Monthly Archives: April 2016

Collegium Tel-Aviv

Israeli ensemble established in 1997 as a professional group performing music from classical and sacred traditions. Collegium Tel-Aviv is led by Prof. Avner Itai, who is the head of the Choral activities department at the Rubin Academy of Music, Tel Aviv University. The group held a successful debut in the Musica Sacra Festival in Nazareth, in an all a-capella program. “The Collegium Tel-Aviv regularly modifies their programs and sings both with soloists from within the choir and invitees from Israel and abroad. The repertoire spans liturgical music, as well as secular; Christian as well as Jewish music, and music of the different ethnicities. The Collegium Tel-Aviv has performed in important vocal festivals across Israel, including Abu Gosh, Liturgica, Musica Sacra, and others. The Choir also performed the premiere of Lidarti’s oratoria “Esther” in the Israel Festival, Jerusalem.…

Basel Synagogue Choir

The Basel Synagogue Choir, one of the rare synagogue choirs in continuous, uninterrupted existence in Europe from before the Holocaust, has recorded several CDs, and now has a new website at The Basel Jewish community founded in 1805 Einheitsgemeinde ( United Community ) has also maintained a professional chazzan. Sound clips on the website feature the beautiful voice of Issachar Helman, a native of Israel. He and the all male Choir sing at The Great Synagogue in Basel located at Leimenstrasse 24, every week.

Arbel: Philadelphia Young Adult Jewish Choir

Arbel is an acronym for Ohavei Rinah Bo-u Lashir –Lovers of Joy, Come to Sing. Founded in 1973 to bring young Jewish men and women together to sing, Arbel was originally affiliated with University of Pennsylvania Hillel. Arbel currently has more than 20 singers, drawn from the Greater Philadelphia area, including New Jersey and Delaware, and is a musically diverse group. Now, Arbel is an independent not-for-profit organization. Arbel presents an annual Spring Concert and participates in major community programs. They performed at the North American Jewish Choral Festival, and twice toured Israel. Arbel has served as a “back-up choir” with Debbie Friedman, Craig Taubman, Robbie Solomon, Sol Zim, Nate Lam and many other nationally known Jewish performers. To schedule an Arbel performance contact Enid Krasner at…

Adash Women’s Choir

A women’s choir located in Republic of Czech that sings exclusively Hebrew music. The choir started as part of a Hebrew class at Ostrava University by Dr. Tomáa Novotný. Later it grew into a performance group. The Adash website has samples of music and discography. Two of their CDs are devoted to Hebrew songs, but they sing liturgical pieces and Yiddish and Russian lanugage songs on their other two CDs which include many solos for folk music as well as choral work. The CDs are Adash & Barbora Baranová, Jewish Songs II, Jewish Songs, , and Hebrew through Songs. The site also includes videos through YouTube.

Mauro Braunstein Nusach Database

Mauro Braunstein, a mathematician and composer, has put together a database of nusach melodies with score that he has transcribed. The database contains thousands of variations of nusach covering the gamut of Jewish liturgical texts. It is divided by liturgy (weekdays, Sabbath, holidays), life cycles, and trope. Within these sections are myriad examples of the melodies and traditions of singing for the texts. There is score set for each of these, and some links to outside sound files as well. The purpose of the site is to offer a leader or researcher musical options to sing the services. Braunstein also offers his services for transcribing recordings into sheet music of those who contact him, which many will find extremely useful. This is an excellent site as a resource for finding nusach in musical notation, although some may find some of the options given within a score somewhat confusing, most will find this very helpful.…

Kraines Family Sings

Rabbi Ze’ev Kraines, originally from California and educated at Cornell University and University of South Africa, has a website with useful musical mp3 files. Rabbi Kraines, a Rav at Ohr Somayach Sandton in Johannesburg, South Africa, has put together a listing called “Kraines Family Sings” of mp3 files of singing Jewish melodies which has three major components: Around the Shabbos Table, Around the Sheva Brochas Table, and Around the Year.

Ziegler, Yerachmiel ‘Rocky’

American singer-songwriter from Monsey. Grew up in NY. His music combines American folk traditions with Jewish soul, with some MBD and contempo Reform influences (a la Jeff Klepper) thrown in. He has many press reviews on the website, which is graphics rich and takes a while to load if you don’t have a fast connection. The website itself, looks good and sound quality was good on the clips.

Zemer Chai

Jewish community chorus of Washington, D.C., founded in 1976 and under the direction of Eleanor Epstein. Zemer Chai sings “the full range of Jewish choral repertoire, including liturgical and classical pieces, Jewish folk music from around the world, and new works composed especially for the choir.” Admission is by audition. Website has contact information, schedules and news about the chorus.

The Zemel Choir

The Zemel Choir, founded in 1955 and located in London, UK, is a mixed voice choir that performs extensively in the UK, Israel and elsewhere. The repertoire is inclusive of Jewish liturgical, Israeli, madgrigals, modern and classical music. The choir has performed internationally at festivals, concerts, on the BBC and other media venues. The choir prides itself on its high musical standards.

Zebelman, Ben

A new CD (released Oct., 2002) by Ben Zebelman, Song of Songs,with himself on piano and Lorenza Ponce,violin,… a recording based on the Biblical song cycle “Song of Songs”. Produced at Steve Rosenthal’s New York Magic Shop studio. Ben Zebelman is a young composer and pianist focusing on Jewish themes in “new American music”. Ben has composed several works including “Kol Nidre Variations” and “Suite Noah’s Ark”, the latter using elements of Sephardic song. For website and reviews:

Yedid, Yitzhak

Pianist and composer. “Yitzhak Yedid’s music reflects a multitude of ethnic and cultural aspects of modern-day Israel. The composer/pianist is working on a synthesis of traditional musical patterns from his native country and contemporary Western music. In this real ‘meeting of cultures’, Oriental melos (Arabian and Jewish scales or the micro-tonality which is so typical of the Middle East and the Mediterranean) encounters New Music and jazz improvisation.”

Yiddish Blues

Yiddish Blues,  founded in January ,2000, is a Dresden, Germany-based band consisting of Mandy Muller, violin, Bernard Muller-Weber, guitar and Reinhard John, bass. They play adaptations of early twentieth-century klezmer greats from Eastern Europe and America. They will play the standards such as hora, bulgar and chusidl, but also branch into the combo elements with swing and tango and newly composed pieces such as “The Flatbush Waltz” by Andy Statman. Their website includes nice clips of several selections and includes their CD and contact information. Additionally special is a brief history of klezmer and photos of Jewish and formerly Jewish sites in the Polish part of Galitzia and environs. the site is primarily in German. A visit to the website gallery of photos is well worth it if you want to get a glimpse how some former Jewish synagogues, mikvehs and other property are being used by Europeans today.…

Les Yeux Noirs

This Paris-based group has published 4 CDs with EMI records and plays Yiddish and Gypsy music. They do both traditional music and original compositions. The group consists of 8 musicians (2 violins, 1 cello, 1 bass, 1 cymbalum, 1 guitar, 1 drums and 1 accordion) 4 musicians are singing in Gypsy, Russian and Yiddish. Contact: Eric Slabiak. 22 boulevard saint denis – 75010 PARIS. tel + 33 1 45 23 31 32 . fax + 33 1 45 23 31 82.


Yehuda is a native of Cleveland. Yehuda learned his stage presence early, singing with his father’s simcha band. Both his grandfathers were singers in the Chassidic courts of pre-World War II Klausenberg and Vishnitz. (he has music yiches). His website says: “Yehuda is not just a star, but a Yeshiva-educated young man with a mission.”

Sebastian Winston, Yohanan

Composer, classical, jazz and pop performer, Jewish music advocate. Typical of the renaissance in Jewish music phenomena of today’s contemporary music world. Musicians today are combining secular careers with Jewish activities and involvement. Today, those Jewish activities are also going on the resume. One such example is this website of a working musician in California. Website contains bio, links, resume. mp3s must be updated.

Voice of the Turtle

Voice of the Turtle is a Boston-based group specializing in the music of the Jews of Spain. The group “learns most of its repertoire from field recordings housed in Jerusalem at the Jewish Music Research Center, at Hebrew University and at the radio station Kol Yisrael. These versions were collected by radio-journalists, scholars, and ethnomusicologists from Sephardi communities in Israel,documenting many versions of the songs which have been preserved by oral tradition.” Their website includes information on the performers, their instruments, and the group through FAQs. Artistic Director, Judith Wachs.

Voices of Sepharad

Group performing since 1986. Music and dance of the Sephardic heritage. Judith Brin Ingber (dancer, choreographer and co-founder); David Harris (Artistic Director, vocalist, and co-founder); Mick LaBriola (percussionist); David Burk (guitar, ‘ud, chumbush, bass);David Rockne Stenshoel (violin). They have CDs called Hamsa, Viva Sepharad, and Pasión. They perform in and around the Minneapolis area.

Voices of Eden

Eliana Gilad uses voice and rhythm as a natural healer. She has several CDs of healing and calming music and also CDs with lullabies for babies. She conducts workshops in Israel, other countries in the Middle East, Europe and the US. She claims her music “has been found to lower blood pressure, increase focus and quality of sleep.” Her website also has a travel and event calendar, sound clips and contact information.

Van Schie, Tjako

Adrian Stoet, violin and Tjako Van Schie, piano have been playing together since 1984. On one CD, he plays Jewish music from the camps and ghettos of WWII. Their CD is “Shtil, die nacht iz Oysgesternt: Yiddish Music from the Ghettos and Concentration Camps. It has selections such as ‘Peat Bog Soldier’, ‘Es Brent’, ‘Yisrolik’ and other Yiddish and European songs from WWII and the Holocaust. Van Schie teaches at the Amsterdam Conservatory and concertizes in NL and elsewhere in Europe. He is a specialist in Bach.


Tzimmes is a musical group based in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. Tzimmes offers a program that “emphasizes the tremendous diversity within Jewish music.” They sing klezmer tunes, Sephardic and North American folk ballads. Their programs usually include several languages. Musical samples are available at the site.

Trio Sefarad

A group dedicated to the revival and interpretation of Sephardi repertoire. Nora Usterman – soprano; Ernesto Wildbaum – violín; Ricardo Barceló – guitar. Since 1994, the Trio has successfully performed at international festivals and a great number of concerts in Spain and abroad. The website is both in English and Spanish. It includes performer bios, photos, events calendar and a little history.

Nizza Thobi and Friends

Where can you hear Yiddish sung with an Israeli accent in a recording coming from Munich with a Weill-styled voice? Nizza Thobi sings Yiddish to German audiences who are only too familiar with klezmer feel good music, but not as much with soulful music of poets about loss, the Holocaust and other Jewish themes. The website features the razzle dazzle of flash technology and webfilm qualities. Concert venues and reviews.

Tasat, Cantor Dr. Ramon

Born in Buenos Aires, Cantor Dr. Ramón Tasat learned Ladino, the language of the Sephardic people, at his grandmother’s knee; his style reflects the rich history and drama of this extraordinary culture. Trained in five different countries, he received a doctorate in voice performance from the University of Texas at Austin. His doctoral dissertation is entitled The Cantillations and Religious Poems of the Jews of Tangier, Morocco. Cantor Tasat has toured Europe with world-renowned Dr. Robert Shaw and has participated in international festivals on both sides of the Atlantic. Dr. Tasat has appeared in numerous opera productions including Le Nozze di Figaro, All Impressario, and La Traviata, and has drawn worldwide critical as well as audience acclaim. After attending Ramón s Cantata Ebraica concert, Rabbi Samuel Weintraub remarked, “Ramón Tasat is a gem.…

Tapuah beDvash

Folk group “Tapuah beDvash” was created last year in Israel from experienced and popular musicians of Israel. P.Levin – string player- soloist of Israel chamber orchestra (Tel-aviv). U. Chernishev – guitar player- musician in jazz band of Tel-aviv. A. Egorov – double bass-balalaika player, musician in Bar-Ilan orchestra of east music. V. Fridman- popular player of national wind instruments. A. Geyko- The leader of the group and compositions’ writer play of ethnic wind and percussion instruments. The concert program of “Tapuah beDvash” is formed on Jewish folklore with elements Ukrainian, Russian, Romanian, Moldavian, Greek and Turkish folklore. The peculiarity of this group distinguishes it from klezmer music in that there are not only traditional instruments (string, guitar, clarinet, small drum), byt the musicians use many other interesting ethnic instruments (wind instruments- koval, fluer, Akkorini, Sopeli, Volinka, Halili, and drums- Darbuka, Lojki, Buhalo, and many others).…

Soul Farm

Noah Solomon and C Lanzbom are the two artists behind Soul Farm. They first met in Israel in Modii m (founded by the late Shlomo Carlebach) in the 1990 s . They began performing together in Israel with their own band and also accompanied Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. After a few years, they moved to NYC where they formed the group Inasense which later became Soulfarm. The website features clips of music, photos, CDs for sale and news of their activities. The albums they have made include: Monkey Dance, Unwind, Live At The Wetlands, Scream of the Crop, Butterfly, Live in Berlin, The Ride, Get Your Shine Box, and Jerry Jams, Jerry Cares.

Peri Smilow

American singer. Peri Smilow is singer/guitarist who performs synagogue and other religious music in a contemporary setting. She has also taken part in the Freedom Music Project, which features freedom music from the traditions of both Jews and Blacks. Peri Smilow, located in Boston, tries to repair relations between the two groups by putting activity and actions together. “Sign of the Dove Music” is Peri’s record label. To buy direct from Peri’s label: P.O. Box 3083 Cambridge MA. 02238

Dmitri Slepovitch

From Minsk, Belaurus.Ethnomusicologist and klezmer clarinetist. Leader of the “Minsker Kapelye” klezmer ensemble. In 2004, graduated from the PG school of the Belarus State Academy of Music (Music History Dept. with a Ph.D. dissertation “Klezmer Tradition as a Phenomenon of Eastern European Jewish Culture”. At present, teaching ethnomusicology and history of music at the Academy and the National Musical College, Minsk.

Sirba Octet

A French Yiddish band which features: Richard Schmoucler (violin); Christian Briere (violin); Ana Bela chaves (viola); Laurence Allalah (cello); Bernard Cazauran (double-bass); Philippe Berrod (clarinet); Iurie Morar (cymbalum); Laurent Boukobza (pianist). Six of these artists are also members of the prestigious Orchestre de Paris. Their performances are very popular and obtained support from many artists including Christoph Eschenbach, Ivry Gitlis, and Jo Amar. Their first CD “Un Violon sur les Toit de Paris” achieved good reviews with excellent arrangements of traditional standards. The group is more widely presented on their website which includes a discography, bios of the group members, sound clips and a video interview with Richard Schmoucler (in French). Extensive publicity pdfs are also available with lots of information about the group and its programs.…

Simon, Jon

American. Composer and pianist. Internet executive. Born Rochester, New York in 1955. MBA from the Harvard Business School and summa cum laude, the University of Michigan, with a BS in Industrial Engineering. Released several albums including “ShabbatJazz”, “From Broadway to Hollywood”, “Hanukkah and all that Jazz”, and “Zoom Gali Boogie”. “Mr. Simon has appeared numerous times at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, Merkin Recital Hall in New York, and at he Concord Resort. He has performed his jazz interpretations of Jewish music at the U.S. Senate and for the Ambassador at the Israeli Embassy, at one of the Inaugural Galas for President Clinton, as well as at concert halls, jazz clubs, synagogues and community centers throughout North America.” Website includes a biography, list of recordings and reviews.…


Shtreiml is a group founded in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and features the 10-hole diatonic harmonica, piano, accordian, drums, and bass. The group mixes klezmer and hasidic music as well as jazz and ‘gypsy’. The vocalist is Abby Rosenblatt. The website features biographies, some clips of music, reviews and some contact information.


Good things are happening in the midwest…. A new young a cappella ensemble called Shircago is out there performing and recording. They have a CD called “Striking a Chord”….produced in year 2000, coming out of “the first-ever Jewish a cappella festival based in the Midwest.” A Cappella groups are very popular on college campuses today…. these exuberant young people are combining some fun with Jewish music.

Shir Hama’alot

An 8-voice semiprofessional chamber choir, which performs Jewish liturgical music in Montreal (and beyond?)has recently been formed. Shir Hamaalot has been around for about a year, and gave a first concert at Montreal’s Shaare Zion Congregation in June 2003. Since then they performed at two other synagogues, and took part in a commemorative concert for September 11th at McGill’s Anglican Theological College. For info, call Jerry at 514-737-6600, or email:

SHIRAH, Community Chorus on the Palisades

Led by Matthew Lazar, Founding Director and Conductor, and Beth Robin, Pianist/Accompanist, the chorus performs sacred and secular music in Hebrew, English, Yiddish and Ladino. SHIRAH was formed in January, 1995 as a regional chorus specializing in the performance of the full spectrum of Jewish music. Its roster includes a multigenerational blend of amateur and professiional singers from the northern New Jersey/New York metropolitan area. SHIRAH performs regularly at the JCC on the Palisades and has been featured in many concerts in the United States and Israel, including Avery Fisher Hall, the New Jersey and Bergen Performing Arts Centers in Newark and Englewood and the Colden Center, featuring the World Premiere of “The Scroll” by Dov Selzer with the Queens Symphony. SHIRAH also performs annually at the North American Jewish Choral Festival and was featured in the Opening Ceremonies of the JCC Maccabi Games in East Rutherford at the Continental Airlines Arena.…

Shir Appeal

Tufts University’s Co-ed Jewish A Cappella put together several CDs including: Man, Woman, and Shewitz which sold out, Transliteration (2005) and Zoozin’ (2006). The group has been featured twice on the BOCA compilation CD’s. the group is available for appearances. For more information, visit the website:


Musicians from Moshav Amirim in the Galilee, Israel have grouped with others to create Sheva. “As a group whose members come from different religions and different paths, we respect the cultural and traditional origin of each and every person. Jewish, Muslim, and Christian musicians from Semite religions join together in creating the music of Sheva.”

Shachal, Harel

Harel Shachal is a faculty member at the New School Jazz and Contemporary Program, where he is the Director of the World Music/Middle Eastern Ensemble. Harel studied composition at the “Rimon” school for Jazz and Contemporary music in Israel. He’s a performing musician who blends jazz, klezmer, middle eastern and other influences. He plays soprano saxophone, Alto saxophone, the G-Clarinet (Turkish Clarinet), the Zurna and the Ney


According to the website, Satlah’s music is “a unique blend of jazz, world music and avant-garde with a strong Jewish/middle eastern flavor.” The band, based in New York City, has a new CD called “Exodus” recorded live at Tonic in New York’s Lower East Side, and a first CD called “Satlah” which features John Zorn as a guest artist. Satlah is an Israeli slang term… John Zorn is producing their music on the Tzaddik label. In the past year, Satlah has performed at the Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow, Poland, the Klezmer Express Festival in Verona, Italy, the MIMI New Music Festival in Marseilles, France and at a concert in London along with John Zorn for BBC Radio. They also performed at the Chicago Cultural Center through the Israeli Consulate and the Washington D.C.…


Safam is a vocal group that’s been around for years. What’s nice is, they continue to write new music, primarily in English. Yet, Safam has reached the point where you can now get “greatest hits” albums. In the world of Jewish music, this is some sort of milemarker few ever reach. The Safam website has many online clips of music from a variety of their albums, old and new, a clear and simple chart with listings of upcoming concerts, songbooks, CDs and biographies of the performers.

Rubin, Joel

JoelRubin by David Kaufman

“Joel Rubin is Assistant Professor of Music in the Performance Program at the University of Virginia. He attended the California Institute of the Arts and received a BFA in clarinet performance from the State University of New York at Purchase (1978). His principal teachers were Richard Stoltzman and Kalmen Opperman. Rubin holds a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from City University of London (2001). Rubin is an internationally acclaimed performer of Jewish instrumental klezmer music and hasidic music. In addition to performances with traditional musicians such as the Epstein Brothers (USA) and Moshe Berlin (Israel), he was the founder and clarinetist of some of the most internationally respected klezmer ensembles, including the Joel Rubin Jewish Music Ensemble and Brave Old World. Rubin’s fifth solo album, “Midnight Prayer”, came out in 2007 on Traditional Crossroads.…

Reuben Jewish Jazz Duo

The Reuben Jewish Jazz Duo is Nehama and Shimon Reuben, husband and wife professionals in Jewish music, for harp & piano. They perform traditional Jewish music, liturgical, and new compositions. They have produced several albums between 1997 and the present, and travel throughout Europe to play in festivals. They will appear in Prague at the Jewish Music Festival in summer of 2000 and on national French TV for the 2000 millenium celebrations. Shimon recently recorded a new double album CD piano jazz solo “Yom Yeroushalayim Blues”, 25 compositions Nehama composed for harp solo and just published “Rhapsodia Ivria for harp” by Editions Combre – Paris. CDs are for sale at

Recht, Rick

Rock star of the Reform/BBYO/Hillel movements, Rick Recht concertizes widely throughout the United States. “Recht also won the 2001 American Zionist Movement and 2000 American Jewish Festival songwriting contests.” According to his website, he has played at over 70 Jewish camps. Recht has amassed a huge following in the teen/20-something community. He has albums, “Tov”, “Shabbat Alive” and “Free to be the Jew in me” and he composes on commission for camps and Jewish venues. His website states: “His contribution to the Jewish music world marks the birth of a unique blend of pop, radio-friendly music with Hebrew, Jewish text, and social responsibility.” But there doesn’t seem to be any question of his growing popularity.


“The exciting six-piece, world beat band, featuring vocals, balalaika, guitars, bass, keyboards, drums, and exotic percussion, plays material from their three CDs plus traditional and new songs.” The band members are Bruce Burger (all things with strings); Tim Bolling Percussion; John Waller Drums,Percussion; Lyn Rose Vocals.

Cantor David and Shira Presler

David and Shira, a singing duo, perform in the New York area in Concerts featuring Broadway Classics, Opera, Cantorial, Yiddish, Israeli and Original compositions. Cantor David Presler has been serving congregations for the past 25 years as Cantor/Educator and is a Doctoral Candidate in Jewish Education and Administration. David’s Jewish Jazz CD entitled “Time for Moshiach” can be heard at Shira Flam, Soprano, has numerous credits performing off Broadway, in the Yiddish Theatre as well as in professional opera. Her sweet energy and exquisite high notes always touch the hearts of our audiences! David and Shira sing duets such as Fiddler’s “Do You Love Me”, The opening of Marriage of Figaro and Falling in “Love is Wonderful”. Please visit them on You Tube by typing in “David and Shira”, choose Hawaii performance.…