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Global Klezmer Strings: Beregovski's Musical Treasures

158 Nigunim (songs without words) * 35 Klezmer Fiddlers * 12 Countries *

Beregovski Tish-Nign Archive Project Videos (complete) See below for individual artists

A stellar line-up of klezmer string players from around the world is resuscitating the ancient Jewish nign tradition, with a daily broadcast of traditional melodies dedicated to turning sorrow to joy.

Each nign (Jewish song without words) is taken from manuscripts dating back a hundred years and more, and will feature in a daily broadcast with the player online afterwards for live conversation (see below for names & broadcast dates).

Generally anonymous, nigunim are uniquely suited to our locked-down times: each is a tiny musical gem created by its long-forgotten composer to take you on a musical journey away from the sorrows of everyday life. The melodies are intended to be sung without harmony, by one person or many, at the table or to (self-) accompany dancing.

Musicians participating in this project

Abigale Reisman * Annette Siebert * Alexsei Rozov * Alex Koffman * Alicia Svigals * Alina Bauer * Amit Weisberger * Anna Lowenstein * Antti Korhola * Ariane Cohen-Adad * Beth Silver * Cookie Segelstein * Craig Judelman * Daniel Hoffman * David Brossier * Deborah Strauss * Eléonore Biezunski * Ernie Gruner * Francesca Ter-Berg * Gica Loening * Ilana Cravitz * Jake Shulman-Ment * Johannes Paul Gräßer * Keryn Kleiman * Lisa Gutkin * Mark Kovnatsky * Michael Alpert * Mitia Khramtsov * Monika Feil * Olga Baron * Sandra Layman * Semmy Stahlhammer * Steve Greenman * Vanessa Vromans * Yale Strom * Zoë Aqua

Photo of Moshe Beregovski. Photo courtesy of Dmitry Bayev
Moshe Beregovski. Photo courtesy of Dmitry Bayev

The melodies were assembled by Moshe Beregovski (1892-1961), a Soviet Jewish ethnomusicologist who dedicated his life to recording Jewish musical folklore and eventually fell foul of Stalin for his pains. Beregovski gathered more than 1000 field recordings of Jewish musicians spanning the years 1910-1950 and transcribed these tunes and more in five volumes entitled 'Jewish Musical Folklore'. The tunes for this project come from Vol. 4 – ‘Tish-Nigunim’ (table tunes).


The musicians are asking those who can afford to donate to support their online music-making, as all their live events have been cancelled. All proceeds from the appeal will go to the musicians participating in this project.


"The genre of Jewish textless songs was particularly developed with the advent of Hasidism (Hasid means pious), a religious-mystical movement that arose at the beginning of the 18th century and became widespread among Jews in Eastern Europe. It would be wrong, however, to attribute the emergence and development of songs without words exclusively to Hasidism since they, like tunes for the Sabbath hymns, were not only widespread in places and regions where Hasidism had almost no followers, but were also encountered among their ardent and active opponents (misnagdim)." Moshe Beregovski, Intro to 'Jewish Musical Folklore' Vol. 4, 'Tish Nigunim', 1946-1960

What do nigunim sound like?

Listen to a nign from Beregovski's collection, recorded in 1913 in Kovel, Volyn province by ethnomusicologist Zinoviy Kiselgof. It's a Freylekhs (happy tune) attributed to cantor Yosl Talner (1838-1919). The singers are Motl Shvarts and Pinkhas Paz, the Trisker Hasidim.

Watch men and women dancing & singing a nign together in rare archive footage from the early 1930s in Munkács:

Countries represented

Australia * Belgium * Canada * England * Finland * France * Germany * Israel * Moldova * Russia * Scotland * Sweden * USA

22 April 2020

Video: A Nign A Day Project Launch Video: A Nign A Day Wrap Party

Beregovski - an exploration

Learn a Nign with special guest Susan Lankin Hoffman Watts

Beregovski / Lag B'omer Playlist with special guest Frank London




Abigale Reisman Video: A Nign A Day with Abigale Reisman Abigale Reisman is a violinist, composer, improviser, and educator. She is a member of the International Jewish Music Festival award winning band, Ezekiel's Wheels Klezmer Band. Abigale earned her Bachelor's degree at The Manhattan School of Music in Classical Violin Performance and went on to receive her Master's degree at The New England Conservatory in Contemporary Improvisation.

Aleksei Rozov Video: A Nign A Day with Aleksei Rozov I was born. Grew up. Fed on milk and honey. Played violin. Dreamed of something. Became old. "The life has been passed like Azores overboard" (Vladimir Mayakovski).

Alex Koffman Video: A Nign A Day with Alex Koffman Alex Koffman received his Master’s Degree in classical music from the Conservatory of Minsk. In 1990 he joined Maxwell Street Klezmer Band and soon after became Musical Director and arranger. His arrangements and compositions combine traditional klezmer style with classical, jazz and contemporary influences. Alex was the soloist in the world premiere of “Klezmer Rhapsody” by Ilya Levinson in 2008. In 2015 he featured in the first ever klezmer opera, “The Property”, with Lyric Opera. In 2019, Alex was MD for "The Dybbuk" at DePaul Theatre School. He also conducts with two grassroots community bands and a Junior Klezmer Orchestra.

Alicia Svigals Video: A Nign A Day with Alicia Svigals Alicia Svigals helped found and co-led the Klezmatics, and spearheaded the klezmer fiddle revival with her 1995 album “Fidl”. She recently released her CD “Beregovski Suite” with pianist Uli Geissendoerfer.

Alina Bauer Alina Bauer received a classical training on violin and is a trained teacher. She has a Masters in Musicology, Music Pedagogy and Sociology and has studied jazz violin. Since 2007, Alina has been intensively involved in klezmer music. Her most important musical projects in that field have been Halva (modern klezmer), Azind (traditional klezmer and Eastern European music), Gilgul (Contemporary Yiddish Dance Performance), and Bakad Kapelye (Party Klezmer).

Amit Weisberger Video: A Nign A Day with Amit Weisberger Israeli-born violinist, dancer, actor, and singer Amit Weisberger has been living in France since 2007, where within a short time he established himself as one of the leading artists of the French klezmer scene. He plays with various klezmer ensembles, including The Beygale Orkestra (Klezmer Fanfare), Waxband, Yiddishé Fantazyé Trio and The Belf Project (Old European klezmer from audio archives) as well as Kabarétalè (songs from Jewish cabaret), Tish (hassidic table songs) and "Szerelem" (love songs from Eastern Europe). Amit has collaborated with key musicians in the international klezmer world, such as Alan Bern, Frank London and Sasha Lurje, and is much in demand as a workshop leader around the world.

Anna Lowenstein Video: A Nign A Day with Anna Lowenstein Anna Lowenstein has been studying Klezmer music since 2011, traveling internationally to learn with some of the leading performers and teachers of the style, including Alicia Svigals and Cookie Seiglstein. She currently lives, teaches and performs in her native London, where she plays with Loshn, a new Klezmer chamber group she founded with Susi Evans on accordion and John McNaughton on clarinet.

Annette Siebert Video: A Nign A Day with Annette Siebert Annette Siebert lives in Hanover, Germany She can be heard on stage as the violinist of the Finkelstein Trio and the Ensemble Art & Weisen.

Antti Korhola Antti's website Video: A Nign A Day with Antti Korhola Antti Korhola is a violinist based in Helsinki, Finland. Korhola is active in the Finnish klezmer scene and performs reguralry with several bands. Besides playing klezmer music, Korhola also performs swing music and composes music based on Nordic folk music.

Ariane Cohen-Adad Video: A Nign A Day with Ariane Cohen-Adad

At age seven, Ariane began her classical violin studies, winning a first prize at the Lyon Academy of Music. At fifteen, she was introduced to klezmer music by her dad. The band Dibouk, burnt with that flame, performed countless concerts, dancing parties, and workshops ( Ariane travels around France with Quintet Bumbac, playing music from the Balkans ( With Szabadsag (‘freedom’ in Hungarian), she mixes klezmer music and Yiddish songs with music from North America in original compositions (

Beth Silver Video: A Nign A Day with Beth Silver Beth Silver (M.Mus) is a freelance musician based in Toronto, Canada. She is as at home in a traditional classical ensemble as a band arranging and exploring new voices for cello. Her performances with chamber projects have included the Salzburg Kammermusik Festival, Ottawa Chamber Festival, Toronto Summer Music Festival, Glatt und Verkehrt Festival in Austria, Glasgow's Celtic Connections Festival, Festival Napa Valley, and Tirgan Festival. She has been presented across Canada by Jeunesses Musicales, Prairie Debut, and Debut Atlantic as part of the Ladom Ensemble. She is the recipient of grants from the Canada Council and Ontario Arts Council and her awards include the 2014 Ben Steinberg Musical Legacy Award recognizing musical achievement in the Canadian Jewish community. Beth has performed at Ashkenaz Fest and KlezKanada, and recently completed a study residency in New York with klezmer fiddler Jake Shulman-Ment.

Cookie Segelstein Video: A Nign A Day with Cookie Segelstein with guest Josh Horowitz Cookie Segelstein, violin and viola, received her Masters degree in Viola from The Yale School of Music in 1984. Until her move to the US west coast in 2010, she was principal violist in Orchestra New England and assistant principal in The New Haven Symphony Orchestra. Cookie is the founder and director of Veretski Pass, a member of Budowitz, The Youngers of Zion with Henry Sapoznik, and has performed with many other well-known klezmer bands. She has presented lecture demonstrations and workshops on klezmer fiddling all over the world and been on staff at Living Traditions' KlezKamp, KlezKanada, Klezfest London, and Centrum's Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend, Wash. Cookie was featured on the ABC documentary, “A Sacred Noise”, heard on HBO’s “Sex and the City”, and has made many recordings.

Craig Judelman Video: A Nign A Day with Craig Judelman Craig Judelman grew up in Seattle where he began studying classical violin at a young age, soon branching out to Jazz and then Klezmer and beyond. His klezmer teachers included the early Klezmer revival fiddler Wendy Marcus and David Krakauer. He went on to study composition with Joan Tower, as well as classical and jazz violin at Bard College in New York. Craig first made a name for himself in New York as an American folk musician. He later joined the band Litvakus, focusing on the regional style of Litvish Jews, founding, arranging and fiddling in bands Goyfriend and Lebedik. He performs with Daniel Kahn and the Painted Bird, and is involved with a variety of European and American Swing and Old Time American folk music bands. Craig teaches regularly at festivals and workshops, most recently at the Shtetl Neukölln festival in Berlin. He has performed there and at other Yiddish music festivals, including Lviv Klezfest, Singer Festival in Warsaw, Yiddish New York and Klezmore.

Daniel Hoffman * Video: A Nign A Day with Daniel Hoffman Daniel Hoffman is a descendent of a long line of Bessarabian furriers and one of the leading experts of the klezmer violin style, which he first heard played by his father. A graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, he also plays Turkish and Arabic music. He co-founded Davka and the Klez-X in San Francisco, and Trio Carpion and the Kalimutke Philharmonia in Israel. As a composer, he has received numerous commissions and has written silent film scores, concert pieces, and many theatrical scores, including two musicals. Daniel lives in Tel Aviv, performing extensively with a dizzying array of local theaters and musical ensembles in a variety of styles, and has toured extensively with the German-American chanteuse, Ute Lemper. He is currently creating a new documentary film series, 'Violin Around the World'.

Deborah Strauss Video: A Nign A Day with Deborah Strauss

with guest Cantor Jeff Warschauer (guitar) Deborah Strauss is an internationally acclaimed klezmer violinist, educator and dancer who has been active in the klezmer and Yiddish music scene for over 30 years. She is a member of the Strauss/Warschauer Duo, was a long-time member of the Klezmer Conservatory Band, and has performed with the Klezmatics. She has appeared on numerous recordings and was featured in the Emmy Award-winning film, Itzhak Perlman: In the Fiddler's House. Deborah leads workshops and classes annually at the Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow, Yiddish Summer Weimar, Yiddish New York and KlezKanada. Along with Alan Bern, Deborah is the author of Klezmer Duets for Violin and Accordion, published in 2017 by Universal Edition, Vienna.

David Brossier * Video: A Nign A Day with David Brossier

Multi-instrumentalist (accordion, cymbalum, Moog, Wurlitzer), composer, arranger and performer David Brossier is closely interested in the bridge between traditional music and amplified music. He has studied and collaborated with Moldovan and Romanian artists, and is dedicated to teaching and transmitting traditional Balkan music, as well as being a faculty member of Yiddish Summer Weimar. Groups he has founded include Cok Malko collective, Quintet Bumbac and Bat! Bat! Bat! David plays a 5-string ‘violon d’amour’ custom-built by André Sakellarides. It has a bottom C-string and sympathetic strings which produce a particularly warm tone.

Ernie Gruner Video: A Nign A Day with Ernie Gruner Ernie Gruner is a klezmer fiddler in Melbourne, Australia. He performs for concerts, Jewish weddings & simchas, and has popularised klezmer around Australia & New Zealand through his performances and teaching. Ernie travelled to USA & Eastern Europe to study with Alicia Svigals and other luminaries of the klezmer world. His bands include Klezmeritis, Bohemian Nights and Saray Illuminado, an ensemble which employs his skills in Sephardic and Balkan repertoire.

Eléonore Biezunski Video: A Nign A Day with Eléonore Biezunski Eléonore Biezunski is a Parisian singer/violinist now living in NYC. An avid collector of Yiddish music, she co-founded and is a member of Ephemeral Birds, Yerushe, Lyubtshe, Shpilkes, Shtetl Stompers and Klezmographers and has collaborated with a large number of well-known Jewish performers in the U.S. and abroad. Her recordings include Yerushe (IEMJ, 2016) and Zol zayn (2014). As YIVO’s Associate Sound Archivist, Eléonore is the Project Coordinator for the Ruth Rubin Legacy online exhibition ( She is a PhD candidate at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris and is a recipient of a NYSCA Folk Arts Apprenticeship.

Francesca Ter-Berg * Video: A Nign A Day with Francesca Ter-Berg Francesca Ter-Berg is a multi-disciplinary artist. Known for her unique cello playing style, she is a specialist in klezmer music, a songwriter, composer, teacher, ethnographer and improviser. She is one half of the critically acclaimed group Fran & Flora (‘an album of beguiling beauty’ - Clive Bell, The Wire) and has worked with Imogen Heap, Talvin Singh OBE, Sam Lee, Portico Quartet, Frank London (Klezmatics), Alan Bern, London Klezmer Quartet and Cosmo Sheldrake and has performed at Glastonbury Festival, Café Oto, Kings Place, The Royal Festival Hall, WOMAD, KlezKanada, Yiddish Summer Weimar & KlezFest London.

Gica Loenig Video: A Nign A Day with Gica Loening An experienced fiddle player and band leader, Gica Loening is founder of Edinburgh’s Belle Star Band, Celter Schmelter Klezmer Trio, and The Ladies Guerilla String Quartet. She is a freelance music practitioner and YMI Arts Education Officer for East Lothian Council in Scotland, founder of Makin a Brew, a music and storytelling project for vulnerable families, and director of Fun Fiddle, an East Edinburgh project for children and adults. Gica is chair of the Edinburgh Youth Music Forum, and leads music projects and training for practitioners.

Ilana Cravitz Video: A Nign A Day with Ilana Cravitz Ilana is a London-based violinist, educator and festival producer/director. Her interest in traditional klezmer playing and research in the field led her to launch the London International Klezmer Experience (LIKE) with a virtual festival in summer 2020, following up with a popular bi-monthly online klezmer music & discussion forum, and then publication of ‘12 Jewish Wedding Melodies - new arrangements for string quartet.' Ilana has toured the world as founder member, fidl player and manager of the London Klezmer Quartet, with whom she recorded four CDs. Her book, 'Klezmer Fiddle - A How-To Guide' is published by Oxford University Press, and she leads Yiddish dancing. She has been on faculty at many festivals and workshops including Yiddish New York, Yiddish Summer Weimar, Folkworks, KlezFest London and the National Folk Festival in Australia. Ilana has a post-graduate diploma in Baroque Violin from the Royal College of Music, London, and is a keen viola da gamba player.

Jake Shulman-Ment Video: A Nign A Day with Jake Shulman-Ment Born in New York City, Jake Shulman-Ment tours and records internationally with a dozen groups, and has performed, taught, collected, and studied Eastern European folk music across Europe and the Americas.

Johannes Paul Gräßer Video: A Nign A Day with Johannes Paul Gräßer

Johannes is one of the leading violinists of the Klezmer movement and promotes the Yiddish music scene. He played with the "modern klezmer quartet" Shostakovichs op. 79 "Songs from Jewish Folk Poetry". With the group "Sher on a Shier" he traveled on traditional paths and dedicated himself to the sound of the old klezmer bands of Eastern Europe. With the "Theater Magica" he staged his own play about the myth "GOLEM". In 2006 Johannes co-founded the international band "Daniel Kahn & The Painted Bird", with which he recorded the first two albums. Johannes plays a "Rumeynishe Fantasias" programme with the Hungarian pianist and accordionist Szilvia Csaranko. He is also an important part of the Yiddish Summer Weimar team.

Keryn Kleiman Keryn Kleiman is a New York-based violinist specializing in Jewish and Eastern European folk styles. She is a member of a number of klezmer groups, including Bivolita, the New York Fidl Kepelye, and Kadya’s Project and has performed classical and folk music internationally and nationally. Notable recent engagements include playing with renowned klezmer musicians at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. She has taught at Klezkanada and Yiddish New York. Keryn graduated with a degree in ethnomusicology from Columbia University-Barnard College, where she was the student-leader of the Columbia Klezmer Band. She was awarded a grant to research Jewish music and its relationship to co-territorial repertoires in Moldova. Since then, she has focused on Bessarabian and Romanian styles, studying in Moldova and Romania. Keryn attended the Manhattan School of Music, where she was a Preparatory Division Concerto Competition Winner. She is also currently a doctoral student in clinical psychology.

Lisa Gutkin Video: A Nign A Day with Lisa Gutkin Lisa is a Grammy Award-winning violinist, singer, actor, and composer best known as a member of the acclaimed Klezmatics, and most recently for her musical score, performance, and music direction in the two time Tony award-winner, 'Indecent'. She had a cameo performance in Sex and the City, and a seat in Sting’s Broadway band for The Last Ship, a CD of original songs produced by John Lissauer. She has co-authored songs with Anne Sexton, Maggie Dubris, and Woody Guthrie.

Mark Kovnatskiy Video: A Nign A Day with Mark Kovnatskiy Mark involved with many klezmer groups, including the Semer Ensemble, Engel Ensemble, Torah Images, Hamburg Klezmer Band, Joel Rubin Ensemble, Fialke and Silja. He has guested with Socalled, Dobranotch, Efim Chorny, Painted Bird and Forshpil, among others. He teaches Yiddish music and dance internationally. Mark has also worked with orchestras such as the Musica Viva (RU), Augsburger Philharmoniker (GER), Aurora Orchestra (UK), INSO Lviv (UA) and Weimar Staatskapelle (GER). Mark has two collections of original klezmer compositions and is now working on his third volume.

Mitia Khramtsov Video: A Nign A Day with Mitia Khramtsov with guest Germina Gordienka Mitia Khramtsov is a founder and leader of leading klezmer band in Russia Dobranotch in which he is singing on Russian and Yiddish and playing fiddle. Self-made fiddle player he learning different traditions while travelling focusing on reestablishing klezmer fiddle style. Apart klezmer fiddling Mitia has knowledge in Russian and Romanian/Moldavian fiddle styles and Turkish maqam music.

Monika Feil Video: A Nign A Day with Monika Feil with guest Josh Horowitz Monika Feil has been playing klezmer music for many years, having studied the tradition in depth at Yiddish Summer Weimar with artists such as Josh Horowitz. She is a founder member of German-based klezmer band Fialke, playing violin and singing with the band. She is also a professional singer of Argentinian tango repertoire.

Olga Baron Video: A Nign A Day with Olga Baron Olga Baron is part of the award-winning band Oysland. She has a busy schedule playing for Jewish weddings as well as being at the forefront of innovative Jewish music in the UK.

Samuel Seifert * Video: A Nign A Day with Samuel Seifert Samuel Seifert performed his first Klezmer concerts with Giora Feidman including the festival in Safed/Israel 1993 and became member of “Jowel Klezmorim” and “The Original Klezmer Brothers” later. He studied classical music and Jazz in Leipzig and Salzburg and co-founded „Rozhinkes“ in 2011. Since the 2014 edition of Yiddish Summer Weimar festival director Alan Bern became his mentor. Samuel Seifert works as performing artist, violin teacher and composer.

Sandra Layman Video: A Nign A Day with Sandra Layman with guest Prof. Martin Schwartz Sandra Layman began playing klezmer fiddle in 1977-78, learning from 78-rpm records and Romanian and Greek violinists. In 1980, she co-founded the first Pacific Northwest (USA) klezmer band. After ethnomusicology graduate studies, Sandra studied music in Romania in the late 1980s. She has performed with klezmer musicians such as Joel Rubin, Lisa Rose, Yankl Falk, Joshua Horowitz, and Christina Crowder, and released an internationally-acclaimed CD, Little Blackbird. Based in Seattle, she teaches violin and viola online to all ages.

Semmy Stahlhammer Video: A Nign A Day with Semmy Stahlhammer Swedish-born violinist Semmy Stahlhammer was First Concertmaster at the Stockholm Royal Opera and Lecturer at the Stockholm Royal Music College for 25 years. A winner of many major international awards, he has been Artist in residence at the Banff Music Center in Canada, and has given Master Classes in the USA at Kent State University, University of Akron, Bard College and University of Oregon. Semmy is the latest in a klezmer dynasty, continuing the family tradition with Stahlhammer Klezmer Classic ensemble, which has given concerts since 2000 at music festivals in Europe, USA and Canada, appeared on Swedish Radio & TV and received grants from the Ingmar Bergman Foundation.

Steven Greenman Video: A Nign A Day with Steven Greenman Steven Greenman is internationally recognized as a master practitioner of klezmer violin. He is renowned for his recordings Khevrisa – European Klezmer Music, Stempenyu’s Dream, and Stempenyu’s Neshome and for his virtuoso masterwork, Klezmer Concert Suite for Solo Violin and Orchestra.

Vanessa Vromans Video: A Nign A Day with Vanessa Vromans Pambula-based violinist Vanessa Vromans (AU/NL) was born in Curacao to a Dutch father and an Australian mother. She holds both a Bachelor's and Master's degree in solo violin performance from the Conservatorium in Rotterdam, where she studied Classical and World music. Already inspired by and drawn towards the music of Eastern Europe from an early age, upon the completion of her formal studies Vanessa dedicated herself to learning the language of East European violin. She has since undertaken intensive studies of Klezmer fiddle as well as Romanian/Moldovan violin studies. Vanessa has performed and taught at festivals in Australia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Moldova, the Netherlands, Poland, Ukraine, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, Russia and the United States.

Yale Strom Video: A Nign A Day with Yale Strom Yale Strom is an ethnographer of klezmer history and culture. He has traveled numerous times to Eastern Europe since 1981. His research has resulted in books, films, compositions, plays and photo exhibits depicting varying aspects of Yiddish culture.

Zoë Aqua Video: A Nign A Day with Zoë & Annie Aqua An in-demand violinist in the klezmer scene, Zoë Aqua is a co-founder of bands Tsibele and Farnakht, and performs regularly with Litvakus, Ternovka, the Honorable Mentschn, and more. Her ensembles' albums feature atmospheric original arrangements of Yiddish songs, new compositions, and klezmer, Romanian, Serbian and Hungarian folk music. Zoë composes for dance and theater productions: “A Life of Many Seasons” (2018) with dancer-choreographer Joya Powell, and “Between the Threads” (2019), a new devised theater piece with director Coral Cohen and five women actors. Her 2018-19 Annenberg Helix Fellowship allowed her to study and visit sites of Yiddish culture in Belarus and Lithuania. In 2017, she was full-time understudy for the Klezmatics’ Lisa Gutkin in the Broadway production of “Indecent”, ultimately going onstage over 18 times. She reprised the role in another production of “Indecent” in Weston, VT in fall 2019.

Donate to our crowdfunder All proceeds go to musicians participating in this project


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