Renowned performers Susan Leviton, Lauren Brody & Jake Shulman-Ment will be opening a world of Jewish music and some of its related Eastern European roots on Thursday at 7:30pm, as part of The New York Klezmer Series, at the Stephen Wise Synagogue. (Fill in time, etc.) For decades Susan and Lauren have been on the forefront of bringing the culture alive to audiences of all ages, and their collaboration brings the finest of two brilliant voices and repertoires together, along with Lauren’s extraordinary piano and accordion skills. Jake Shulman-Ment is a young lion of the klezmer violin, who is much in demand and constantly traveling the world.
Susan is one of the few people to embrace the tradition of women’s unaccompanied singing, but she is also a seasoned performer who has been on featured with bands such as the Old World Folk Band, and performers including members of the Klezmatics, Michael Winograd, Zalmen Mlotek, Jeff Warschauer and Deborah Strauss, and countless others. She’s recorded stunning music that garners rave reviews around the world.
Lauren, a founding member of both Kapelye and Mikve, is one of the world’s foremost experts in traditional Bulgarian music, and her singing and accordion-playing in Yiddish performances is legendary. She travels the world as a bearer of Yiddish musical tradition. Lauren will be both accompanist, instrumental soloist, and vocalist for this very special concert, which brings together voices that blend like sisters’, in a range of music chosen to delight, surprise, and encourage an ongoing exploration of our musical roots.
Born in New York City, Jake Shulman-Ment is among the most highly regarded klezmer musicians performing today. He tours and records internationally as a soloist, and with Daniel Kahn and the Painted Bird, Di Naye Kapelye, The Brothers Nazaroff, Pete Rushefsky, Frank London, Sanda Weigl, Joey Weisenberg, Adrian Receanu, Duncan Sheik, and many more.
Jake first began playing violin at the age of 3, and went on to study classical technique with renowned violin pedagogues Gerald Beal and Joey Corpus. Beginning studies in klezmer from age 12, he was initially a protégé of Alicia Svigals. Jake later immersed himself in related violin traditions, living in Greece, Hungary, and Romania for extended periods, becoming fluent in both the musical and spoken languages. In 2010-2011 Jake was a Fulbright Scholar based in the Eastern Romanian province of Moldavia, where he was surely the first foreigner to become a member of the famous folk orchestra “Rapsozii Botosanilor,” apprenticing himself to the orchestra’s director and master lautar violinist, Ciprian Potoroaca.
Working with the Center for Traditional Music and Dance in New York, Jake founded the Tantshoyz (dance house) program. Modeled after the Hungarian táncház movement, the Tantshoyz works to revitalize the Yiddish dance tradition and the spontaneously synergetic connection between dancers and musicians. Tantshoyz has since been replicated in a number of cities in North America and Europe.
Jake has been a faculty member of the Henry Street Settlement, KlezKamp, KlezKanada, Klezmer Paris, the Krakow Jewish Culture Festival, Yiddish Summer Weimar, and other festivals throughout the globe. His debut solo CD, “A Redele (A Wheel)” (Oriente Musik, 2012) was nominated for the German Record Critics’ Award.