Schmekel: 100% Trans Jews
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Schmekel: 100% Trans Jews

New York City, New York, United States | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Band Rock Comedy


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Schmekel: Your Friendly Neighborhood All-Jewish, All Transgender Punk Band"

“The originality…drips from this band. [Schmekel's] Polka Punk sound in and of itself is incomparable, but coupled with their trans-aesthetic and queer-themed, humorous lyrics, they’re like a cross between Weird Al, Pansy Division and The World Inferno…Schmekel lays the humor on thick, while at the same time visiting some rarely touched upon issues, particularly in the Jewish community.” - Jewcy

"Transgender Jews May Be Nothing New"

“Bands like Schmekel, which uses Yiddish as an alternative culture…are part of a phenomenon dubbed ‘Queer Yiddishkeit’…in which queerness is juxtaposed with elements of Yiddish in order to upend the status quo. While the state of the Jewish status quo is always in some sort of hysterical flux, evidence would seem to indicate that it’s come a long way, baby, when transgender masters of folk-punk-snark, Schmekel, play a show at an American Jewish community center…[A] great deal of Schmekel’s lyrics address the anguish and difficulties of being transgender — albeit in an ironic and hilarious way, and accompanied by a kind of raw polka beat. And while some Jewish precincts might not be so accepting of [1930s transgender man from Krivozer, Ukraine] Berel-Beyle and Schmekel, the JCC has a fine historical precedent in the simple shtetl Jews of Krivozer.” - Jewish Daily Forward


Queers On Rye (LP, 2011)

Hannukah Single (2010)



Schmekel is Brooklyn’s only 100% Transgender, 100% Jewish schtick-rock sensation! Their music offers a Bar-Mitzvah buffet of punk, klezmer, jazz, rock, and polka influences, while their lyrics combine bawdy humor and critical awareness, encouraging audiences to laugh at butt jokes while deconstructing systems of oppression. Schmekel’s bespectacled transsexual singer-songwriters are guitarist Lucian Kahn and keyboardist Ricky Riot. Bearded bassist Nogga Schwartz yells loudly, and genderqueer drummer Simcha Halpert-Hanson carries two big sticks. “Schmekel” is Yiddish for “little penis.”

Schmekel has played at events and benefits for organizations such as JFREJ (Jews for Racial and Economic Justice), Nehirim (GLBT Jews), FIERCE (queer youth of color), and IDA (queer artist collective/farm), as well as colleges and universities such as Yale, Bard, New School, SUNY Purchase, and the University of Mary Washington. In their New York City home, they have played at venues such as the Delancey, the Knitting Factory, Southpaw, and the Jewish Community Center. They can be found raising a ruckus with other weirdo punk bands in clubs, bars, and basements across the Eastern seaboard. Schmekel has been featured in publications such as The Jewish Daily Forward, TimeOut New York, and Jewcy. Despite being vaguely famous, they spend most of their free time going to potlucks and dressing like it’s 1995.