Yid Vicious Klezmer Ensemble
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Yid Vicious Klezmer Ensemble

Madison, Wisconsin, United States | SELF

Madison, Wisconsin, United States | SELF
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AMAZE at the Plant Hypnotist, Yid Vicious' 5th and newest CD, is the first recorded output from the band’s “Kid Vicious” oeuvre. The collection of tunes for children and childish adults throws the beloved klezmer band into a blender with a carnival sideshow, a rusty circus calliope, and even a couple of monsters from under the bed. The result is sure to enliven any slumber party, Hanukkah feast, boat show, or clam bake.

CD Lyrics sheet

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Dollars to Doinas - CD

Giant Clam Records, 2008.

Review by Michael Popke, The Shepherd Express:

A doughnut with pink frosting and colorful sprinkles on top graces the cover of Dollars for Doinas, the fourth CD from Madison's internationally renowned klezmer band Yid Vicious. It's a fun, deliciously appropriate image for a group that's helped keep Yiddish folk songs alive for almost 15 years. Few bands, regardless of genre, make music as celebratory as Yid Vicious. Indeed, these 14 songs-punctuated with fiddle, tuba, saxophone, French horn, clarinet, accordion, Theremin and guitar-may conjure carnivals, circuses and parades. But that's the point. Yid Vicious flavors Eastern European and Russian Jewish musical traditions with contemporary spices and serves it to the masses. "Serfing on the Dead Sea" rides a tidal wave of tuba, the dark classic-rock vibe of "Vicious Grrlz" ends with a horns-galore finale, "The Breathless Terk" flirts with free jazz and "21st Century Tangar" tones down the frenetic pace without diminishing the band's art of noise.

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The Seventh Schlemiel - CD

Giant Clam records, 2005

"...these talented youths incorporate their own generation's sounds into the mix, from country to reggae. Brainy and fun... this is music that thinks on its feet."

- Review excerpt from jewishworldreview.com

"Klezmer acts on the coasts get far more play than Yid Vicious, but few can claim to have produced a collection this inventive, varied and vivacious."

- Tom Laskin, Isthmus

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Forverts - CD

Knitting Factory Records, 2001

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Klez, Kez, Goy Mit Fez - CD

Uvulittle Records, 1998



Yid Vicious has been engaging and delighting audiences throughout the Midwest since 1995. The group has released four CDs and has received numerous Madison Area Music Awards for its unique blend of traditional and contemporary klezmer. In 2009, Yid Vicious became the first performing arts ensemble in Wisconsin to receive a USArtists International grant, to perform at Argentina’s KlezFiesta, an international klezmer festival spanning three cities and including bands from ten countries. In 2006, Yid Vicious toured Chiba Prefecture, Japan as part of the
Wisconsin-Chiba Sister State Goodwill Delegation. Yid Vicious is committed to keeping traditional klezmer music and dance alive, and collaborates frequently with internationally renowned klezmer dance instructor Steve Weintraub. The group has participated in the New York-based “KlezKamp: The Yiddish Folk Arts Program”, and was a featured performer at the “KlezKamp Roadshow” directed by Yiddish scholar Henry Sapoznik at the University of Wisconsin in April 2009. Yid Vicious has presented concerts, workshops, and clinics at performing arts centers, cultural festivals, universities, and K-12 schools in Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, and Michigan, and has performed to statewide audiences on Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Television.

Daithi Wolfe - Fiddle

David was a Suzuki violin brat way back in the bad old days starting in Ann Arbor in 1968. After visiting Ireland in 1983 he changed his name to Daithi (pronounced Dahee) which is Irish for David and changed his violin into a fiddle. He has played Celtic music in Madison for about 19 years, first with The Drones, then Far From Home, next The Authorities, and now with The Currach (every Friday at the Brocach from 5:30-7pm). Daithi actually hates music, but he figures being in a band makes him look cool. When not playing music, Daithi plays at being an early childhood education advocate, marathon runner and all-around rabble rouser. His wife Sandy is a trapeze artist and carpenter. His older daughter Mairead is a stilt-walking fiddler. And younger daughter Fiona is an expert tree climber and violinist. Daithi's favorite Yid Vicious tune is "Sadegurer Husidl". Trivia tidbit: Matt and Daithi are the only original members of the band still hanging on...

Greg Smith - Clarinets

A Madison native, Greg has engaged in an ever-widening variety of styles throughout his musical career as a clarinetist and saxophonist. He has been the bass clarinetist in the Madison Symphony Orchestra since the early 1970's, performs with the Capitol City Concert Band, plays hot Dixieland with the Avenue Sizzlers, and with the Reptile Palace Orchestra, delves into the mysteries of Balkan lounge rock (whatever that is). He is also a charter member of Madison’s Salsa, Merengue and Bachata specialists, Grupo Candela, and performs regularly with Caravan Gypsy Swing Ensemble and the area’s newest (and perhaps only) Western Swing band, the North Country Drifters. Other recent projects include the The Chick Singer Band, covering Sinatra to Morphine with some African and Argentinian lounge music thrown in for good measure, and taking on the role of Tupaneer in the traditional Balkan music group Intemperance Collective. Greg joined Yid Vicious in 2002 to salve an inner need to play music in minor keys.

Kia Karlen - Horn & Accordion

Born and raised in Madison, WI, Kia took over the Yid Vicious horn duties in 2002, and later tamed a feral accordion that Geoff captured in the wild. Currently holding the horn/accordion seat with Reptile Palace Orchestra, she has also performed with the Con Vivo Chamber Ensemble, Four Seasons Theatre, Capitol City Band and Madison Savoyards, and occasionally plays bass with local rock outfits including Yammer and the Theramones. With husband (& YV drummer) Geoff Brady, Kia has scored experimental music for silent film screenings, staged sock puppet tributes to the great philosophers, and organized armies of artists for temporary public art projects at Ride the Drive and Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Kia works at the Madison Children’s Museum, where she often figures out ways to do this sort of stuff for a steady salary.

Melissa Reiser - Saxophones

Saxophonist Melissa Reiser left the relative comforts of a music teaching job (Luther College) to broaden her horizons: yes, she went back to grad school, like anyone eager to avoid signing up for the real world would do. With a masters in ethnomusicology (world music) now under her belt, Melissa has decided to keep going so that she can subjugate college kids to the sounds of places they can't find on a map. Her most recent venture involved camping in the sands of the Sahara, squashing scorpions, and attending nomadic raves while researching Tuareg music festivals in northern Mali. Melissa plays / has played in the Afro-pop band Kweku Ananse and the Sweet Vibrations, the big-band Ladies Must Swing, t