Yiddishland UK Concert

This concert comes at the end of a unique event – a residential weekend at Wortley Hall when only Yiddish is spoken. But have no fear – this concert will not be entirely in Yiddish! The musicians will introduce their songs in English, and Yiddish content will be explained. In this concert you will feel the love of the Yiddish language and culture expressed through the focus on Yiddish songs.

As the historic everyday language of the Jewish people of Northern Europe, there is a large amount of literature, drama and songs that is currently being given a new life in the worldwide renaissance of Yiddish and Yiddish culture. Songs convey thoughts and feelings – love, grief, anger, hope, humour… and songs come from the workplace, from the home, and from public performance. In the UK the peak period of Yiddish is from the late C19th up to the 2nd world war. There were Yiddish speaking communities in many towns and cities around the UK, and theatres publications and even record labels.

This concert celebrates Yiddish song and explores the place of Yiddish song in the UK. Michael Alpert is a real international star of the Yiddish world, researcher, linguist, teacher and performer, now living in Scotland, and much recorded. Vivi Lachs is our national specialist on London’s historic Yiddish popular culture through words and music, historian, researcher, performer and author. Phil Tomlinson is a Sheffield- based performer and teacher of Yiddish song.

A concert not to be missed in the unique surroundings of Wortley Hall.

Feel free to register with the form below!

CDs and books will be on sale

Any queries to svbookings@yiddishcafe.com

Michael Alpert


Michael Alpert has been a pioneering figure in the renaissance of Klezmer music for over 30 years providing a bridge between Old World Jewish culture and the contemporary Yiddish/Klezmer Renaissance. He is a mentor, friend and colleague to many of the brightest new lights of contemporary Yiddish and Jewish arts and scholarship world-wide.

Michael Alpert tells the story of the Jewish people and the human race in song, music and the spoken word. Drawn from his family heritage and his own travels through the cultures and terrain of Europe and the Americas, his performances are sojourns through inner and outer landscapes, sagas of immigrant journeys, and epics of the universal search for home.

Michael Alpert has conducted extensive documentation of music and dance in Jewish Communities across USA and Europe. He has been Co-Director of KlezKanada, and Director of Jewish Heritage and Arts Programming at the Jewish Cultural Festival in Krakow, and is the musical and cultural advisor to the UK’s very own Kleznorth weekend.

He is internationally renowned for his award-winning performances and recordings with Brave Old World, Kapelye, Itzhak Perlman, and many others. Michael sings and plays exquisitely in traditional style. If you haven’t heard him sing before you won’t want to have missed him; if you’ve heard him before – you’ll probably be there!

Vivi Lachs


Vivi is the author of Whitechapel Noise: Jewish Immigrant Life in Yiddish Song and Verse, London 1884-1914 which offers a new reading of East End immigrant history gleaned from the lyrics of the popular culture of the Yiddish-speaking immigrant community. An examination of poetry, satire and pop song reveal details of insider debates on politics, sex and religion, analysed through the lenses of transnationalism and the push for anglicization. Her latest book, London Yiddishtown: East End Jewish Life in Yiddish Sketch and Story, 1930-1950, is a result of a translation Fellowship at the Yiddish Book Centre, and includes intriguing stories of three London Yiddish writers and an insight into their literary milieu.    

Vivi is a hugely knowledgeable and entertaining speaker and performer, not to be missed.

Phil Tomlinson


Phil Tomlinson is our local performer, recently moved from Derbyshire to Sheffield. He is an experienced singer and performer, specialising in singing and teaching Yiddish songs. Phil’s background is not Jewish, but through 40 years marriage to his wife who is from a Jewish family of Holocaust refugees, he has become ever more involved with Yiddish culture, especially music and song. Performing since the age of 7 in choirs, singing competitions, orchestras, bands, and folk clubs, over the last decade or more he has played and sung with the klezmer band The Klatsh and more recently with his group Yoyvl he has taken performances of “Mir Zaynen Do” and “Yiddish Revolutionaries” to a number of cities and towns in the Midlands. He is a Trustee of Kleznorth and the Yiddish Café Trust which runs the Yiddish Open Mic Café.