Josh Waletzky, (born in Brooklyn, in 1948) is one of the leading Yiddish songwriters in the world. He grew up immersed in the Yiddish music world of his family and secular school/camp network and has been teaching, performing, and writing Yiddish songs and instrumentals ever since. Yiddish music has also figured prominently in his documentary filmmaking career, from “Image Before My Eyes” (1981) and “Partisans of Vilna” (1986) to PBS programs featuring Itzhak Perlman to his four recent films on Yiddish writers, from Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman (2005) to Yonia Fain (2017). Josh was a founding member of the early klezmer revival band “Kapelye,” and went on to collaborate with Deborah Strauss and Jeff Warschauer on a landmark collection of his original Yiddish songs in 2002, “Crossing the Shadows.” He has a new album of Yiddish songs, “PASAZHIRN / Passengers”
Ilya Shneyveys is an international performer, accordionist and multi-instrumentalist, teacher, composer, arranger and producer of contemporary Jewish music, from klezmer and Yiddish folk song to fusion and experimental projects.
A founding member of Berlin’s famous Neukölln Klezmer Sessions and Shtetl Neukölln festival, as well as a long-time faculty member at Yiddish Summer Weimar, Ilya has performed and taught at major Jewish festivals around the world, including Yiddish Fest Moscow, Yiddish New York, Klezfest St.Petersburg, Klezfest London, KlezKanada, Montreal Jewish Festival, Toronto Ashkenaz Festival, Krakow Jewish Festival and more.
He is the artistic director and a founding member of the Yiddish psychedelic rock band Forshpil (LV-RU-DE) and a founding member of the Yiddish-Bavarian fusion project Alpen Klezmer (DE), winner of 2014 RUTH World Music Award at TFF Rudolstadt. He is an artictic director of the German-Israeli student exchange project The Caravan Orchestra, for which he was awarded the 2017 Shimon-Peres-Prize. As a touring member of the klezmer-balkan band Dobranotch (RU) he has received the Eiserne Eversteiner Preis in 2017. He has performed and collaborated with such projects like Opa! (RU), The Klezmatics (US), Daniel Kahn and the Painted Bird (DE) and many others.
Ilya composes contemporary traditional klezmer pieces and creates original arrangements of traditional Jewish music. He is renowned as an improviser, accompanist and band leader.
Originally from Riga, Latvia, Ilya has been traveling the world for the last 15 years promoting Yiddish music and culture. He is currently based in Brooklyn, NY.