Mon Aug 02 2021


Pacific Time
11:00 am - 12:45 pm



Banjew: The Secret History of the Banjo in Yiddish Music, with Henry Sapoznik

Lecture #55 in Joshua Horowitz’s series, The Promiscuous World of Jewish Music

Banjew: The Secret History of the Banjo in Yiddish Music, with Henry Sapoznik

Monday, August 2, 11am Pacific Time/2pm New York/ 7pm London/ 8pm Paris/ 9pm Tel Aviv. Please confirm the local time.

Length: 1 – 2 hours

Donations to Josh Horowitz are accepted and appreciated, but not required.

Zoom Meeting ID: 967 8901 9038
Password: 156230

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The mass emigration of Eastern European Jews to the United States in the late 19th century occurred while the banjo was a dominant force in popular music. And, while Jews did not become involved in the older, more established world of classic fingerstyle banjo, the newly emerging worlds of ragtime and jazz — and the brash new instrument the tenor — offered an unfettered ground floor for this new collaboration. Starting in 1925  and 1930s, commercial recordings such as those by Alexander Olshanetsky’s Orchestra, Joseph Cherniavksy’s Hasidic-American Jazz Band, Abe Schwartz, Dave Tarras, Art Shryer, the Broder Kapelle and more, reveal how the banjo not only became a mainstream Jewish presence in the Yiddish theater but also how traditional old time klezmer bands adapted traditional rhythmic figures onto it. The talk will also cover my reintroducing the banjo in the mid-1970s klezmer “revival” and its subsequent worldwide renaissance in Yiddish bands today. 


About Joshua Horowitz»

This project has been made possible in part by a grant from the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, in partnership with the Walter & Elise Haas Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Grants for the Arts, and The California Endowment.