Klezmer Starts Here: The Music of Naftule Brandwein

Sun, Jun 25, 2023 at 7pm

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Doors: 6pm

Advance tickets can only be purchased online-we do not sell advance tickets at the venue. Refunds are not available within 48 hours of the event. Tickets do not guarantee seating during shows at the Royal Room. 

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Seating for non-diners is first come, first served. Please arrive early to guarantee a seat!

The Royal Room is All Ages until 10pm.

The Klein Party hosts a concert exploring music recorded in the early 20th century by the self-proclaimed “Madman of Jewish Music,” Naftule “Nifty” Brandwein. It will feature clarinet soloists Zimyl (Simone) Adler, Bernice Maslan, Sabrina Pope, and Carl Shutoff, plus soprano saxophonist Brandon Campbell.

Naftule Brandwein was born into a dynasty of klezmer musicians in Galicia, in what is now Ukraine. Brandwein emigrated to the United States in 1908. A skilled clarinetist and relentless self-promoter, he built a tremendous reputation as a musician and bandleader. He was a soloist with the Abe Schwartz Orchestra, recorded Ukrainian music at Columbia Records as the leader of the Russkyj Narodnyj Orkester, and performed and recorded highly virtuosic klezmer as the Naftule Brandwein Orchestra. He was a wild character, sometimes playing with a neon sign or Christmas lights around his neck, turning his back to the audience to hide his fingering, and pulling down his pants. His personal style of Eastern European Jewish music incorporated Greek, Turkish, Hungarian, and Gypsy influences, jumping up and down the scale and expressing itself in trills, slides, and other ornamentation, often improvising wildly different interpretations of the same song. While he did not live to witness the “klezmer revival” of the 1970s, his recordings and compositions have strongly influenced and inspired today’s klezmer musicians.

Zimyl (Simone) Adler is a klezmer clarinetist who brings their yiddishe soul to their sound and feel. Zimyl plays in Shpilkis, Seattle’s local klezmer brass & reeds band, and just released an album on Purim of 2023: Tsuzamen in Golus. Originally from Philadelphia, Zimyl has played clarinet in the Jewish music scene throughout the Bay Area and Seattle and participates in the international klezmer and Yiddish music community through festivals and mentorship. Zimyl spends most of their time organizing in the movement for food sovereignty but dedicates as much time as they can nerding out on klezmer clarinet techniques and style.

Brandon Campbell tours the West Coast regularly with Kalimba: The Spirit of Earth, Wind & Fire,
and plays funk and soul with Off the Hook. Prior to Seattle, he lived in Chicago, playing and recording with The Projects, The Nightcleaners, Seeking Wonderland, and Miss Honey & The Combs, and in several theatrical productions with Strawdog Theatre, The Hypocrites, The Neo-Futurists, and 2nd Story.

Bernice Maslan took up clarinet at age 50. She is making up for lost time, currently playing in six bands ranging from the Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band to the Washington State Letter Carriers. Bernice runs a monthly klezmer jam which performs as Klez Chaos. Klez Chaos (18 strong) played for a contra dance recently and has performed at Northwest Folklife.

Sabrina Pope is a graduate of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Most recently, she played in the band Bakelite 78 for seven years and formed a yet-unnamed woodwind quintet in 2018. She performs occasionally with Miss Mamie Lavona and the Federal Way Symphony.

Carl Shutoff is one half of the Kesselgarden Klezmer Duo with friend and associate Laurie Andres on accordion. Kesselgarden has been entertaining audiences in Seattle and beyond since 2003. They are particularly fond of the repertoires/collections of Moishe Beregovski, Wolf and Nat Kostakovsky, German Goldenshteyn, and more.

The Klein Party is a "klezmerish band playing tunes from All the Old Countries." While their repertoire centers on original arrangements of Ashkenazi Jewish music from the Old and New Worlds, they also explore any music that shares the ecstatic joy, emotional intensity, and unavoidable party music that we call "klezmer." This includes music from the Ladino tradition, Yiddish folk and theatre music, as well as Ellingtonia, jump jazz, American novelty tunes, Romani music, and songs from Albania, Argentina, Australia, Bulgaria, Cuba, Finland, Hawaii, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Moravia, Persia, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Sicily, Turkey, and Ukraine.

The Klein Party is Eric Ray Anderson (ukulele & vocals), Brandon Campbell (saxophones), Joseph Casalini (bass), David Gassner (vocals & percussion), Ruby Grynberg (violin), Mark Lutwak (accordion), Sabrina Pope (clarinet), and Amber Wolfe (vocals & percussion).

Klezmer Starts Here is an ongoing series of concerts hosted by the Klein Party at the Royal Room exploring the literature and luminaries of the music we know as "klezmer." Future evenings will center on music collected by the influential Ukrainian musicologist Moises Beregovski, songs from the Yiddish theatre, as well as other notable figures and styles in klezmer history, such as Harry Kandel, Abe Schwartz, Leon Schwartz, Dave Tarras, Wolff Kostakowsky, and the Kammen Brothers.

Royal Room

5000 Rainier Ave S
Seattle, WA 98118