Tutors at KlezNorth 2017

For over 25 years, Deborah Strauss (violin, accordion, vocals, dance) and Cantor Jeff Warschauer (guitar, mandolin, vocals) have been at the forefront of the international klezmer and Yiddish music scene. They were both long-time members of the Klezmer Conservatory Band, one of the premiere groups of the klezmer revival, and have performed with legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman and the late actor and singer Theodore Bikel. As the Strauss/Warschauer Duo, they have performed to overwhelming acclaim in such diverse venues as the Philadelphia Folk Festival and the Jewish Culture Festival in Cracow, Poland.

Cantor Jeff Warschauer is internationally renowned as a one of the foremost exponents of the klezmer mandolin, as an innovator in the development of a klezmer guitar style, as an expressive Yiddish singer and as a skillful and inspirational educator. A graduate of the H.L. Miller Cantorial School at the Jewish Theological Seminary, Jeff is Cantor at synagogues in Massapequa, NY and Manchester, Vermont. He is on the faculty of Columbia University, and is a Founding Artistic Director and Senior Artistic Advisor of the KlezKanada Institute for Yiddish/Jewish Culture.

Deborah Strauss is one of the leading klezmer fiddlers of her generation. She is also an award-winning children’s educator and a highly regarded Yiddish dancer and dance leader. She is a member of the inter-continental group Voices of Ashkenaz with Michael Alpert, Sveta Kundish and Andreas Schmitges, and the groundbreaking Yiddish/North German fiddle trio, Figelin. She has performed with the Grammy-winning Klezmatics and appears in the film, Theodore Bikel: In the Shoes of Sholom Aleichem. Deborah writes: “I am thrilled to be returning to Kleznorth this March. It’s one of my all-time favorite festivals! It’s heymish (cozy) and filled with great people and great music from morning ‘til night.”

Susi Evans “has a deep knowledge of the klezmer idiom” (Evening Standard), and her performances have inspired press reviews remarking on her “nimble solo features and excellent tone control” (The Scottish Herald). Susi is a founder member of She’Koyokh, an award-winning klezmer & Balkan ensemble that was nominated for Best Group in the Songlines World Music Awards 2012 and has performed internationally at festivals and venues such as WOMAD, Sziget, Kypria and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw. Susi also co-founded the London Klezmer Quartet who have toured in Europe, Australia and Brazil and released four studio albums. She appeared regularly on the West End stage in the National Theatre’s smash-hit production of War Horse and has collaborated with the Aurora Orchestra, composer Jocelyn Pook, the Mahogany Opera Group and Limbik Theatre. In 2016 she led the UK London Klezmer All-stars with Lorin Sklamberg (Klezmatics) at Klezmer in the Park. Susi graduated from the Royal Academy of Music with a first class degree in 2004 and continued her studies in Istanbul with Selim Sesler, with Nikola Iliev at the Plovdiv Academy of Music in Bulgaria, and with leaders of the klezmer revival. She is now in demand as a teacher herself and was a faculty member for KlezNorth, Klezfest London, Kleztival Brazil and Yiddish Summer Weimar in 2016.

Phil Tomlinson is a very experienced singer, who sings from his heart, and is passionate about spreading his love of Yiddish song. He takes delight in the wide range of Yiddish song, and the way in which it encompasses all aspects of human life, including love, hardship, memory, politics, the Holocaust, religion, drinking and humour.

Phil performs and teaches Yiddish song.He singsand plays mandolin and guitar with the Klezmer band, The Klatsh.He also finds time to sing in an Early Music Choir, and play bass in a Rock Band.

Phil also chairs the KlezNorth organising committee.

Judith Plowman ‘found’ dance (international folk) about 25 years ago, but then struggled to discover which of her many ‘left feet’ was actually her ‘right’ foot! That finally sorted, she has immersed herself in as much Klezmer Dance as living in a small Pennine town allows – with two trips to Weimar to specialist Klezmer dance workshops significantly expanding her repertoire, as well as the week-long Klezmer dance workshop with Erik Bendix in Findhorn.

Judith has taught and led dance for many years, and is committed to spreading and encouraging Klezmer Dance, finding it such an inclusive and uplifting dance form. Judith was a founder member of KlezNorth but now focusses on the dancing.  Judith invented and will lead the wonderful ‘dance walk’ – a Klezmer exploration of the lovely countryside around Youlgrave.

Tom Deakin was a lapsed-clarinetist who started playing klezmer music eight years ago in The Klezmonauts. Along with Matt, Bee and Corns, we all came to Kleznorth from the start and owe a lot of our musical development to the folks there. Tom works as a teacher in special ed and as a Forest School leader in Mid-Wales. He has a keen interest in the historical recordings of early 20th century instrumental klezmer music. He has been called a ‘klez-geek’!

Sue Cooper has been involved in the Klezmer revival for many years, playing in bands Klezmeidl (York), and Klezmic (New Mills). She also initiated, and then hosted the monthly Sunday Klezmer Sessions in New Mills for ten years. Together with Ros Hawley, Sue obtained funding for a series of workshops, concerts, ‘klezbarns’ and other events in and around Manchester building a network of klezmorim, and introducing Klezmer dance to the Northwest. Without these various events, the delight and the interest in Klezmer music, and thus the momentum for KlezNorth, would have never been stimulated.

She has attended KlezFest London most years since it’s inception, and with Adrian Dobson and Judith Plowman travelled to the Weimar Klezmer Festival to a specialist Klezmer Dance workshop. Her strong connection with her Jewish forebears strengthens her wish to explore and invigorate the many aspects of Yiddish past – the music, the history (European, American and British), the dances and the language.

Andrew Gardiner is an amateur clarinettist from Edinburgh who started playing klezmer around 12 years ago.  He works as a vet at Edinburgh University and for a while played in a klezmer band in which four of the six members had veterinary connections!

Andrew attended several of the London Klezfests and organises a fortnightly session in Edinburgh. He plays with Simon Carlyle and Jan Waterfield in a trio, Kleyne Klezmer. He is also a veteran of Kleznorth, and now shares his knowledge and skills as a member of the organising group for KlezNorth.

Simon Carlyle was converted to Klezmer music from a background of active involvement in early music and traditional jazz. He is particularly interested in the original East European forms of the music, and the communities in which it flourished; he has given talks at KlezNorth, Glasgow Limmud and the Edinburgh Jewish Literary Society on various historical topics. He spends much of his spare time transcribing early klezmer relics, and currently organizes the Edinburgh Klezmer drop-in sessions, so that he can inflict the results on them, as relief from a vain pursuit of the lyric tuba.

Pam Singer grew up in a Yiddish-speaking home and community in Canada’s equivalent of Whitechapel — north-end Winnipeg. She went to a non-religious Yiddish speaking school, I.L. Peretz Folk School. She’s competent in two different accents!

Kleyne Klezmer are Edinburgh-based Jan Waterfield (accordion), Simon Carlyle (tuba) and Andrew Gardiner (clarinet). They are delighted to come south to KlezNorth as a trio. The photo is from their annual summer excursion to play in a lighthouse bothy at Dunnet Head, Caithness – technically as far north as you can go in mainland Britain.

Barbara Rast has played klezmer in Edinburgh for many years and regularly performs in the EdKlez Collective.