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Cool Klezmer Stuff

Some historical background for our new audio drama, The Witches of Lublin,  that served as the writers' springboard for creating our fictional story:

Women Klezmers:

"Despite the weight of Jewish custom against women playing music in public, daughters and wives played with their fathers and husbands and women performed on their own. Some of the more notable women were Khave Meyer from Dresden (1740-1742), Mariana Meyer from Dresden (performed with her father, 1739), Mariana from Halberstadt (1741), and Sofia from Halberstadt (1741)."
-- I Lifschitz, "Yidishe Favayler oyf di Leiptsiger Yaridim", in Arkhiv far der Geshikhte fun Yidishn Teater un Drama, ed. by Dr. Jacob Shatsky (Vilna - New York, 1930), Vol. I, pp. 450-53. QUOTED IN :
Yale Strom, The Book of Klezmer: The History, the Music, The Folklore from the 14th Century to the 21st.
(And, yes, we named the character of Sofia after the real female klezmer Sofia from Haberstadt.)

Klezmers' persecution by Polish gentry:

"When my grandfather was a young man just after he got married, one Saturday night two elegantly dressed Polish noblemen came up to him and asked if he and his kapelye (Yid., ensemble) would play at their ball that very evening... Half the night had gone by while the kapelye played whent he two noblemen who brought them there said, 'We have been very pleased with your playing. What should we pay you with, gold or with chicken feces?' 'With gold', my grandfather said without any doubt in his voice. Suddenly, there was a strong assault upon them, it was dark and before they realized it they found themselves in a swamp in a forest. The violins were hanging in the trees while the violin cases were filled with chicken feces. It was very difficult for them to get the violins out of the trees. Then they barely dragged themselves home in their muddy condition."

(From "Tshizhevor Klezmorim" in Shteiger Lebn, in Sefer yizkor le-hantsahat kedoshei kelilat Czortkow, ed. Sh. Kanc. [Tel Aviv: Former Residents of Tshizhevo in Israel and the USA, 1961), p. 585

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