Who's who at KlezNorth?The KlezNorth organising group
See the KlezNorth tutors
Ian Stern is guitarist in the Sheffield-based Klezmer band Zhok Hora and has played in Klezmer bands for over 25 years. In his spare time he is a qualified social worker and practice educator. Ian was involved in organising the Klezmer dance and instrument workshops East of the Pennines from the 1990s and has been involved with KlezNorth for the past few years, giving talks on Jewish humour and running the film shows. He is also a member of a Yiddish study group in Derbyshire. Ian chairs the KlezNorth organising group.
Michael Alpert has been a pioneering figure in the renaissance of Klezmer music for over 30 years providing a bridge between Old World Jewish culture and the contemporary Yiddish/Klezmer Renaissance. He is internationally renowned for his award-winning performances and recordings with Brave Old World, Kapelye, Khevrisa, Krakauer, Itzhak Perlman, Theodore Bikel – amongst others. He is a mentor, friend and colleague to many of the brightest new lights of contemporary Yiddish and Jewish arts and scholarship world-wide.
Michael Alpert tells the story of the Jewish people and the human race in song, music and the spoken word. Drawn from his family heritage and his own travels through the cultures and terrain of Europe and the Americas, his performances are sojourns through inner and outer landscapes, sagas of immigrant journeys, and epics of the universal search for home.
Michael Alpert has conducted extensive documentation of music and dance in Jewish Communities across USA and Europe, and is a leading contemporary teacher and researcher of Eastern European Jewish traditional dance. He has been Co-Director of KlezKanada, and Director of Jewish Heritage and Arts Programming at the Jewish Cultural Festival in Krakow.
Aisha Walker plays tuba, most usually in a Yorkshire brass band (Hall Royd Band) and in a concert band (Hot Aire!). She fell in love with Klezmer several years ago and has since attended several KlezNorth and KlezFest workshops. She is a member of the organising group and looks after the email list, website and online booking system. In her non-musical life Aisha works at Leeds University.
Alan Zinober assists on the financial side of KlezNorth. He started playing Klezmer in the 1980s in the band set up by Ray Kohn in Sheffield. Together with a number of young schoolchildren and some adults we played at various venues in Sheffield and elsewhere. The band played in its early days at a major Manchester Jewish Community anniversary when Chatsworth House was the venue provided by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. We played at many Jewish and non-Jewish events, and once provided music in York at the annual North of England Anglican Bishops’ Conference!
Later Ian Stern, KlezNorth’s current chairman, joined the adult players in the band called the Sheffield Spielers. Once in the middle of winter, Ian organised a Saturday night charity gig for the Quakers in snowy freezing Hathersage, a shtetl not noted for its large klezmer fan base. After a slow start, dancers began to arrive in droves and the Police had to be summoned to control the crowds of Hathersage citizens wanting to join in the fun.
Alan is now retired and enjoys playing classical music in an orchestra and in a wind quintet, band music in a wind band, and klezmer music written in the bass clef. He is one of the very few bassoon klezmer players in the world! He worked for many decades as a Professor of Applied Mathematics at The University of Sheffield, where he played for some years in the Sheffield University Wind Orchestra.
Fiona Frank, a former morris dancer and English ceilidh caller, swapped her melodeon for a concertina when she decided to start playing the Klezmer music that lifted her soul. She also calls Klezmer dances. She works part time for the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities which sometimes involves organising Klezmer bands to tour Scotland (!). When she’s not at work she lives in an ecological cohousing project in Lancaster, where she often cooks for 40 people, so joining the housekeeping team catering for over 100 people at Kleznorth seemed an easy task to take on.
A Kleznorth veteran, Keith Lander joined the organising group in 2014, bringing his experience as an instrumentalist and music festival organiser. He has been involved in organising the national Raise Your Banners Festival of Political Song and the National Street Choir Festival.
Keith grew up playing punk, graduating to samba and campaigning street bands before connecting to klezmer and his Jewish roots. He has been the drummer/percussionist for the northern UK Klezmer band, The Klatsh, and played regularly for the KlezmeerKats (a session and occasional performance group in West Yorkshire, UK) as well as participating in KlezFest London.
Keith is a regular Kabaret/schmooze host for KlezNorth, an din 2021 will host the online Kabaret/schmooze on Friday and Saturday nights, as well as doing a cookery demo at 5pm on Friday – Lander’s Latke’s live!
Phil Tomlinson is an experienced singer and performer, specialising in singing and teaching Yiddish songs. Phil’s background is not Jewish, but through 40 years marriage to his wife who is from a Jewish family of Holocaust refugees, he has become ever more involved with Yiddish culture, especially music and song. Performing since the age of 7 in choirs, singing competitions, orchestras , bands, and folk clubs, over the last decade or more he has played and sung with the klezmer band The Klatsh. More recently with his group Yoyvl he has taken performances of “Mir Zaynen Do” and “Yiddish Revolutionaries” to a number of cities and towns in the Midlands. (The former consists of ghetto and Holocaust songs, the latter follows the history of the Jewish left). Phil still finds time to sing in several choirs, and play in a local rock band.