Nov 19, 2015
In the tradition of many Yiddish greats before him—S. Ansky comes to mind—Zisl Slepovitch is always searching for untold stories and then trying to tell them on a grand scale. Zisl grew up in the former Soviet Union, in Minsk, now the capital of Belarus. He started studying music at a young age and then went on to earn a PhD in ethnomusicology at the Belarus State Academy of Music.
Zisl moved to New York in 2008, when he was well into adulthood and into his career. And that career changed somewhat when he arrived in the States. He formed a new band called Litvakus, which is new music that has deep roots in the Belarusian Jewish traditions that Zisl observed while doing his doctoral fieldwork. In this interview, you’ll hear not only the music of Litvakus, but you’ll hear the stories behind it—and you’ll also hear about Zisl’s struggles with what it means to repurpose the source material.
And a bonus for you, dear listener: you can see Litvakus in action this Sunday, November 22 at the Museum at Eldridge Street (12 Eldridge Street, NYC). In geveb is cosponsoring a concert with the museum at 3pm. Tickets are available on the museum’s website.
Questioning the Authentic: An Interview with Zisl Slepovitch of Litvakus
Learn more about Litvakus at their website.