Shimmering Lights – Hanukkah Music

By Yale Strom’s Broken Consort
$ 20.00 (+ $7.00 S&H) .

‘Shimmering Lights’ is the delightful new studio album from ethnomusicologist Yale Strom. This album is a collection of traditional and new songs and instrumentals celebrating the Jewish Festival of Lights known as Hanukkah. ‘Shimmering Lights’ presents a collection of traditional and new Khanike (Hanukkah) songs with musical influences from all over the world; it is a celebration of the many ways this sacred festival is observed by different cultures, performed by a string quartet accompanied by guitar, electric guitar and oud. ‘Shimmering Lights’ is dedicated to the spirit of Hanukkah with songs of family, friends and food, performed with the panache and expert arrangements that Yale Strom always delivers.

Hanukkah ‘Festival of Lights’

The word ‘Hanukkah’ is a Hebrew word meaning ‘rededication’ and is a Jewish holiday of great importance and tradition. Central to Hanukkah is the lighting up of the sacred candelabra or menorah as the album artwork portrays. As Yale writes, “ It is noteworthy to mention that along with the ubiquitous sweets and love the children receive from their parents, the woman of the house is entrusted with the care of the Hanukia, the actual candelabra. Without the ritual of lighting the Hanuka candles, there is no festival ”.

What is a Broken Consort?

Yale has produced ‘Shimmering Lights’ with world class musicians called ‘Yale Strom’s Broken Consort’. In the 16th and 17th centuries in England, the term ‘musical consort’ referred to both ensemble and performance. A whole consort stayed within the same instrumental family - for example, violin, viola, cello and bass. What, then, is a broken consort? A broken consort is a harmonious ensemble of different kinds of instruments, often including an instrumental family but adding instruments from without. Yale’s ensemble was "broken" by guitar, oud and voice.

Yale Strom’s vision for ‘Shimmering Lights’

“ We wanted the repertoire to present a sense of how Khanike (Hanukkah) was and is celebrated by different cultures around the world… When you listen to these songs, you’ll hear the musicians thinking out loud and sharing their inspiring thoughts and ideas with each other. Each of us has our own personal references, ranging from classical to jazz and blues, to Middle Eastern, klezmer, bluegrass and Texas swing. You’ll hear all of this as we fuse seamlessly with each other. ” – Yale Strom

CITY OF THE FUTURE: Yiddish Songs from the Former Soviet Union

Yiddish Songs from the Former Soviet Union $ 20.00 (+ $7.00 S&H) .

Yale Strom & Hot Pstromi Presents CITY OF THE FUTURE Yiddish Songs from the Former Soviet UnionWith special singers: Michael Alpert, Judy Bressler, Jack 'Yankl' Falk, Daniel Kahn, Vira Lozinsky, Anthony Russell & Elizabeth Schwartz

This melding of tradition with the 20th century and 21st century contains all the richness, playfulness, and liveliness of Jewish klezmer music. It also engaged me and had me listening intently as happens with many jazz or classical recordings
- Paul Hormick, San Diego Troubadour

Yale Strom, the multiply gifted American violinist, composer, filmmaker, writer, educator, photographer and playwright is among other things, considered a pioneer among klezmer revivalists with his comprehensive field research in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans regions within the Jewish and Rom communities. City of the Future explores the Jewish songs composed by Shmuel Polonski in 1931, a golden time of great vitality Yiddish culture within the former Soviet Union. Recorded for the first time, these pre-WWII songs are a vital historic and creative portrait of a moment in time, strongly performed by Strom with his klezmer ensemble Hot Pstromi and a roster of guest singers including Michael Alpert of Brave Old World and Judy Bressler of the Klezmer Conservatory Band, Elizabeth Schwartz of Hot Pstromi, Daniel Kahn, Jack "Yankl" Falk of Naye Kapelye, Anthony Russell and Vira Lozinsky.
>> Read More about this CD

The Devil's Brides

$ 20.00 (+ 7.00 S&H)

Passionate, mournful, exuberant Klezmer and Yiddish songs played with violin, tsimbl, accordion, bass and vocals. Each track introduced by Miriam Margolyes; music from and inspired by the audio drama The Witches of Lublin, starring Tovah Feldshuh.

OMG!!! I love your new CD, "The Devil's Brides." The music is sublime, and the superb commentary by Miriam Margolyes makes each track even more meaningful and delicious ... like a good Hot Pastrami sandwich! 

I've already begun to use it on my daily Jewish music program on WWDB and in Philadelphia, and audience reaction has been exceptional. Thank you for this fresh, exciting, and dynamic new approach to klezmer music ... which I'll be using very often on the air!

Best regards,
Barry Reisman
Program Host / Account Manager

The Witches of Lublin - An audio drama by Ellen Kushner, Elizabeth Schwartz, & Yale Strom

They say the Devil came to Lublin, Poland once, in the early spring of the year 1797 of the Christian calendar. For the Jews of Lublin, it was the month of Nisan in the year 5557. There are two calendars, because there are two Lublins: the Lublin of the Polish Catholics, who fear only God, the Devil, and their local nobleman, Count Sobieski and the Lublin of the Jews, who fear everyone and everything, and with good reason. For despite having lived in Poland for hundreds of years, the Jews live every day in Lublin only by the grace of the Count's uncertain tolerance.

In The Witches of Lublin, as the Jewish holiday of Passover nears, with it hangs the threat of violence. Violence, that the Jewish community has seen before, in Lublin, and all over Eastern Europe. Suddenly, come soldiers with orders of eviction, followed by a gang of angry peasants with torches - a pogrom - to pillage, rape or kill any Jews who doesn't get out fast enough. The Jews of Poland have plenty to worry about in 1797.

Graf Sobieski rules all of Lublin, but within Lublin's Jewish community, there is a social hierarchy - perhaps successful businessmen like the butcher (and the butcher's wife) wield the most power, but it is the Rabbi who is the community's spiritual leader.

A poor, unmarried woman with barely two groshn to rub together,

two unmarried daughters, and an orphaned granddaughter to support, would barely cling to the bottom rung of the social ladder. Unless that woman were Rivke. Widowed, poor and struggling, yes, but Rivke is no ordinary woman.

Daughter of the great Jewish mystic Reb Leyb Sora, Rivke is sister to the rabbi's wife, a weaver of lace, a Talmud scholar, and an extraordinary musician. Rivke has struggled to maintain her little family under the most ."trying circumstances.

It is her insistence that her daughters Leah and Sorele play music (as well as the men - better, in fact) and that her granddaughter Sofiasing that leads to the family's downfall. The women's talents, intellect and spirituality only raise suspicious whispers in the Jewish community.

But when the women's reputation as the best klezmer musicians in Poland spreads beyond the ghetto's boundaries and the Count commands Rivke, her daughters and granddaughter perform at his son, Bogdan's, name day celebration, Rivke is faced with an impossible choice: Do as he commands and risk scandal, or refuse and risk the Count's revenge on the entire Jewish community - a pogrom.

No one could have anticipated the tragic love that heedlessly sows the seeds of disaster for Rivke and her daughters, that exiles Sophia from her people and that opens the very doors of heaven. But there is more to the legacy of Reb Leyb Sora than even those in the Jewish community could have anticipated, and as these witches reveal themselves to be holy women, they leave behind them a legend that cannot die.

The Witches of Lublin is based on true and little known history of klezmer musicians in Eastern Europe. Co-writer Yale Strom's research uncovered the facts that there were women klezmer musicians, and that when klezmers would play for gentile nobility, their reward could sometimes be beatings, death or even kidnappings. This history formed the springboard for this work of fiction by Strom, Schwartz and Kushner based on Jewish women's lives in 18th Century Europe, klezmer music and feminist history, with a healthy dose of magical realism thrown in. 

With music by Yale Strom
Directed & Produced by Sue Zizza
Starring Tovah Feldshuh, Simon Jones, Barbara Rosenblatt and other fine actors


$ 20.00 (+ 7.00 S&H)

Many of the bands in the contemporary klezmer revival have been inspired by the music of the first generation immigrant musicians who came through Ellis Island from Eastern Europe in the great wave of Jewish immigration in the early decades of the 20th century. But, violinist Yale Strom and his band Hot Pstromi, take a different tack on this passionate and spellbinding CD and play tunes and songs Strom has collected from largely unknown Jewish and Roma musicians he’s met on collecting trips to Eastern Europe over the past 26 years. Many Jewish and Roma musicians worked together in Eastern Europe over the past 200 years.  They exchanged tunes, played in each other’s bands and both Jewish and Roma traditions run through many of the pieces heard on this CD.

Among the highlights on the disc is “Szol A Kakos Mar,” a Chassidic song from Hungary sung in Hungarian and Hebrew, with a vocal performance reminiscent of Edith Piaf from Hot Pstromi singer Elizabeth Schwartz, and “Vemen Veln Mir Dinen, Brider,” a Yiddish protest song that laments being forced to serve in the czar’s army. This is a very special klezmer album.

Ottawa Jewish Bulletin
February 18, 2008
Jewish Music – Michael Regenstreif
Recent CDs showcasing diverse Jewish music

The Absolutely Complete Introduction to Klezmer Vol.1

$ 20.00 (+ $7.00 S&H)

In addition to being an author, a filmmaker and a violinist of the first order, Yale Strom is also a musical archivist. His frequent trips to Eastern Europe and interviews with Rom musicians have done much to advance our knowledge of what the music was like when the archetypal klezmers and Roma roamed the countryside and shared repertoire. Drawing upon classic archival material and his own painstakingly assembled tunes, Strom and his band Hot Pstromi present The Absolutely Complete Introduction to Klezmer.

With its companion songbook of the same title, Strom has indeed covered all the ground that he purports to, and then some. His quartet, along with clarinetist Norbert Stachel, accordionist Peter Stan and bassist Jim Whitney, creates a beautifully pure group sound to present these 36 short pieces. The absence of drums assists in allowing the music and individual instrumental colorations and ornamentations, so crucial to the overall feel of this music, to shine through in an exceedingly clean fashion.

Klezmer is dance and celebratory music, and Strom has included many examples of the major components of the core dance repertoire, over and above the more familiar freilachs and bulgars, each with its own defining rhythm and tempo. Likewise, tunes used in the various stages of a traditional Jewish wedding, such as the seating of the bride and march to the canopy, are well represented. In addition to Stroms own collected tunes, the Beregovski archives (discovered in Kiev in the 80s) and Wolff Kostakowskys International Hebrew Wedding Music (published in 1917) are much in evidence.

One disappointment, especially given that Strom is such a scholar of this music, is the lack of any in-depth explanatory CD notes, but for the person in search of a comprehensive musical introduction to the underpinnings of traditional klezmer or the jazz musician looking for unique improvisatory opportunities, Stroms package is exceptional.

Track listing: Karahod Fun Varshe (Karahod from Warsaw); Ki Anu Amecha (We Have Sinned); Besarabish Bulgar; Mitn Fidle (With My Fiddle); Der Sarver's Sher; Rumeynish Serba; Bosnian Vals (Bosnian Waltz); Anshel Shachnai's Freylekhs; Makonovetski's Zok; Arader Khosedl; Gulerman's Doyne; Khupe Marsh (Wedding Canopy March); Mazl Tov (Good Luck); Fun Der Khupe (From the Wedding Canopy); Beregovski's Bulgar; Beygele; Rotenberg's Mitsve Tentsl (Rotenberg's Good Deed Dance); Rabinovitch's Dobranotsh (Rabinovitch's Good Night); Koydinover Nign; Bazetsn Di Kale (The Seating of the Bride); Tsu Der Khupe Marsh (To the Wedding Canopy March); Boyberiker Wedding Bulgar; Dubosaary Bulgar; Ropshitser Nign; Sakhnovski's Zhok; Berditshever Khosed; Buhusher Nign; Vals Fun Varshe (Waltz from Warsaw); Sher; Karliner Dveykes Nign (Karliner Adhesion Melody); Ukraynish Kek-Vok (Ukranian Cakewalk); Boogich Bulgar; Dunlitski's Skotshne; Bulgar; Rumeynish Serba; Kolomeyke.

Personnel: Norbert Stachel: clarinet; Peter Stan: accordion; Yale Strom: violin; Jim Whitney: bass.

Elliott Simon
All About Jazz: New York.


$ 9.99 (+ $7.00 S&H)

From world renown musician, ethnomusicologist, documentarian, and klezmer artist Absolutely Klezmer Volume 2! This incredible collection of music can also be found in The Complete Klezmer Songbook available from Transcontinental Music Publication. Yale Strom and his band Hot Pstromi; mix the traditional Klezmer melodies, with a hot new sound like nothing else you have ever heard. Yale and his band take Klezmer to a whole new level; jammin with some 5, 6, 7 minute tunes. You can also hear the beautiful mezzo voice of Elizabeth Schwartz on such standards as Di Mekhutonim Tants (The In-laws Dance) and Romania Romania. These tunes are from out of print sources as well as from Strom's field recordings. Storm also put one of his own compositions on the CD as well called Moresh-Koyre (Jewish Blues No. 1). Composed just minutes before they recorded it in the studio the melody has a jazz/klezmer feel as if written for a Betty Boop cartoon.

Features:  Elizabeth Schwartz - vocals, Yale Strom -violin, Peter Stan - accordion, Norbert Stachel - reeds and Jim Whitney - bass

DVEYKES: New Jewish Downtown Music with a Twist

This CD features Mark Dresser (bass), Marty Ehrlich (tenor sax, clarinet), Diane Moser (piano), Benny Koonyevsky (percussion), Elizabeth Schwartz (vocals) and Yale Strom (violin, viola).

Strom has composed all the tunes on this CD. He has pushed open the klezmer umbrella even wider, taking klezmer nuances and weaving them through pieces that range from avant-garde classical to an Arabic modality driven political tune. Dveykes means Adhesion in Hebrew/Yiddish and is the state of being in which a Jew finds himself when prayer elevates him to a trance-like state of being. When one is in "dveykes", one has adhered himself to God.  Even though the pieces stray very far from traditional klezmer, each expresses Dveykes through the music.

The tunes are: Krakow 1, (jazz/blues), Nexus ( avant-garde classical/improvisation), Dveykes 2. (Khasidic prayer), Stained Red (Yiddish/English vocals), Tibi's Hora (klezmer), Krakow 2., The Ram's Daughters (neo-Khasidic), If God Moved to the Neighborhood (Middle Eastern/political/vocals) and Dveykes 1. (Khasidic prayer).


Strom's first klezmer band began in San Diego. Here they perform traditional klezmer music collected archivally in Eastern Europe by Strom as well as some well known Yiddish melodies and two original compositions.Strom was one of the first klezmer revivalists in the U.S. to travel through Eastern Europe and collect field recordings.

Some of the tunes are : Direh Gelt (vocals), Shwehr un Shweeger Tantz, Lustig Zein, Mazel Tov.


This recording has some of Strom's own compositions (including two Sephardic melodies for classical guitar) along with some Yiddish vocals and traditional pieces.

World reknown bassists Bert Turetzky and Mark Dresser perform on the CD.

Some of the tunes are : Berd ichever Khasid, Di Mizinke Oyssgegebn (vocals), Romanian Vollakh (with tsimbal - hammer dulcimer)


Strom's NYC based klezmer band performs 2 Hasidic melodies and 5 original compositions influenced by jazz and Arabic music. Andy Statman is featured on mandolin and clarinet and Mark Dresser on bass, Ismial Butera on accordion, and Seido Salifoski on dumbek..

Some of the tunes are : Dripping Water (improvisation on a Stoliner Hasid melody), King Matt (Cajun - Klezmer), Hot Pstromi (flamenco - Klezmer) and Kuzguncuk (Turkish - Klezmer)


This recording from the soundtrack of Strom's The Last Klezmer , features Leopold Kozlowski (the nephew of Naftuli Brandwein) playing klezmer melodies on piano which he learned from his grandfather, in Poland (1930's). Strom also arranged several of Kozlowski's melodies for his band. One unique feature is an archival recording of Kozlowski giving Strom a klezmer lesson in Krakow the only klezmer lesson recorded and available on CD.

Some of the tunes are : Papirossen, Pesakh Brandwine's Nigun, Di Mezinka Oysgebn (vocals), Oyfn Pripetchok (vocals) and Doina and Bulgar


This recording (Zmiros) from Strom's documentary film Carpati (Hot Pstromi) has lively klezmer music from the Carpathian Mountains, haunting Hungarian Gypsy tunes, and Strom's original klezmer compositions. There are also sound bytes from the film in Hungarian and Yiddish speaking about the relationship between the Jews and Gypsies in the Klezmer world.

Featured on the CD playing clarinet, flute, piccolo, tenor sax and sopranino is Norbert Stachel, lead horn player for the well known funk band, Tower of Power.

Some of the tunes are : Tisza , Romanian Serba , E Chirikli, Hat A Yid A Wiebele, Hava Nagila


This recording contains all original new Jewish music from Strom. He combines Roma, jazz, Arabic, and Afro-Cuban rhythms with klezmer modalities. The beat keeps your feet on the move.

Some of the tunes are : Dybbuk, Leah's Waltz, Tribes - A Romanian Suite, Ilinka's Smile and 70 West 77th

Features Tripp Sprague (Tenor, Sax, Flute), Gene Perry (Afro-Cuban Percussion), Fred Benedetti (Guitar), Jeff Pekarek (Bass), Yale Strom (Violin).


This recording features musicians from both Klazzj and Hot Pstromi. All 28 melodies were composed by Strom and used for the National Public Radio series: "Jewish Stories from the Old World to the New ", hosted by Leonard Nimoy. The music combines klezmer with jazz, classical, Arabic, Greek, French, Russian, swing and carnival motifs. Each tune musically describes each short story for it was written for. Norbert Stachel is again featured on all reeds. The series with the narrated stories (Richard Dreyfuss, Charlton Heston, Theodore Bikel and others).

Some of the tunes are : In Odessa, A Friend of Kafka, Dreyfus in Kassrilevke, A Wedding in Brownsville, Mottel and Karl Yankel

Garden of Yidn

(Naxos World) This CD is with members from Hot Pstromi playing Yiddish and Ladino folk songs. The CD features the vocals (11 tunes) of Elizabeth Schwartz. A contralto with a rich, dusky tone. Also special guest virtuoso Damian Draghici on pan flute, and virtuoso Lou Fanucchi on accordion. Some of the tunes are composed by Strom, other melodies from his field research in Eastern Europe and some new arrangements of well-known Yiddish songs. The tunes are : Finf un Tzvantziker, Reizel, Buenas Semanas, Papirossen, Shava Brukhes, Moscow Nights, La Comida La Manana, Rebeka, Doina Tirgu Frumos, Ikh Vill Tzu Gayn Amol, Sha Shtil The tunes are : Finf un Tzvantziker, Reizel, Buenas Semanas, Papirossen, Shava Brukhes, Moscow Nights, La Comida La Manana, Rebeka, Doina Tirgu Frumos, Ikh Vill Tzu Gayn Amol, Sha Shtil.


(Naxos World) This CD really features the virsatility of Yale Strom's composing and writing skills. There are tunes that sound rather traditional like "L'Chayim Comrade Stalin!" and tunes that really take klezmer to new realms like the Motown feel of "The Ten Plagues." Special guest Andy Statman plays four tunes on the CD. Two on mandolin and two on clarinet. Again the sultry voice of Elizabeth Schwartz can be heard on the 6 vocals tunes including the title track "Cafe Jew Zoo" which Strom says is his homage to Kurt Weill and Bertol Brecht. Virtuosi Mark Dresser & Marty Confurius (bass), Peter Stan & Ismael Butera (accordion), Benny Koonyevsky & Jim Mussen (percussion), Elizabeth Schwartz (vocals) and Yale Strom (violin) make this a landmark CD in the genre of "new" Jewish music.

Tears and Joy

Eight Klezmer Concerts were arranged by Chabad of Moldova to place in the towns of Kishinev, Beltsy, Bendery, Tiraspol Dubassary and Soroky. Music that Jewish heart can not live without. Music that recalls the tears and joy. Songs, that help once again to plunge into the atmosphere of the Jewish feasts, delicious dishes Yiddish mothers and endless friend’s humor.

REVIEWS from Various Critics

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The music is superb, in turns joyful and mournful, recorded in such an intimate acoustic that the listener is really caught up in the ebb and flow of the often brilliant improvisations on violin, cimbalom, accordeon and bass

- John Pheby, Folk Roots Magazine (#346, April 2012)

the husky timbre of Elizabeth Schwartz brings an aching authenticity to these songs and dances from the shtetls of pre-1939 Europe. Four Stars."

- Michael Church, The Independent 

Ethnographer-violinist Yale Strom has researched their repertoire exhaustively, and here – with his klezmer group Hot Pstromi – he presents a few of his trouvailles, some of which have a poignant history."

-The Scotsman, January 2012

"Wild, uplifting or deeply melancholy, this music is of great interest to all klezmer enthusiasts…"

-R2 Magazine


Strom wonderfully painted musical pictures of different moments in our lives, based on Jewish culture he knows so well."

By C.J. Gianakaris | Special to the Kalamazoo Gazette

Café Jew Zoo

"A brilliant addition to contemporary klezmer"

"a splendid introduction to the uninitiated in this Jewish spirit of music making"

The Rough Guide to Klezmer Revival

solid jams full of sexy clarinet playing and deft accordion work.

Broward-Palm Beach New Times - Read More

"I enjoyed the smoky, very jazzy, vocals of 'Café Jew Zoo' performed by Yale Strom with Hot Pstromi and Klass J"

Borsht with Bread, Brothers

"This is an exciting CD as well as an historic one"

Allen Singer- Read More

"the rich song notes give historic and cultural context -- in four languages!"

Scott Stevens

"Yale Strom: Trailblazing with Tradition"

"freshness that brings the art form to a new level"

The Absolutely Complete Klezmer Songbook

"you might as well just buy the whole lot for your klezmer band "

"Best of all, of course, are the 313 klezmer tunes"

"the rich song notes give historic and cultural context -- in four languages!"

Scott Stevens

Strom has indeed covered all the ground that he purports to, and then some." 


"Dveykes is a synergistically soulful cutting edge meeting."

Elliot Simon, All About Jazz

Rachel Barton Pine performs compostion by Yale Strom

"I also enjoyed prominent klezmer fiddle player Yale Strom's Vaynshl No. 1, a short virtuoso work that reveals him as an imaginative composer, creating sounds simultaneously evoking George Enescu and folk music of the Carpathian mountains"

from the Synaphaї blog

ABSOLUTELY KLEZMER VOL. 2 (Transcontinental Music)

"Yale Strom has assembled all the key ingredients of great klezmer on this recording. There's his own weeping fiddle, the powerful expressive voice of Elizabeth Schwartz, the deep throbbing accordion of Peter Stan, and the woodwind virtuosity of Norbert Stachel on clarinet, sax and flute. Jim Whitney's double bass is solid throughout too, bowed or plucked." 

Alex Monaghan, FolkWorld #45 07/2011