Hinenu to Host Klezmer Band on Memorial Day Night


Daniel Kahn & The Painted Bird, a Germany-based five-piece klezmer band, self-described as “radical Yiddish borderland bandits,” will celebrate Memorial Day evening on Monday with members of Hinenu: The Baltimore Justice Shtiebel. The concert at the 2640 Space on the corner of St. Paul and 27th Streets in Charles Village is open to the public. Doors open at 7 pm and concert begins at 8 pm. Although a $15-20 donation is suggested, no one will be turned away from attending the concert for lack of funds.

Kahn, the group’s singer, principle songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, is studied in the Yiddish language and a trained actor. Recently Kahn performed in the off-Broadway Yiddish-language production of “Fiddler on the Roof.” With The Painted Birds, Kahn performs original songs with English, Russian and Yiddish lyrics, as well as old Yiddish songs with modern twists.

“He is a really exciting musician and creator, especially to the Hinenu community because of his work in translation,” said Rabbi Ariana Katz, spiritual leader at Hinenu. “One of the things that is most exciting to me is that he translates pretty old Yiddish songs, and contextualizes them in movements for social justice that are ongoing today. He draws that connection between the work Jews have done on social justice for generations and generations, and does that through music.”

The timing of the concert, though not intentional, marks the beginning of what will be an exciting summer for the young congregation. Katz will be installed as the congregation’s rabbi during services on June 28 and 29, as the congregation finishes its first cycle around the Jewish calendar. They count approximately 120 people as members.

“Things have been going so beautifully. I feel like we’re becoming a part of the Baltimore Jewish community and the larger Baltimore community a little quicker than I expected,” Katz said. “I’m feeling excitement for what Hinenu is doing, and a real need for it in our community.”

Throughout its first year, Hinenu also delivered on its titular mission to seek justice. A recent example includes Hinenu being one of the only faith institutions in Baltimore that publically showed support for the Johns Hopkins University students occupying Garland Hall on the Homewood campus in protest of the university establishing a private police force.

Kahn is a fitting guest for Hinenu to welcome to Baltimore as his lyrics focus on issues such working class struggle, disproportionate wealth distribution and unemployment. All of the classic hand-held klezmer instrumentation can be heard on the band’s recordings — accordion, clarinet, horns, percussion and more — though at times, the music bears as many similarities to punk-rock as it does to klezmer.

For Katz, Khan’s music is inspiring on many different levels, and feels that others from Baltimore’s diverse Jewish community will feel the same way.

“Daniel Khan is of interest and meaningful to people in a lot of different parts of the Jewish community,” said Katz. “For some it’s his conversation about politics that’s very inspiring; for some it’s the musicianship; and for some it’s the Yiddish culture and language.”


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