Sun Jun 12 2022


Pacific Time
11:00 am - 12:45 pm


Presented by KlezCalifornia
Co-presented by Jewish Community Library and Jewish Folk Chorus of San Francisco

The Barry Sisters and Yiddish Swing, with Andy Muchin

The Barry Sisters and Yiddish Swing: How Clara and Minnie Bagelman personified and then outlasted Jewish music’s sunniest hybrid style, with Andy Muchin

Broadcaster and music writer Andy Muchin takes a deep dive into the career of The Barry Sisters and the musical mash-up they helped to popularize, Yiddish Swing. Claire and Merna Barry, born Clara and Minnie Bagelman in the Bronx, New York, were among the earliest and best-known Yiddish Swingsters with their lively renditions of Jewish music set to a jazzy beat. With their sweet, tight harmonies and consummate artistry, the sisters performed on radio and television, in nightclubs, and on concert stages for nearly 40 years, including as stars of a 1959 U.S. friendship tour of the Soviet Union. They recorded mostly Yiddish songs on numerous 78 rpm discs and LPs from the late 1930s to 1973, their style evolving with the times. Andy will explore the Barry Sisters’ brilliant careers during and after Yiddish Swing—and take a toe-tapping detour to listen to some of the best Yiddish Swing recordings from artists as diverse as klezmer clarinetist Dave Tarras and bluesy singer/instrumentalist Slim Gaillard.                                         

Andy Muchin has hosted the weekly “Sounds Jewish” radio show on Mississippi Public Broadcasting and since 2010. He has written about Jewish music for “The Forward” newspaper, “Moment” magazine, “J.-The Jewish News of Northern California,” and other publications.


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This event is free. However KlezCalifornia relies on donations from participants to cover the costs of online lectures, workshops, kumzitsn, play readings, and more. Donations of $18, $36, $108 (or whatever you can afford) are needed to enable us to continue to connect you with Yiddish culture. Please consider donating at least the cost of a cup of coffee!