All posts by Dave Moskovitz

Rocking weddings

The vibe at the Rothman-Gibson wedding yesterday was amazing.  Reb Dave caught the action in a snap from the stage while he was singing –

Dancing at the Rothman-Gibson Wedding

Di Mezinke Oysgegebn

Hekher besser,
Di rod, di rod makht gresser,
Groys hot mikh Got gemakht
Glik hot er mir gebrakht
Hulyet kinder a gantse nakht –
Di mezinke oysgegebn.
Dance higher, better,
Make larger the dance ring,
God has made me great,
Has brought me good fortune:
So party people all night long,
The youngest daughter is wed!
Shtarker, freylakh,
Du di malke, ikh der melekh
Ay ay ay, ikh aleyn
Hob mit mayne oygn gezeyn
Vi Got iz mir matsliah geven –
Di mezinke oysgegebn.
With more might, joyful!
Tonight you are the queen and I the king,
Indeed I myself
Have seen with my own eyes,
How God has given me a bounty;
The youngest daughter is wed!
Itsik shpitsik
Vos shvaygstu mitn shmitshik
Oyf di klezmer gib a geshrey
Tsu shpiln zey tsu shlofn zey
Raysst di strines ale oyf tsvey –
Di mezinke oysgegebn.
Itsik, you pointy headed one,
Why are you so gentle with your bow?
Yell at your musicians,
Are they playing or sleeping?!
Tear those strings apart –
The youngest daughter is wed!

Sunday Star Times won’t name the title of our new CD

Good on Mike Alexander for mentioning the Klezmer Rebs dilemma in his On the Beat column in the Sunday Star Times (26 February 2012, pF17), but awfully weird that “for legal reasons we cannot name the title of the album.”  Oh, you must be referring to Anarchia Total.  Now how is a song about freedom and standing up for civil and human rights a threat to the nation or Urs’s trial?

Want to judge for yourself? For a live version and translation of Urs’s song Anarchia Total have a look and listen here (scroll down a bit). Ask for the new Klezmer Rebs album Anarchia Total at your local CD shop (if your town has any left) and/or order here or on line here .

For the band’s view about it all, have a read of this

Thanks for the nice words and support from Ode Records boss Roger Marbeck.

The full article is below.

Blog review of our recent concert at Dowse Art Museum

Thelongdarkteatimeofthesoul blog has some nice things to say about our recent concert at the Dowse ‘From Shtetl to Kiwi Klezmer’ a chronological story of klezmer music.

We’d love to do this curated concert again. We are looking to set up a concert in Auckland on Queens Birthday weekend – contact us through our facebook page if you would like to help.  Here is what the programme looked like:

A statement from the Klezmer Rebs band about our band member Urs Signer

You will know that Urs Signer, our awesome clarinettist and composer, is on trial for some very serious charges. We wish our interested public and fans to know how we feel about this.

What happened

Urs has been with the band for over 7 years, featuring on our first ‘real’ CD – ‘Live at the Wellington Folk Festival’ in 2005.  It was Urs’s performance that made the Rebs stand out then.

In October 2007 we again were booked to play at the Folk Festival, then learned the week before that our friend musician Urs Signer and his girlfriend Emily had been arrested at gunpoint in the Wellington Green Belt.  We visited him at Rimutaka Prison, in an orange boiler suit. It was surreal.

We were rehearsing that weekend when we discovered in talking to each other that we had all noticed interference and funny clicks and sounds on our telephones; we were personally affronted and shaken by this civil rights violation of innocent citizens by state surveillance.

Don Franks (bless him) and his brass band came and played and spoke truth and raised some money, and I gave an impassioned speech about how the State had taken Urs, one of us, and that we must all stand together, for we could be next.

How we feel as a band

The Klezmer Rebs, always a political band, have been deeply affected by Urs’s struggles.  As a band that supports good causes, we have offered our performance services free to Sea Shepherd, the Christchurch Earthquake (Red Cross), the Green Party, an Indian orphanage and others. The Rebs frequently play for and contribute to Jewish community festivities and inter-faith activities. And we raise money to help pay for the legal costs for those arrested in the 2007 Operation 8 ‘terror’ raids.

On our CD cover you will see a foto of Urs shouting truths into a microphone.  Now, finally on trial after 4½  years of being under police watch and legal proceedings, we need to speak out in support of ‘one of us’ who is on trial.  The Klezmer Rebs perform the song Anarchia Total in that context.

We stand behind Urs, our peaceful anarchist activist klezmer musician father, proudly and firmly.  We are honoured to be extended whanau for Urs and his partner Emily Bailey, providing emotional and moral support, and to offer an outlet for Urs creative genius as a composer and performer.

Anarchia Total CD and song

Our new CD is titled Anarchia Total, and while it features a range of Rebs interpretations of traditional and unusual English /Yiddish /Russian and klezmer songs, its centrepiece is Urs’s title composition written after his experience of arrest and imprisonment.

Anarchia Total is not a song about the October 2007 ‘terror raids’ or about violence.

It is a song (in 5 languages) about standing up for freedom and resisting oppression, repression, racism and fascism everywhere.  It is written in the tradition of freedom songs such as 1930’s Italian anti-fascist anthem Bella Ciao (which the Rebs deliver in staunch and rousing fashion at our live gigs, and which appears our CD Just add shmaltz), and Shtil di Nacht and Zog nit Keynmol which are two Yiddish World War 2 Jewish anti-Nazi resistance songs.

In the end, Anarchia Total is a song about celebrating – ‘now we’re dancing once again’ – and it’s just damn fun to play and dance to.

Klezmer Rebs and politics

It is true that Urs describes himself as an anarchist, but other Klezmer Rebs band members do not. I (David Weinstein) am a Green Party activist and others are left-leaning.  While Anarchia Total calls for ‘one solution, revolution’ and ‘revolution, autonomy, self-determination’ it is not a call to violence or arms. Band members agree that the current global financial system is unsustainable, ruining our planet and causing social inequity and poverty, and the ‘revolution’ we seek is to change the current system to one that meets the needs of all people and planet.

The Klezmer Rebs members listed below support political activism and protest; we do not support violence.

When Urs plays with the Rebs we are at our best

Urs generally travels from his home with Emily Bailey at Parihaka, Taranaki for major Klezmer Rebs gigs, like our recent performances on the South Island and at the Dowse Art Museum. Due to the trial he is unable to commit to perform with the band over the next few months.  We do play concerts without him when he is not available but the Rebs are at our best when Urs’s clarinet soars above all and electrifies our audiences.

Please listen to and enjoy our music

Please listen to the Anarchia Total CD, and our previous 2008 CD Just add shmaltz (also available on Ode Records). These songs are from a klezmer tradition about the joy and sorrows of living, about the struggles of an oppressed minority people. The songs are also wacky, and sometimes rude; they are full of passion; they are about dancing and living life to the fullest.

David Weinstein

Sue Esterman

Heather Elder

Rosemary O’Hara

Dave Moskovitz

Amanda Maclean

Rainer Thiel

 of the Klezmer Rebs band Cell 021 077 6069

Lynn, Mata Hari and three Rebs: “Words on Edge” at Cafe Meow Wednesday 15 February

This Wednesday nite 15 February at 7.30 at Cafe Meow you can be literate and watch (for free!) Amy Brown, Lynn Jenner and Aleksandra Lane join NZ Poet Laureate Ian Wedde in a relaxed but edgy take on poetry “Words on Edge” as part of the Fringe Festival.

Some may recall that Lynn Jenner, author of the award winning poetry volume Dear Sweet Harry worked with the Rebs in a poetry reading with music at the now defunct Ruby Lounge.  Lynn will perform a new work The life and death of Mata Hari in 12 minutes. This features Klezmer Rebs musos Rose O’Hara on piano, Heather Elder on violin and David Weinstein, guitar and vox. Lynn will read her work to the musical backing of klezmer tunes from the Klezmer Rebs repetoire including a new composition by Heather.

Come along and be arty and edgy, and be moved by Mata Hari’s story through Lynn’s beautiful language.

Klezmer Rebs at Late Lounge, Dowse Art Museum, Thursday 2 February 7-8.30 pm

Enjoy authentic klezmer music and check out the exhibitions at the beautiful Dowse Art Museum for their first “Late Lounge” music event for 2012.

The Klezmer Rebs will perform for 90 minutes our own version of  klezmer music, world/folk music born out of the Yiddish/Jewish culture of eastern Europe.  Relax on a bean bag, pull up a chair or get dancing – all galleries, cafe, shop and cash bar open until 9pm.

Now in our 10th year, the Wellington-based Klezmer Rebs ethnic/European world music band have released their latest CD Anarchia Total (on Ode Records) and will be playing from it as well as two previous CDs Just add shmaltz and Live at the 2005 Wellington Folk Festival.

For the Dowse’s Late Lounge show the Rebs klezmer curators will take the audience on a chronological tour through klezmer history beginning with earlier folky forms of eastern European ‘shtetl’ wedding tunes and dances, to Warsaw ghetto and Yiddish partisan anthems, through to klezmer’s fusion with American jazz and swing, the klezmer 1980s revival and up to the modern day world klezmer genres.

So come along and discover it for yourself

Thursday 7pm at the Dowse Art Museum, 45 Laings Road, Lower Hutt.  Koha admission.


New Klezmer Rebs CD Anarchia Total now available!

Hi Rebs fans

Finally after 13 months gestation Anarchia Total is now available to order (for CD click here or to download digital version or individual songs click here  Weighing in at 31 minutes 44 seconds it is just short of a full length CD so, for you, we are selling it for just $15 (plus postage).  At 0.78 cents per second, that is amazing value, nu?  Of course Just add shmaltz at just under 45 minutes is still available for the rock bottom price of $20.

Anarchia Total was recorded live at the Ruby Lounge in Wellington, NZ in November 2010, and features 7 live tracks including traditional klezmer tunes Sher and Yoshke, some unconventional ones like David Kaetz’s country swing klezmer song Blue Klezmer Moon, the Yiddish tango Gedenk, a cover of the rude Russian song (by Leningrad) Zvezda Rok-n-Rolla, the popular crowd pleaser Minnie the Moocher, and of course our own Urs Signer’s political call to arms Anarchia Total whose lyrics you can find here ( – scroll down below the youtube video of the song).  The new CD also features a few bonus tracks including Yishama-o-Rama ((Radiata edit) which is a remix of our version of Od Yishama/L’khayim Yidelkh by NZ DJ Cut Loose.

Buy now and at no extra cost you’ll receive nothing extra at all!

Hey Kiwi! – Download a new Rebs song for free if you enrol to vote

The Klezmer Rebs have joined efforts with bands such as The Clean, The Phoenix Foundation, Newtown Rocksteady, Anna Coddington, Amanda Maclean (our fabulous Rebs helicon player!) and others for Hey Kiwi. This is an initiative by the Green Party (approved by Elections NZ) to get young people to enrol to vote (you don’t have to vote Green but it wouldn’t hurt …). 

Go to and check your enrolment to vote status. If you are enroled or fill out an enrolment form, then you can download a song for free! So enrol already! And you can download for free our newly recorded klezmer tango song Gedenk written by Benzion Wilter and sung by Reb Rose. For free!