Susan Leviton, sought-after Yiddish performer and teacher of Yiddish folk arts, launches her new recording “Deep Skies” by surrounding herself with some of Yiddishland’s top musicians: producer/arranger Michael Winograd, and David Licht, Carmen Staaf, and others on April 29. From Michael Wex’s liner notes: “…Susan has chosen to raise relatively familiar [songs] to… their upper roots, the realm where dumbing down is replaced by smartening up.” Hankus Netsky praises the collection as “expertly arranged and beautifully sung.”
Prepare to laugh, to be haunted by imagery and music, to find yourself transported, and to discover a personal connection to songs that might otherwise be written off as distant. Susan’s range and emotional integrity interpret each phrase with knowing and complex richness. The evening of Yiddish music will wrap you in surprising beauty and stay with you long afterwards.
Susan is considered an artistic Renaissance woman with a primary focus on Yiddish culture. As a renowned calligraphic artist, she works with historic forms and brings them, shining, into the 21st Century, sometimes adapting traditional Jewish papercutting styles by using materials like plastic laminate (e.g. laser-cut Formica) to fashion lasting public wall art, and often painting the words of Yiddish poems before learning the tunes to which they’ve been set. “This allows me to live with the words and find a home for them – a voice for them – before I set about singing them.”
Blending the visual and the vocal arts puts Susan into an unusual place in the arc of Yiddish culture, and she travels as artist-in-residence, as performer, teacher, and lecturer throughout North America and far beyond, sharing her enthusiastic joy for things Yiddish. A staff member at KlezKamp since the late 1980’s, she’s also performed in countless concerts and programs for Arbeter Ring, universities across the country, the Yiddish Book Center, Ashkenaz, Musikfest, the Smithsonian, and the Philadelphia Folk Festival. She’s delighted with the release of her newest recording, Deep Skies, a unique, hard-bound book with her own paintings on each page, offering each song both a thoughtful musical as well as a visual home.
Please visit Susan’s website at www.susanlevitonarts.com