For the past 24+ years, I have hosted "N'Shoma" on radio station WMRD-AM1150 (Middletown, CT), simulcast on WLIS-1420Am (Old Saybrook, CT). When the show debuted on the first Sunday in November 1996, I walked into the station with 20 albums and 15 CDs. With a few exceptions, most of the recordings were by members of the 1970s-80s "Klezmer Revival". Besides Andy Statman and The Klematics, I owned several albums by the Boston, MA-based Klezmer Conservatory Band. Organized in 1979 by educator, ethnomusicologist and multi-instrumentalist Hankus Netsky (pictured above, a graduate of and long-time faculty member of the New England Conservatory), the ensemble (which has ranged between nine and 14 members) began appearing up and down the East Coast. Their debut album, "Yiddish Renaissance", was issued in 1981 and they have since appeared on 17 other recordings and compilations. In 1995, the KCB joined forces with The Klezmatics (co-founded by former member Frank London), Brave Old World, and the Andy Statman Klezmer Orchestra to support Israeli-born classical violinist Itzhak Perlman in his project exploring Klezmer titled "In The Fiddler's House" (EMI Classics/ Angel Records). The KCB's relationship with Maestro Perlman continues to this day!
|Photo: Matt Cavanaugh (The Boston Globe)|
Around the same as the KCB formed, a student of Yiddish Literature named Aaron Lansky founded the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA. Located on the edge of the campus of Hampshire College, Lansky and his staff began to collect books written in Yiddish –– in fact, the Center has since expanded to house over a million books (!) as well as digitizing 12,000, making these books available to scholars and interested readers around the world. As the YBC expanded, they made room for author talks, concerts, plays, movie series, and more.
On Sunday, January 24 at 2 p.m. EST, The Yiddish Book Center looks back on the history and evolution of the Yiddish revival with The Klezmer Conservatory Band and the Yiddish Book Center: Forty Years in Yiddishland, a video special celebrating the 40th anniversary of these two enduring institutions pivotal in spearheading the unprecedented international resurgence of Yiddish culture. The event is free and open to the public. It will be presented via Zoom and will stream live on the Yiddish Book Center's Facebook page. To reserve a virtual seat in the Zoom audience—which will allow you to submit questions—registration is required: