Sklamberg Lurje & Judelman

Yiddish Songs of Social Change

The band features Lorin Sklamberg, renowned for his work as the lead singer/accordionist of the legendary Klezmatics and as Sound Archivist of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. While audiences around the world are familiar with him in the context of this historic band, in this stripped down ensemble the magic of his voice really shines. He is joined by two Berlin-based leaders of the younger generation of Yiddish culture bearers, vocalist Sasha Lurje and fiddler Craig Judelman. Ms. Lurje, of Riga, Latvia, brings to the stage not just a lot of fire, talent and charisma, but also a deep knowledge of European and slavic traditions and the Yiddish culture she learned first hand

from the last of the old troubadours. Mr. Judelman grew up in Seattle amid the aftermath of the various folk revivals and has made a name for himself as an old time as well as klezmer musician, combining a love for the raw power of down home traditional music with the honest expressivity of a modern ‘educated’ musician. 

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Artists

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Lorin Sklamberg

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who 'sang before he spoke' and taught himself to play guitar, piano and autoharp, has been involved in the world of Jewish music since he was 15 years old, when he co-founded a band, Rimonim, with three Hebrew school classmates at his conservative shul in Alhambra, California. After being introduced to klezmer, Lorin began to seek out songs within the genre, but it wasn’t until after he moved to New York in the early ’80s that he was able to incorporate klezmer into the music he performed.

Prior to that move, Lorin attended two California universities and dabbled in Early Music, opera, American folk and pop and Balkan and East European musics, in addition to dancing and singing in four semi-professional ethnic song and dance ensembles. He studied voice, guitar, accordion and oud and served as the cantor at USC’s Hillel House and Los Angeles’ gay and lesbian synagogue, Beth Chayim Chadashim. Since then he has earned a Grammy for his work with the Klezmatics while also composing and collaborating on numerous projects, working with such luminaries as Chava Alberstein and Susan McKeown. Lorin can be heard on some 50 CDs, and also composes and performs for film, dance, stage and circus, produces recordings, and teaches and lectures from London and Paris to Kiev and St. Petersburg. By day he works as the Sound Archivist for the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research.

When he’s not on stage he can be found digging for treasures at the YIVO center in New York where he works as the head sound archivist. 

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Sasha
Lurje

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was born in Riga, Latvia, and when a friend invited her to join a Jewish youth theater, she didn’t realize how suddenly her life's trajectory had shifted. She received early mentorship from many of the giants of the Yiddish music revival, at festivals in Russia and particularly at Yiddish Summer Weimar in Germany, propelling her to the forefront of the contemporary Yiddish music scene. It wasn’t long before she was joining her heroes on stage, and teaching hundreds of singers herself, making it her life’s work to spread Yiddish culture. Ms. Lurje has taught and performed at most of the major festivals and workshops for Yiddish music in Europe and the USA. Among her notable projects are her work with Daniel Kahn and the Painted Bird, and Semer Ensemble, which performs Jewish music recorded in Berlin in the 1930's. Her Yiddish progressive rock band Forshpil just released their second album, making it clear to the next generation that this music isn’t just a delicate museum relic, but a living cultural treasure trove, ready to adapt and evolve as far as we will let it. 

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Craig Judelman

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grew up in Seattle and since the age of four, he was never more comfortable than when he had a fiddle in his hand. He started with classical music but quickly realized he had much more to say than one genre could allow, studying Klezmer, Jazz, American and other folk music wherever he could. His passion for finding the sounds he hears in old recordings and adapting the violin to whatever context 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. He has performed and recorded with such legends as John Cohen (New Lost City Ramblers), Peter Stampfel (The Fugs), Steve Earle, Patty Smith, Michael Alpert (Kapelye, etc) and Alan Bern (Brave Old World). He performs around Europe with his old time stringband Interstate Express, as well as playing everything from Italian music to swing, and is the Artistic Director of Seattle Yiddish Fest. Craig and Sasha both currently live in Berlin where they help drive one of the world's most active Yiddish music scenes, but spend most of their time on the road playing and teaching this music, feeding the next generation and pushing this rich culture towards its next evolutions. They can also both be heard on the project Songs from Testimonies, music from the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University. 

Programs

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Music Breaking Barriers

Music Breaking Barriers is a program exploring the role of Jewish composers' relationship with protest movements. Yiddish, being a revolutionary language, has been used to give voice to the oppressed in the 1910s and 20s and remains the sound and symbol of freedom and revolution for many. Composer and violinist Craig Judelman created string ensemble arrangements of Jewish and American songs of social change to be performed by two of the leading performers in Yiddish music world Lorin Sklamberg and Sasha Lurje

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Sklamberg Lurje Judelman Trio

Yiddish Songs of Resilience

This new program offers a rare intimate setting to hear two of the most sought after voices in the contemporary Yiddish scene –  Klezmatics’ front-man Lorin Sklamberg and Latvian chanteuse Sasha Lurje – presenting songs that speak to finding power in challenging moments. The Jewish people have centuries of experience dealing with difficult times, and song has always been a way to give voice to our struggles and hopes for a better future. These diverse songs, ranging from the contemporary to early-modern period, help us contextualize the present moment and remind us we will make it through to better times, as we always have.

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