Songs from the Jewish Ukrainian Heartland

7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023
Congregation Beth Israel

Tickets Available Here

As war rages on in one of the cradles of Yiddish culture, we join together to sing the
songs and tell the stories of our shared homeland. Tales of forbidden loves, boy soldiers,
the wonders of nature and looming danger, these songs of past centuries have rarely
been more tragically relevant. Ukraine is a heartland of Yiddish music and the the source
of our most important collections of old-time klezmer tunes.

In this program, two of the world’s most in-demand performers of Yiddish music bring this
diverse repertoire together with their own new songs and tunes to paint a picture of
Jewish life in Ukraine then and now, and stand in solidarity with those fighting for their
freedom.

Michael Alpert is one of the best-known contemporary Yiddish culture bearers and a
leader of the international revitalization of Yiddish music and dance since the 1970s. A
US National Heritage Fellow known for his work with Brave Old World, Kapelye, Itzhak
Perlman and many others, he is joined by Craig Judelman, a fiddler who after spending
years touring with his old time string band the Dust Busters has become a driving force in
the vibrant Berlin klezmer scene and far beyond a Craig Judelman.

After teaching and performing at Yiddish culture festivals and workshops around the
world, from Lviv to São Paulo, Kraków, Montreal, New York and beyond, the duo were
midway through a tour when Covid shut everything down. Now they are getting the band
back together, celebrating the release of their album ‘In Der Heym / Down Home’,
recorded in those early lockdown days, and joining together in the midst of another
tragedy, to raise money for Ukraine and stand in solidarity with friends and loved ones
under the clouds of war and working for a brighter day.

About the Musicians:

Michael Alpert has been a transformative figure in the renaissance of East European
Jewish klezmer music and Yiddish culture since the 1970s, and is a National Heritage
Fellow of the United States – the nation’s highest honor in the traditional and heritage
arts. Multi-instrumentalist, singer, ethnographer, scholar and educator, he is internationally
known for award-winning performances and recordings with Brave Old World, Itzhak
Perlman, Andy Statman, Daniel Kahn, Socalled and many others. A native Yiddish
speaker and bridge to pre-WWI East European Jewish musicians, Alpert is a foremost
traditional Yiddish singer and composer of new Yiddish songs but also renowned as a
dancer, fiddler, guitarist and much more. With broad knowledge of the musics and
languages of Europe and the Americas, he has been both instrumental and vocal in
transmitting East European Jewish culture to new generations. Alpert was Musical
Director of the Emmy-winning PBS Great Performances special Itzhak Perlman: In the
Fiddler’s House and is featured in film and media worldwide. He is translator and coeditor
of Soviet Jewish ethnomusicologist Moyshe Beregovsky’s Jewish Instrumental Folk
Music, and his own fieldwork recordings reside at the US Library of Congress. Hailing
from both California and New England, he is now tri-coastal, at home on the coast of
Scotland with literary scholar Emily Finer and two mist-shrouded cats.

Craig Judelman grew up in Seattle and since the age of 4, was never more
comfortable than when he had a fiddle in his hand. He started with classical music but
was quickly drawn to traditional folk cultures, studying Klezmer, Jazz, American and other
folk music wherever he could. His passion for engaging with the sounds in old recordings
and adapting to what the moment demands has led him around the world, performing
and teaching klezmer and old time American folk music on both sides of the Atlantic.
Highlights of his recordings include ‘Have Moicy 2’ featuring Peter Stampfel (The Fugs)
and other members of the Holy Modal Rounders, and the album ‘Old Man Below’
featuring his now defunct old time string band ‘The Dust Busters’ and their mentor John
Cohen (The New Lost City Ramblers) which was released on the Smithsonian Folkways
label in 2012. His current bands include an old time string band called ‘Interstate
Express’, klezmer trio ‘Lebedik’ with Sasha Lurje, and Sklamberg, Lurje, Judelman Trio
with Ms. Lurje and the Klezmatic’s Lorin Sklamberg.

Watch a video of the trio performing in Scotland: