A Virtual 75-Minute, Pre-recorded Program Featuring Some of Klezmer's Biggest Names!
This year’s virtual YIDSTOCK: The Festival of New Yiddish Music features a dozen artists from around the globe performing Yiddish songs of social justice. The event will stream on Sunday, July 11, at 4 p.m. (US Eastern Time).
These performances, exclusively recorded for YIDSTOCK, feature a diverse roster of artists from Berlin, the Netherlands, the UK, and US:
Sarah Gordon and Michael Winograd • Niki Jacobs • Daniel Kahn • Sveta Kundish and Patrick Farrell • Frank London • Sarah Myerson and Ilya Shneyveys • Cilla Owens • Eleanor Reissa • Polina and Merlin Shepherd • Lorin Sklamberg • Tatiana Wechsler • Eleonore Weill and Zoë Aqua
They perform a broad and eclectic repertoire of social justice songs, including labor anthems, protest songs, humanitarian odes, songs of struggle, and songs based in Yiddish poetry and Jewish scripture.
The 75-minute program will be emceed by YIDSTOCK artistic director Seth Rogovoy.
Sarah Gordon and Michael Winograd
Sarah Mina Gordon is a fourth-generation Yiddish folksinger. Sarah has recorded and performed with Frank London’s Klezmer Brass All-Stars, the Klezmatics, Daniel Kahn and the Painted Bird, Sharabi, and others. She also fronts Yiddish Princess, a Yiddish rock band.
Michael Winograd is a Brooklyn-based clarinetist who plays internationally with his band The Honorable Mentshn, co-leads Sandaraa with Pakistani star Zeb Bangash, and performs with Pneuma Quartet. Michael is the artistic director of KlezKanada, North America’s largest annual gathering of international Yiddish music performers. He was featured on Vulfpeck’s 2016 album The Beautiful Game and appeared with them at a sold-out concert at Madison Square Garden in 2019.
Niki Jacobs has been singing Yiddish since 1999. Based in the Netherlands, Niki is a well-known performer within the Jewish music scene in Europe and the US. Inspired by her family history, she developed a deep love and passion for Yiddish culture and in particular Yiddish songs. She will tour internationally in 2021–2022 with her most recent project, The Ballad of Mauthausen. For “Antonis,” Niki is accompanied by cellist Emile Visser, accordionist Peter van Os, trumpeter Ruud Breuls, and violist Ro Krauss.
Daniel Kahn is a Detroit-born, Berlin-based troubadour, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and translator whose music mixes Yiddish, English, klezmer, and punk-folk. His groups include The Painted Bird, Brothers Nazaroff, Semer Ensemble, and The Unternationale. He is a cofounder of the Earthwork Music collective and the Shtetl Berlin festival, works regularly as a theater artist, and was featured in Carnegie Hall’s 2019 program “From Shtetl to Stage: A Celebration of Yiddish Music and Culture.”
Sveta Kundish and Patrick Farrell
Sveta Kundish is a singer who performs a wide variety of Jewish music throughout Europe. She appears with Voices of Ashkenaz and Trickster Orchestra, among others, and is a regular faculty member at Yiddish Summer Weimar. Born in Ukraine and later moving to Israel, Kundish holds degrees from Tel Aviv University and the Prayner Konservatorium in Vienna and in 2017 completed a degree in cantorial studies from the Abraham Geiger Kolleg in Potsdam, Germany. Kundish currently works as the first female cantor in the history of the Jewish Communities of Lower Saxony, Germany.
Patrick Farrell is a US-born, Berlin-based accordionist, composer, and bandleader. He is an active part of the international klezmer community as a performer and teacher, and he has appeared on dozens of recordings by the likes of Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, Never Enough Hope, and the late, beloved Adrienne Cooper. Current projects include duets with singer and partner Sveta Kundish, performing various programs from newly composed Yiddish song to cantorial/liturgical music, folk song, and Yiddish theater repertoire, and the New York-based, chamber-folk ensemble Ljova and the Kontraband.
Sir Frank London is a Grammy Award–winning trumpeter and composer, a founder of the Klezmatics, leader of the Austro-Hungarian supergroup Glass House Orchestra, the Shekhinah Big Band, his Klezmer Brass All-Stars, & the bhangra/Yiddish group Sharabi (with Deep Singh). His compositions include the Yiddish-Cuban opera Hatuey Memory of Fire (with Elise Thoron), Salomé: Woman of Valor (with Adeena Karasick), the folk-opera A Night In The Old Marketplace (with Alex Aron and Glen Berger), and 1001 Voices: Symphony for a New America (with Judith Sloan & Warren Lehrer). Frank has played trumpet with Lester Bowie, David Byrne, Pink Floyd, They Might Be Giants, LL Cool J, Hector LaVoe, Karen O, Itzhak Perlman, Jane Siberry, Mel Tormé, LaMonte Young, and John Zorn and is heard on over 500 albums. His latest recording is Ghetto Songs.
Sarah Myerson and Ilya Shneyveys
Cantor Sarah Myerson Sarah Myerson is a cantor actively working to bridge the worlds of Jewish religion and Yiddish culture. She is the current Liturgical Director at Kane Street Synagogue in Brooklyn and has previously served congregations in New York, Massachusetts, and Israel. She was commissioned by the Cantors Assembly (2018) and conferred the Diploma of Hazzan and Master of Sacred Music by the Jewish Theological Seminary (2015). She writes and performs new compositions, for example with Jewish spiritual music duo Shekedina, and freelances as a musician, speaker, educator and Yiddish dance teacher and leader.
Ilya Shneyveys is a Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist, teacher, composer, arranger and producer of contemporary Jewish music, ranging from klezmer and Yiddish folk song to fusion and experimental projects. A founding member of Shtetl Berlin and longtime faculty at Yiddish Summer Weimar, Ilya performs and teaches regularly at major international festivals. The Latvian native is a founding member of Yiddish psychedelic rock band Forshpil, Yiddish-Bavarian fusion project Alpen Klezmer, and Jewish spiritual music duo Shekedina. An artistic director of the Caravan Orchestra, he has collaborated with Dobranotch, the Klezmatics, Michael Winograd and many others.
Cilla Owens’ credits include appearances at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Blue Note, the original Small's Paradise, Symphony Space, Henry Street Settlement Playhouse, and the legendary Village Gate. Cilla is the director of the Jazz Vocal Workshop at Hunter College/CUNY and the Adelphi University Jazz Ensemble. She is the lead vocalist in Paul Shapiro’s Ribs and Brisket Revue as well as a frequent soloist for Jacques D'Amboise's National Dance Institute.
Eleanor Reissa lives a life in the theater as a director, actor, singer, and writer. On Broadway, Eleanor, who is fluent in English and Yiddish, acted in Paula Vogel’s Indecent and was honored with a Tony nomination for directing Those Were the Days. Recent musical collaborations include a new program of Kurt Weill music with Frank London and music from the The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel with Paul Shapiro.
Polina and Merlin Shepherd
Polina Shepherd was born in Siberia and grew up in a home where songs were regularly sung at a family table. Now an internationally renowned vocalist on her own, in duo format with clarinetist Merlin Shepherd, Sklamberg and the Shepherds—a trio featuring her husband Merlin and Lorin Sklamberg of the Klezmatics, and a leader of the large scale choir project 150 voices, Polina renders the sounds of the steppes and the shtetl with passion and haunting soul.
Merlin Shepherd, a clarinetist who was born in Wales and is based in Brighton, England, has performed internationally and recorded with traditional klezmer outfit Budowitz, Frank London’s Klezmer Brass All-Stars, with Sklamberg and the Shepherds—a trio with his wife Polina and Lorin Sklamberg of the Klezmatics—and as a duo with Polina. In addition, Merlin leads his own quintet, Hamsa. Merlin has also been klezmer advisor/performer for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, and the National Theatre, London.
Lorin Sklamberg is a founding member of the Grammy Award–winning Klezmatics and teaches Yiddish song from São Paulo to St. Petersburg. His newest recording is 150 Voices, with Polina Shepherd and choirs in the UK and US. He is also the sound archivist for the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in NYC, for whom he co-curates the Ruth Rubin Legacy website.
Tatiana Wechsler is a theater artist and songwriter who has performed regionally and on and off-Broadway at venues including the Paper Mill Playhouse, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, the Theatre at St. Clement's, Two River Theater, Joe's Pub, 54 Below, Yankee Stadium, Birdland, the O’Neill Theater Center, the Beacon Theatre, Madison Square Garden, Town Hall, the Minskoff Theatre, Lincoln Center, the Delacorte Theater, and Radio City Music Hall.
Eleonore Weill and Zoë Aqua
Eléonore Weill was raised in a musical family in southern France and spent her youth surrounded by both classical and traditional music. Eléonore completed a master’s degree in ethnomusicology from the Sorbonne University in Paris and spent a year living and studying folk music in Romania. She has enjoyed a versatile career performing early classical and contemporary music, klezmer and Yiddish song, Romanian folk music, and various other styles on wooden flutes, piano, and vocals throughout Europe and the New York City metropolitan area.
Zoë Aqua is a violinist based in Brooklyn, NY. Zoë is a cofounder of klezmer groups, including Tsibele and Farnakht, and performs regularly with Litvakus, Ternovka, the Honorable Mentschn, and others. Zoë was selected for the 2018–2019 Annenberg Helix Fellowship, which allowed her to study and visit sites of Yiddish culture in Belarus and Lithuania.
YIDSTOCK 2021 is presented as part of the Yiddish Book Center's Decade of Discovery initiative. Learn more about the initiative and its theme for 2021, Yiddish and Social Justice.
YIDSTOCK 2021 is co-sponsored by KlezKanada and The Workers Circle, and is made possible in part by the following endowed funds at the Yiddish Book Center:
- Joan A. Backman Memorial Concert Fund, established in memory of their daughter by Irving and Charlotte (z”l) Backman
- Bernard and Reva Broder Memorial Fund for Yiddish Music Projects and Programs
- Lorraine “Libby” Buch Memorial Fund for Yiddish Music Projects and Programs
- Helen and Irving Sunshine Memorial Fund for Programs