Photos by Shendl Copitman
Yiddish Summer Weimar - a beautiful story of integrity, music, love and dedication to tradition and the art of music. I first came to YNY in 2008 - it was a cold snowy February in a small East German town. Intense, i’d never even been to Germany before, even though I have German heritage. Weimar is a town full of history, cultural and dark - from Bach to Goethe to the SS and the Nazi’s. It’s seen it all. No one spoke English although some of the older folks, shop owners and the likes spoke a bit of Russian - a hangover from WWII - and I remembered a bit from my studying Russian at school for a couple of years. That was lucky.
Now is a different story. The town has changed so much, popular with young students and tourists. It has a beautiful park with a river running through it, lush cafes and shops, squats, alternative night life culture, counter cultural events and unfortunately the odd Neo-Nazi - but it actually seems to be a bit of an artistic hot spot.
YNY has slowly been growing over 2 decades and is now a real institution in the town. A mix of in-depth workshops in Klezmer/Yiddish style, language, song and dance, accompanied by always another European musical tradition. This year it was Klezmer and Greek music. Yum.
I was honoured to have been invited to perform with long time fiddler pal Jake Shulman-Ment from New York City. We played 3 shows, including in Erfurt Synagogue (now a museum), one of the oldest Synagogues in Europe. Our thing is to take some of our favourite Klezmer tunes, Yiddish songs and original compositions and to improvise around the melodies, shapes and forms of the music.
It was a blast.
I also got to teach a little sneaky cello workshop on the side seen as there were 4 cellists at the workshop that week.
The Klezmer Cello Revolution is slowly creeping in!
I look forward to coming back next year for me, connecting with the wonderful community of Klezmer players that gather there, jamming into the night and continuing to share and learn about this beautiful musical tradition.
Check out Jakes Music here by the way. It is beautiful and brilliant!!!
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