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Craig judelman

Instrumental Klezmer Music, Festival Director

Craig Judelman grew up in Seattle and since the age of four, was never more comfortable than when he had a fiddle in his hand. He started with classical music but was quickly drawn to traditional folk cultures, studying Klezmer, Jazz, American and other folk music wherever he could. His passion for engaging with the sounds and stylistic nuances captured in old recordings has led him around the world, performing and teaching klezmer and old time American folk music on both sides of the Atlantic. He has built a reputation as a leading musician in both genres and since moving to Berlin in 2017 has focused his work on Yiddish music and culture. He has performed and taught at Yiddish Summer Weimar, Klezkanada, Yiddish New York, KlezFest London, Lviv Klezfest and more. Known as a fiddler composer and educator, Craig devotes much of his time to cultural organizing, spreading knowledge of and engagement with traditional culture and using it to build community in the present as much as to connect with the past.

Highlights of his recordings include ‘Have Moicy 2’ featuring Peter Stampfel (The Fugs) and other members of the Holy Modal Rounders, and the album ‘Old Man Below’ featuring his now defunct old time string band ‘The Dust Busters’ and their mentor John Cohen (The New Lost City Ramblers) which was released on the Smithsonian Folkways label in 2012. In 2009 he moved to Brooklyn and joined the band Litvakus, devoted to Jewish music from the northeast of Europe, and along with members of that group and Sasha Lurje has recorded 3 volumes of ‘Songs From Testimonies’ music from the Fortunoff video archive of Holocaust survivors. More recently he released a duo album with klezmer luminary Michael Alpert, titled ‘In Der Heym / Down Home’ He currently leads an old time string band called ‘Interstate Express’, Italian-American folk band ‘Cantastorie’, Ukrainian-Yiddish orchestra DRUZI, old school klezmer band ‘Judelman’s Klezmer Kompanye,’ tours with the Sklamberg, Lurje, Judelman trio with The Klezmatics’ Lorin Sklamberg and helps run multiple Yiddish culture festivals including Shtetl Berlin and Seattle Yiddish Fest, which he founded with Sasha Lurje in 2019.

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