Soul Songs: Inspiring Women of Klezmer

Philadelphia Folklore Project



Soul Songs: Inspiring Women of Klezmer. Photo by Toni Shapiro.


Susan Lankin-Watts in concert. Photo by James Wasserman.

Philadelphia Folklore Project’s Soul Songs: Inspiring Women of Klezmer featured a concert of new compositions, written and performed by three generations of women who bring contemporary meaning to klezmer, a traditional, Eastern European, Jewish folk music form. Led by Susan Lankin-Watts, a 2015 Pew Fellow, the project brought together violinists Cookie Segelstein, Deborah Strauss, and Alicia Svigals; pianist Marilyn Lerner; clarinetists Zoe Christiansen and Ilene Stahl; trombonist Rachel Lemisch; accordionist Lauren Brody; flute player Adrianne Greenbaum; and bassist Joanna Sternberg. Each artist’s work brings a distinct approach to innovating within the recognizable framework of the centuries-old genre—connecting folk elements of Baroque music to klezmer, integrating Northern Bulgarian music, or using texts that reflect on female experience. While in Philadelphia, the artists performed a one-night only concert, taught a master class, and participated in a panel discussion on how emergent klezmer is being shaped.

Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.