Reflections from Weimar

Embed from Getty Images (photo by Adam Berry)

We had a really wonderful time in Germany, learning, teaching, and performing at Yiddish Summer Weimar and then on to Berlin.  Here are some photos and Yoni’s reflections on the experience:

I guess it’s now, the brief window where the experiences of the last week are distant enough to sort of fit into words but not yet totally forgotten, so if i am going to try to formulate anything to say about it it’s now or never. So here are some moments, vignettes if you will, (it is probably going to be silly long, and even so, woefully incomplete, and mainly for my own writing and remembering pleasure):

Perhaps foremost – Syrian, Jewish and German kids beautifully singing lullabies about exile in Yiddish in Weimar, 100 feet from a giant mall built by Jewish slave labour, and not the slightest bit in any contrived way. Just kids getting into (and how!) song and theatre in Yiddish. Really heavy, beautiful, and cool!

Teaching the Breslover Adir ayom and a Vorker niggun mostly known in the Amshinov community that i learned during a 3 hour cab ride in Ukraine to a room full of fantastic musicians and people, who were very enthusiastic about it, really absorbing what i was trying to communicate, at all levels, and some of whom have told me that they are still working on it. Teaching to people who in some cases could play circles around me, and thus being forced to look deep inside me and figure out what i, specifically me, have to offer. Having a captive audience to which i could blather on about my thoughts on the interplay and interchanges between eastern european and “eastern” music and all of my personal philosophy of music.

Waking up from a nap to the sound of 20 fantastic musicians jamming outside of our window.

Playing a concert for an audience that took a breath and plunged deep in with us even though they had already heard almost an hour and a half of intense music right before. Having in the audience, some of the musicians i admire most in the entire world, including many of my teachers, and having those very people say some ridiculously nice things about our music and our performance afterwards.

Getting a message right after the performance that a good friend, who happens to be a sort of nexus of why all of this exists, had a baby that day. Realizing the extent to which this festival and some of these connections have influenced my life and my artistic life even though i had never been there before.

Feeling a deep closeness with a bunch of people by the end of the week and realizing that i didn’t even know half of their names yet or anything about them, since we had just kind of arrived and got right down to music making, realizing how real that connection made by music is. And still getting a chance to just hang out and talk and dance at the after party, if only to formalize it all.

Realizing that how much more so is the connection i have with my lovely bandmates, who i have been playing with since 2008, 2009 and 2011 respectively, and getting a week to live with them and have an awesome daily routine, our lunch excursions and urban foraging, our bleary jetlagged mornings, and being tourists together in Berlin! And realizing, while telling the stories, how much unbelievable (as in, really really hard to believe any of the events happened let alone all of them) luck I had in gathering these amazing people together who have been so into the huge amount of work that it has taken to create this, with almost always a smile on their faces even when it’s 38 degrees and we’re jetlagged and have spent nearly 24/24 together for a week :)

Experiencing spontaneous organization, in the service of music, in the most amazing way – not having a clue on one day what will be on the schedule for the next, and seeing it all take shape under some pretty clever guidance from Christian and Alan.

Being forced to play clarinet in klezmer jams due to not having any other instruments with me, finally!

Small town life (♪ is the life for me ♪), having the places we went every day for our groceries, the market day, our cafe and our bakery, seeing the same people all the time, including so many friends, hearing music down the street and finding out it is friends busking, starting to learn enough german to manage small interactions, getting to the point where the lady at the deli asks where the others are when i show up alone to get last minute supplies for shabbes (the last piece of heilbutt!)

Shabbes en famille with my grandmother’s cooking (well, indirectly), and a barefoot walk to the river for the lunar eclipse.

Being in a town with seemingly more musicians than people, but in which it yet seems possible to fill a hall with enthusiastic and extremely patient concert goers.

Having so much of the week being the entire bunch of people together playing and learning music together, and getting to know people in many cases only by their face and the sound of their instrument.

Learning from Yagel, Yair, Deb, Alan, Christian, Mark, Yulia, Nora, Ilya, and more..! Tunes, thoughts, stories, philosophy… Picking apart a taksim from the Beregovski collection, learning a semai in a makam i had never heard of before, realizing the funny ways in which a cantorial piece are in uşşak. Hearing the most incredible performance by Deb, Alan and Yulia, incredible solo frame drum from Nora, and much more than that.

Ok, i guess that’s enough (and at the same time so much not enough)

A huge huge thanks to Sasha for helping bring us there, to Alan and Christian of course, and all of the people of YSW, eternal gratitude to my bandmates, roommates, travelling companions and friends Joel, Gael and Daniel, to the wonderful people who took my class, to the wonderful audiences of the concerts, to our many beautiful colleagues for their performances, and all of the teachers and participants for together making a wonderful, life changing week.

I hope to see you all soon and to be back again before long!


(obligatory end-of-tour selfie by the guy with the shortest arms)


More of Adam Berry’s photos from the festival here!

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country.  Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien. L’an dernier, le Conseil a investi 153 millions de dollars pour mettre de l’art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.  We also thank the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec for its financial support.  Nous remercions également le Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec pour son support financier.

CCFA_RGB_colour_e              Calq_cyan


m’kumt in daytshland bald

We are very excited that in a little less than a month we will be coming to Germany to participate in and teach at Yiddish Summer Weimar, and to perform on July 28th there, then on to Berlin for a concert at Fine Bagels on July 31st.  It’s been a while since we were able to travel together and we’re all really looking forward to this, hope to see some of you there!

We have lots of neat new material from our tour last year with the Conseil des arts de Montréal as well as new arrangements we are working on now, and so hopefully we will get in to record some time later this year.

Also, we’ve just recently gotten the CDs from the tango project in which all the members of Siach Hasadeh participated, you can check that out at!

We are very grateful to the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec for their continuing support in realizing this voyage.

CCFA_RGB_colour_e      Calq_cyan


Upcoming Events! There are many!

Unfortunately, our live events calendar feed is having a toothache and pretends that we won’t be doing anything in the near future; however, i am happy to let you know that is not true!

Calendar of upcoming dates:

November 6 2PM – Maison de la Culture Villeray [with special guests Briga and Didem Basar]
November 8, 8PM – Maison de la Culture Cote des Neiges [with special guests Briga and Didem Basar]
February 5, 11AM – Le Centre Culturel Peter B. Yeomans (1401, chemin du Bord-du-lac)
February 23, 8pm – Maison de la Culture Rosemont, Studio 1 – 6707 de Lorimier
February 26, 3pm – Maison de la Culture du Plateau Mont-Royal
April 23, 11am – Arrondissement de l’Ile Bizard
April 30, 3pm – Chappelle Historique du Bon-Pasteur
May 7, 11:30am – Irving L. Adessky Community Centre, 30 Lyncroft Road

December 14, 8PM – Location TBA – Tango project post recording show

Hope to see you there!

Two new beautiful videos!

Hi friends, at long last we have some very nice video, the first is a beautiful promotional clip put together by Huei Lin / Bureau 121b from our residency earlier this spring, and the next is a crazily wonderful animation by Chris Henschel of our “Baal Shem Tov’s Niggun” from the album Song of the Grasses, with imagery based on the fantastic tale by R’ Nachman, “The Lost Princess.”

I hope you enjoy!

After a busy summer, we are now slogging through paperwork and getting ready for an excellent tour of Montreal, playing in 8 different boroughs in the fall and spring. Stay tuned for news about upcoming shows and some recording soon!

– Yoni

Tichleh shana, tachel shana (goodbye 2015, hello 2016!)

Dear friends,

Hoping you are all well and staying warm, and having nice times with friends and family!  It’s that time of year again, to look over the year that was and some of the exciting stuff that’s coming up for the next year.


Photo by Kiran Ambwani – 2015

2015 was a very behind the scenes year for Siach Hasadeh, only a handful of relaxed performances and mostly working on new things.  We have nearly enough new material now to record a 3rd album (!) which should start getting into the works in the next few months and hopefully ready to release towards the beginning of 2017.

In the mean time, we are really excited to announce that we’ve been given a residency at the very wonderful Maison de la Culture Ahuntsic-Cartierville, by our dear friend and the invaluable maman to the entire world music scene in Montreal, Liette Gauthier (who, along with her small team, have done more to foster creativity and musiphotoc than you can imagine, tell your MPs, MLAs and Mayors!).   Leading up to our residence in March, we will be developing a 50 minute program which will make the music more accessible to wider audiences and hopefully be engaging and interesting.  And then… starting in the fall we will be taking part in the CAM en Tournée program of the Conseil des Arts de Montreal, which means we will be able to perform the new program in many wonderful venues around Quebec which are free to the public, and which always have wonderful audiences and technical teams.

We also have a very neat video in the works by the amazing Chris Henschel, we haven’t seen it yet but boy are we excited to share it with you all when it’s ready!

Tango Yona-201-bronze beauty

Photo by Kiran Ambwani

Besides all of that, we have worked on a side project of Yiddish tango songs with singer Jane Enkin from Winnipeg, and Brigitte Dajczer, which has been really enriching and hopefully will take off in the coming year with recording?  Performance?  Drop us a line to book the project!

So stay tuned in the new year for all of that and more exciting things to come, thanks to you all for your support and enthusiasm, and looking forward to seeing many of you and sharing music and good time together!

All the best from Yoni, and Siach Hasadeh!


Musical morality in a global culture (repost from Annika/Diatonic Hydrogen)

As artists working with musical tools that were born in the wombs of various cultures, and as creative musicians in general, we often mull over what exactly we are doing, what is moral, what is honest, what are our obligations as artists and what we have to contribute of ourselves. This wonderful blog post by our friend Annika addresses some of those questions, raises some more questions, and proposes some very interesting thoughts, so we thought we’d share it with you!

Diatonic Hydrogen

We all come to music with a unique mindset, feet planted firmly (or loosely) in various traditions, tastes ranging from Beyoncé to Québecois field recordings, and ears that are sensitive to radically different elements of the music we are making. However, with this uniqueness, with the melding of influences—across ensembles and within musicians themselves—comes a duty to respect the traditions and the people who have guided us to this moment. For example, who am I, a Scottish-born atheist, to perform a song about the loss of the Muslim faith while punctuating it with Yiddish vocal ornamentation? What entitles me to usurp these sacred musics and declare their cohabitation? What right do I have to appropriate these traditions and texts to which I have no blood claim?

This last question is a question that, over the last few decades, has risen to the forefront of the fields of composition and ethnomusicology. It’s…

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2014 wrap up and looking forward to 2015!

Dear friends, a very happy new year from Siach Hasadeh!

From warm and cozy inside, in Montreal which is completely covered with a sort of beautiful, if terrifying, inch thick layer of ice, it’s a good time to reflect on the very productive year that was for Siach Hasadeh and to look forward to the next challenges and creation.

2014 began for us with an incredible mini-tour in the United States, with generous support from the Conseil des Arts du Québec.  After all the visa excitement was over (“You’re going on tour?   Where’s all your gear?”)  we had great performances in Middleton, CT, Brooklyn, Harlem, West Side Manhattan, Princeton and Burlington, shared some bills with great musicians that we admire, Breslov Bar Band, Pete Rushefsky and Keryn Kleiman, Ichka, and Ihtimanska, met and played for many new friends, and more than anything, got a chance to get to spend some intense time together on and off stage, getting to know each other personally and musically.  Not to mention learning to admire Joel’s driving and navigation skills.  By the end of the tour we were playing together on a whole different level and were ready to explore new vistas together.

We got plenty of loving for our last album, Song of the Grasses (2013) with wonderful reviews in le Devoir, The Jewish Daily Forward, Klezmershack, the New York Music Daily and Wholenote Magazine (check them out here!).

The summer brought us to Toronto, for the fabulous Ashkenaz Festival, which I had dreamed about going to for years but never managed.  Packed into the Toronto Harbour with some kind of comics festival and a Bluejays game, were so many of our friends and heroes!  And we played a great set to a really nice and appreciative crowd.

Besides that, a little foray for members of the band into the world of Yiddish Tango, with singer Jane Enkin and violinist Brigitte Dajczer, with a demo recording currently in mixing, and hopefully some interesting things to come!

During the fall we worked intensively on developing our musical language and group improvisation, with great and challenging exercises, as well as working on new arrangements and new material.  This culminated in a wonderful intimate house concert where we got to present some of our new material and works in progress.

Now it’s time to hit the Google calendar and get out the trusty booking pen, and start setting up 2015!  We plan to continue developing and exploring our group improvisation, our instrumental hisbodedus, and to get another recording together in the summer.  We’d love to reach new audiences in the chamber music and improvised music scenes, 2015 should be a year busy with performances near and far, and hopefully somewhere near you!  Keep checking back on this page or sign up for our mailing list/Facebook page to stay tuned.

Many thanks for all your support, for your presence, for your encouragement, and for coming so deep into the space with us in our performances.  Wishing you all the best for the year, and looking forward to seeing you all soon,

Yoni, on behalf of

Siach Hasadeh


Klezmershack review, new music for the Days of Awe

In great company!  Thanks Ari Davidow,

“Siach Hasadeh is a Montreal-based duo, clarinet and bass, exploring Jewish niggun. Since they also appeared at Ashkenaz 2014, I can also link this set of reviews to my continuing coverage of the standout artists at that festival. Although the music is sweet, the duo explores the rougher sides of harmony as well. There is a delightful tone poem/art song/modern classical dissonance that weaves in and out of these tunes, from the opening “R’ Levi Yitzchak Berditchever’s Niggun” to “Niggun firn di tsaddikim in gay eyden” or “Rabbeinu’s Niggun” featuring Shtreiml masters Jason Rosenblatt on harmonica and Ismail Fencioğlu on oud. For those who enjoy digging deeper and letter ways of niggun wash over them, this is a rich recording.”

A Hauntingly Contrasting Klezmer Twinbill on the Upper West

New York Music Daily

It might have been a cold night on the upper west side this past March 4, but in the basement of Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, a surprisingly large and energetic crowd gathered to see a hauntingly kinetic doublebill of two very different bands, Ichka and Siach HaSadeh, from the thriving Montreal klezmer scene. Ichka play minor key party music. Siach HaSadeh play hushed, slow, sometimes rapt, sometimes utterly morose soundscapes using ancient ngunim as a stepping-off point for improvisation (although they did romp through one unexpectedly upbeat number in about half an hour onstage).

Ichka clarinetist Julien Biret, violinist Isaac Beaudet and trombonist Eli Richards showed off sizzling chops right from the start,. While Biret’s swirls and dips and Beaudet’s slashing cadenzas and flickering trills were adrenalizing to the extreme, and their sub accordionist, Emily, filled in solidly both as a sidewoman and soloist in place of their usual player Laurence…

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