Unpacking a New Trunk of Soviet Yiddish Songs

by Eric A. Gordon Two hear two tracks from the album, City of the Future, click here: “Girls at the Sewing Machine;” “Red Army“ ONE OF MY TASKS when I was director of the Southern California District of the Arbeter Ring (Workmen’s Circle) was to gather, sort, and ship out thousands of books donated by […]

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Dispatches from Yiddish New York

by Bennett Muraskin I CONFESS that I never made it to Klezkamp, which had its final hurrah a year ago. I was not willing to sacrifice the time and money to stay overnight at a hotel in the Catskills, and I had the impression that the program was mostly about klezmer music, which is only […]

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May 26: Ziggy Elman’s Trumpet

Ziggy Elman (Harry Aaron Finkelman), a trumpeter with the Benny Goodman Orchestra who also played klezmer with Mickey Katz, was born in Philadelphia on this date in 1914. Elman first played violin before mastering nearly every brass instrument. Goodman hired him in 1936 as one of the “biting brass trio” (with Harry James and Chris […]

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Carnival in Brazil: Jews Are Finding Their Way In

by Alex Minkin “YIDELE IS A SMART KID, he tells everyone that Carnival is not Jewish.” The author of the 1930s Yiddish textbook from São Paulo, shown at left (from the YIVO collection), wasn’t joking. In the early 20th century, Carnival, seen as a wild pagan street party, appalled the ancestors of the majority of […]

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February 13: The Klezmer Clarinetist

Dave Tarras, a charismatic klezmer clarinetist who lived long enough to pass the music onto a new generation in the 1980s, died at 95 in Oceanside, New York on this date in 1989. Tarras left the Ukraine and emigrated to New York in 1921, where after a short stint in the fur industry he became […]

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Max Raabe Revives Weimar-Era “Schlager”

Holocaust Memory in Germany Politics and Culture by Leo Treitler From the Winter 2013-2014 issue of Jewish Currents   TWO RHYMES BROUGHT AS BAGGAGE FROM GERMANY at the time of my emigration in 1938, at age 7: Jude Itzik  Nase spitzig  Arschloch dreckig  Kopf viereckig Jew Izzy pointy nose, dirty asshole, square head Hundert nackte […]

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Kleztival Brazil, 2013

How an International Klezmer Festival Came to Sao Paulo by Richard Simas Photographs by Edy Borger “I am an idealist,” Kleztival director Nicole Borger admits. “That’s why I do this.” Promoting Jewish music in all its facets connects her long-standing youthful idealism and musical love to a powerful commitment to Hazbara, promoting the cause of […]

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September 1: Adrienne Cooper

Adrienne Cooper, co-founder with Henry Sapoznik of Klezkamp, the annual week-long celebration of Yiddish music and culture, and an international diva of the klezmer revival, was born in Oakland on this date in 1946. Cooper was a scholar as well as a highly original interpreter of the music and always enhanced her performances with rich […]

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April 30: Mickey Katz

“Novelty” musician Mickey Katz, who specialized in Jewish parodies of American classics (such as “Haym afn Range” and “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Katzkills”), died at 75 in Los Angeles on this date in 1985. Katz played clarinet and sax from childhood (in Cleveland) and was earning money as a musician even before his graduation from […]

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