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A suite of three of my favorite "freilachs' played upon the clawhammer banjo. The first comes from the Philadelphia repertoire, a section of a long dance set called the Philly Sher. Then a tune learned from a recording by Abe Schwartz Orchestra called "Lebedik" (Lively.) And concluding with a fast little number "Bulgar ala Naftule" from the repertoire of the great clarinetist Naftule Branwein which I learned from the equally great second generation clarinetist Sidney Beckerman while I was a staff instructor at KlezKamp many years ago.

The 5 string banjo is unheard of in Jewish music and rightly so. But it's an instrument of my tradition and Yiddish culture is also my tradition, so for me at least I don't see why not. I have no interest in clawhammer banjo entering the Yiddish space. But how lovely would it be if Jewish banjo players would be able to pick out a few numbers from their own tradition, eh? What would it kill you?


from The Triumph of Assimilation, released June 1, 2021


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Mark Rubin, Jew of Oklahoma New Orleans, Louisiana

Oklahoma-born, Texas-reared, and now living in New Orleans, multi-instrumentalist Mark Rubin is an unabashed Southern Jew.

Known equally for his muscular musicianship and larger-than-life persona. Over an accomplished 30+ year career, he has accompanied or produced a virtual who’s-who of American traditional music. With Danny Barnes, he founded Pioneer Proto-Americana band the Bad Livers
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