Susan Hoffman-Lankin-Watts

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.

Musical Selections:

Liberation Love Song – from Hartsklap

Der Freiling Zeisinke (Sweet Spring) – from Hartsklap

Freilach 21 – from Elaine Hoffman-Watts, I Remember Klezmer

Joseph Joseph – from The Klez Dispensers, Say You’ll Understand

Hartsklap – from Hartsklap

Photo Credit Alan Lankin

Sanne Möricke

Hi everyone, the Radiant Others Podcast is back!

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.

Musical Selections:

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!)

Find out more about Sanne

Live at Klezkanada 2017 #3 Episode 6 – Veretski Pass

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.

Music Selections:

“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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Find out more about Veretski Pass here

Veretski Pass

Live From Klezkanada #2 2017 Episode 5 – Mark Slobin

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.

Song selections:

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

Live from Klezkanada ’17! Shura Lipovsky/Josh Waletsky

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.


Shura: From her album Vaytinke
Dushinke Mayne

Di Tsayt

Josh: From his new album Pasazhirn/Passengers

The 99%

Gut Morgn

Huge thank you to everyone who’s listened and shared the previous episodes. You can find them here, or by scrolling down to earlier posts on this page.

Radiant Others CD and Digital Album Out Today!

Hi Everyone,

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.

Radiant Others is available to purchase as a CD and digitally from Bandcamp

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!

October 22nd in Philadelphia at the Ethical Society

November 9th in Brooklyn as part of the New York Klezmer Series

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.

All the best,
Dan Blacksberg

Episode 3 – Zev Feldman

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.

Please rate and review this in iTunes or wherever you listen to it, and please share it with your friends. You can send me questions and feedback at, @danblacksberg on twitter, or on Facebook.

Musical selections (and where to buy them):

Sher in A (1st), Shir Ha-malois (2nd), Alter Yiddish Tanz (4th) Suite in Am (final) from Khevrisa European Klezmer Music Smithsonian Folkways, 2000

Old Sher (3rd) and The Bride’s Waltz (5th) from Zev Feldman and Andy Statman Jewish Klezmer Music Shanachie, 1978

Extra: Andy Staman and Zev Feldman’s performance from the famous 1978 Concert:

Pete Rushefsky

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!

Please rate and review this in iTunes or wherever you listen to it, and please share it on facebook, twitter, or wherever you social media. And send me your questions and feedback at

Musical selections (and where to buy them):

“Prince Carol Sirba”:

“Chazin’s Sirba”:

“Rabinovitsh” from Joel Rubin’s Midnight Prayer (Courtesy of Traditional Crossroads):

“Peshrev” & “Sacred Esplanade”:

Dan & Pete

Announcing Radiant Others

Hi everyone,

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.

Thank you all for listening.

Dan Blacksberg

Klezmer Musician in Residence at Kol Tzedek!

Hi Everyone!

I am very excited to announce that I will be joining Kol Tzedek Synagogue in West Philadelphia as their Simcha Band Leader and Klezmer Musician in Residence for this coming Jewish year! For members of Kol Tzedek who I haven’t had the chance to meet yet, you may have seen me when I played trombone at Let My People Sing concert in January and when I led the Simcha band at the Purim Party in March.

In this coming year, I plan to bring a lot of klezmer music and Yiddish culture to the synagogue, grow the membership and skills of the Simcha band, and to make amazing music for some great holiday celebrations! The primary activity of my residency will be rehearsing and leading the Simcha band to get you all celebrating and dancing for specific holidays – Simchat Torah, Hanukkah, and Purim. In addition, I will lead two workshops with the band apart from these holiday performances to work on klezmer style and repertoire. I will also hold two congregation-wide Yiddish song workshops throughout the year, at least one of which will be about old songs that speak to social justice issues of today.

Klezmer music was central to the life of many Ashkenazi Jews back in Europe and in our early days in America and no Simcha would be complete back then without it. Now, in bringing this music and culture to Kol Tzedek in a concentrated way, I hope we can use the joy the music brings to fuel deeper and broader conversations of Jewish identity and place in today’s world.

Klezmer music is a major part of my life and how I live in the world as a Jew. I believe that it’s history and how it exists today provides us with lots of resources and insights for us all to use and enjoy. I am very honored to be able to bring this music and culture that I love to you all.

Please email me at with any questions and be on the lookout for a synagogue-wide request to join our Simcha band! And mark your calendars for these holidays that’ll involve the band!

10/11/17 Simchat Torah

12/17 Hannukah

2/24/18 Purim Party

Zay Gezunt un Shtark (In Health and Strength),
Dan Blacksberg

And here’s some music from our amazing Purim Part in March!