Yidstock Musicians: Selected Oral Histories

Excerpts from our Wexler Oral History Project Interviews with Yidstock 2017 Performers and Presenters

Since we began recording oral histories in 2010 we’ve been lucky enough to interview many well-known and emerging performers. As the summer rolls around, we thought it would be fun to share a selection of excerpts from many of the performers and presenters who have been at past Yidstocks and many who will grace the stage again at future Yidstocks.

The soulful and inimitable vocalist Eleanor Reissa—known as the queen of Yiddish cabaret—sings, acts, and directs in both Yiddish and English. We asked her what’s different about working in two languages. Listen to her response:

"My Ego is in English, but My Heart is in Yiddish": Reflections on a Bilingual Career

Frank London, a trumpeter-composer and founding member of the Klezmatics known as the 'mystical high priest of New Wave avant-klez jazz,' recalls that he “hated Jewish music” when he first heard it. Hear why:

I Hated Jewish Music at First

Recognized as one the champions of the klezmer revival, Hankus Netsky has had an outsized impact on the Jewish music world as an ethnomusicologist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and band leader. How did his journey with Jewish music start? In a Philadelphia attic with his Uncle Sam:

"He then took me upstairs and started playing me records!"

Lorin Sklamberg, world-renowned Yiddish vocalist, tells the story behind the founding of what is likely the world’s most famous klezmer band:

Lorin Sklamberg on the Story Behind the Founding of The Klezmatics

Debra Caplan started her journey with Yiddish as a work-study student at the Yiddish Book Center. Now, she's a leading scholar in the field of Yiddish theater. Learn about the fascinating Yiddish performing group, the Vilna Troupe:

The Vilna Troop Transnational Yiddish Art Theatre

Clarinetist Michael Winograd has a hand in many of the most exciting Jewish music projects around. Hear his reflections on one of his favorite aspects of the klezmer scene:

The Intergenerational Connections of Klezmer