level of soul and depth of emotion that has made me view the trombone with a new level of respect. His expressive playing set within thoughtful and interesting arrangements takes classic pieces and gives them a fresh appeal.”
I hope that you’ll head over to Bandcamp and pick up a copy!
If you’re in Philadelphia or New York, I’ll be playing record release concerts soon featuring, me, Nick, and special guests!
And also, if you’re into podcasts, I’ve released 3 episodes so far of my Radiant Others Podcast. If you like great stories about playing klezmer and being a musician, I think you’ll like this. Listen here, or directly from the posts below.
I want to wish you all a Happy Fall, and an easy fast for Yom Kippur if you observe.
Welcome to the 3rd episode of Radiant Others: A Klezmer Music Podcast! Today on the podcast, historian, musicologist, tsimbalist, and Yiddish dancer, Zev Feldman.
Zev Feldman is one of the most central figures of the klezmer revival. He was instrumental in introducing the great clarinet virtuoso Dave Tarras to a wider audience and has released some of the most important recordings in klezmer.
Zev and I talk about his cosmopolitan upbringing, the history of klezmer music in Europe, and the place of klezmer artists in today’s world. I really enjoyed this conversation and learned a whole lot.
This does it for our 1st mini-season! We’ll be back in October with new episodes recorded live at this year’s Klezkanada.
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Welcome to the 2nd episode of Radiant Others: A Klezmer Music Podcast! Today, I’m talking to tsimbalist, composer, and musical organizer Pete Rushefsky.
As one of the few people really dedicated to the tsimbl (Jewish hammered dulcimer), Pete Rushefsky has played with almost everyone in the American and European klezmer scene, including artists like Itzak Perlman. As the executive director of New York’s Center for Traditional Music and Dance, Pete does loads of vital work behind-the-scenes, organizing tons of events in the NY area, overseeing the newish Yiddish New York, and helping musicians find funding for their projects.
I really enjoyed talking to Pete about his childhood musical explorations, his pretty impressive start in klezmer music, and his ideas about what the klezmer scene is missing today. I hope you’ll have as much fun listening to Pete as I had talking to him.
Thanks again to the Feinstein Center for American Jewish History for their help with this 1st season!
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I’m thrilled to release Radiant Others: A Klezmer Music Podcast into the world!
I hope you’ll join me as I sit down for in-depth and informal conversations with musicians and other artists whose work has made them an integral part of the klezmer world. With this podcast, I want to give folks who were instrumental in the period of time most of us call the “klezmer revival” a platform to tell their stories and share their ideas about music. The time I spent listening and talking to the musicians in this world who I looked up to was completely integral to who I am today as a musician and a person. Even just listening to the stories of these folks late at night places like at Klezkamp and Klezkanada made a big impact on me when I was coming of age. I hope listening to these conversations can provide you all with some of that same inspiring feeling I had back then.
The first episode features one of my closest friends and musical collaborators, Michael Winograd. Michael is one of the top klezmer clarinetists around. He’s an incredibly creative, hardworking and prolific guy, and I wouldn’t be where I am without him. We’ve played so much music together for so long and in so many contexts and genres. I think he’s the perfect conversation partner to start this show off right!
I will be releasing these episodes in mini-seasons or 3-4 episodes each, once every two weeks for the duration of the season. I plan on offering these seasons every couple months, so this first season will debut this month, and then my plan is to have a set of new episodes for you in October. That’s my current plan, and I expect to re-evaluate as I get deeper into this.
I’m truly happy to announce the release of my newest recording, Radiant Others. This album is a set of original and traditional klezmer music with me as the lead melody player on trombone, backed up by the futuristic, yet still danceable sounds of Nick Millevoi on guitars, and Christopher McDonald on keyboards.
Those of you who know me and my work from places like Klezkamp and Klezkanada know that I’ve been slowly developing my technique and ideas from being a traditional accompaniment player to figuring out how to play klezmer melodies with all the ornaments and feeling of the typical lead instruments. This album is my chance to share the results of this work. As far as I know, this is the first album in klezmer to feature the trombone as the main lead instrument. I can’t wait for you all to hear it.
Radiant Others will be officially released digitally and as a CD on September 29th 2017. You can pre-order the album from Bandcamp:
And if you’re planning on coming to Klezkanada, there will be a special chance to purchase the CDs early in person!
Here’s a live video from a recent concert that is a good preview of this music:
In addition to being the title of my album, Radiant Others will also be the name of a klezmer music podcast that I will be releasing in August. In this podcast, I sit down with musicians whose artistic lives are deeply connected to the Klezmer Revival of the 1970s and 80s to talk about music, and especially klezmer. Stay tuned for the release of our first episode in the coming weeks.