The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band

The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band

 Sacramento, California, USA

Upbeat Jewish music from the Ashkenazic Jewish tradition, with Sephardic, gypsy, old-timey and Celtic influences. Fantastic for concerts, weddings, celebrations, bar/bat mitzvahs, conferences - you name it!


We are a 5-piece ensemble from the Sacramento area specializing in klezmer (Eastern European Jewish) and Yiddish music. Our approach hearkens not only to the string band traditions of Eastern Europe, but also to those of the Appalachains and Ozarks. Sephardic, Irish and gypsy influences are also present.

One radio programmer recently described our music as “great string band klez – [a] totally unique sound”. Klezmer webmaster Ari Davidow described our approach as “true simcha (celebratory) music for those of us who have feet in European country dances as well as in the world of Jewish tradition ... California klezmer in the true spirit of Romania Romania”. In the words of one reviewer, the Freilachmakers’ music “bubbles with exuberance and a great sense of fun”, their playing “highly virtuostic, yet subtle”.


Andy Rubin (5-string banjo, mandolin, guitar, vocals). Andy founded The Freilachmakers with fiddle player David Kidron in 1995. Until that time specializing in American and Celtic folk music, Andy began adapting the "clawhammer" style of 5-string banjo playing to the klezmer genre, which became an essential part of the distinctive FMer sound. He lives with his wife and three children in Sacramento, California, where he works by day as a pesticide toxicologist.

Marc Epstein (clarinet). Marc comes to the Freilachmakers from the MiraMar Klezmers, a group he co-founded with Israeli accordionist Mira Yemini in the suburbs of Washington, DC in 2002. He has an eclectic musical background that also includes classical music and jazz of various eras and regions. His other passion is entomology - he is known internationally as a specialist in tropical moths. Marc works as a specialist in Lepidoptera for the California Dept. of Food and Agriculture, after spending 15 years at the Smithsonian. He lives with his wife and son in Sacramento.

Wayne Lutzow (accordion). Trained as a classical accordionist and currently the owner / operator of Twelve Tone Piano Service, Wayne has concertized throughout California. A resident of Lincoln, CA, he and his wife Diana are the parents of three daughters, and have nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Lou Ann Weiss (string bass). Lou Ann's background was primarily in classical music before she joined the Freilachmakers in 1995. Her sensitive playing provides the glue that turns the Freilachmakers from five disparate musicians into a working ensemble. Lou Ann lives with her husband and three children in Sacramento, where she works as a nurse.

David Rosenfeld (mandolin, fiddle, guitar, percussion). One of the original Freilachmakers, Dave has recently rejoined the band. Also a regular with the San Francisco klezmer band Kugelplex, Dave brings with him multifaceted experiences as a composer of "new-klezmer-classical" music, as a teacher of music for children and adults, and as a badchan (court-jester-juggler).


CD #1: The Flower of Berezin (1998)

CD #2: And I in the Uttermost West (2005)

CD #3: Shalom Ireland (2003) - A collaborative album involving two Freilachmakers and two traditional Irish musicians from the group Driving With Fergus.

Our CDs are played on folk music radio programs and Jewish music radio programs all over the USA. We are featured regularly on AOL Radio's klezmer channel and on Radio Free Klezmer (Live 365).

Set List

We have tons of great Jewish music we can perform. Below is an example from a typical 2-hr concert (i.e., 2 sets). We do traditional tunes, original tunes and covers.

First set:
1. Simcha Loop (Ki Mitsion, Od Yishama #1, Asher Bara #1, Od Yishama #2)
2. Lustiger Chassidim / Hora Midor / Fanfara Suceava
3. Ershter Vals
4. Canarios Jig / Beregovsky tunes
5. Papirosn / Ragtime Annie
6. Prohibition suite
7. The Hangtown Freilach
8. Di Gasn Nign / Sirba mit Harbster Bletlekh
9. Dzhankoye / Katyusha

Second set:
1. Simcha Loop (Al Ha-Nissim, Adir Hu, Tsena)
2. Freilachs fun LA
3. Dem Ganef's Yikhes
4. Di Grine Kuzine
5. Mayn Shvester Khaye
6. Ballad of St. Anne’s Reel
7. Shtil di Nakht
8. Zog Nit Keynmol
9. The Rough and Ready Bulgar
10. Ale Brider