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Yiddish Lullabies & Love Songs

Released in November 2013

Inna Barmash's newest project explores Yiddish songs - twinkling lullabies and earnest songs of love and love gone wrong. Raw, beautiful and elegant in their simplicity, many of the songs are rarely heard treasures of old Soviet era anthologies of songs collected in the shtetls of Ukraine in the 1920s. Inna first started singing in Yiddish back in her home city of Vilnius, Lithuania as a child in the late 80s.  


Joining Inna on stage and in the recording studio are Lev 'Ljova' Zhurbin (viola/fadolin), Shoko Nagai (piano/accordion), Dmitri Zisl Slepovitch (clarinet/bass clarinet) and Dmitry Ishenko (bass).



We celebrated the release of our recording with a concert at Joe's Pub in November of 2013 (see videos from the concert).  See Inna's concert schedule and sign up on our email list to be alerted of future performances.

Band Bios

Inna Barmash


Inna Barmash immigrated to the United States from Vilnius, Lithuania, where she first started singing in Yiddish in a children's song and dance collective. While a student at Princeton University, she co-founded the Klez Dispensers, the university's first klezmer band and has since performed with numerous other klezmer and folk groups in the tri-state area. Her explorations of the repertoire of Russian and Romanian gypsies led to her co-founding of Romashka, a gypsy band based in New York. While roaming through clubs, cafe, and underground parties with Romashka, Inna encountered the composer/violist Ljova Zhurbin, her now-husband and collaborator, with whom she started Ljova & the Kontraband, an original chamber folk ensemble and a duo lovingly dubbed BarmaLjova.    

Shoko Nagai


Born in Nagoya, Japan, Shoko Nagai is a dynamic, sought-after pianist, accordionist, improviser and composer based in New York. After graduating from Berklee College of Music in 1999 she moved to New York City and quickly established herself in various scenes performing with such renowned artists as John Zorn, Butch Morris, Frank London, Miho Hatori (Cibo Matto), Satoshi Takeishi, Erik Friedlander, and Elliot Sharp to name a few.   Nagai also composes and performs film scores. Her works include a French film "L'AMOUR CACHE"  (2007) directed by Alessandro Capone and conducted by Butch Morris, a documentary film "ANPO" directed by Linda Hoaglund (selected 2011 Toronto film festival, Vancouver film festival, Hong Kong film festival, Poland film festival). This year she composed for a Japanese TV network "NHK" documentary "Things Left Behind" directed by Linda Hoaglund, which is showing in all over Japan.

Dmitri Zisl Slepovitch

Clarinet /Bass Clarinet


Dmitri Zisl Slepovitch is a clarinetist, saxophonist, pianist, composer, and Yiddish singer, founder of Litvakus and Minsker Kapelye bands, an internationally acclaimed expert and instructor in Ashkenazi Jewish and Eastern European music, Yiddish Language and Culture Instructor at The New School (New York). He has performed and recorded with Michael Alpert, Paul Brody, Psoy Korolenko, Frank London, Selim Sesler, Yale Strom, and Theresa Tova, to name a few. Among his important musical contributions is co-arranging a score for the Itzhak Perlman and Cantor Itzchak Meir Helfgot album Eternal Echoes on Sony Classical, in collaboration with Prof. Hankus Netsky.

Lev 'Ljova' Zhurbin



Hailed by the New York Times as “dizzyingly versatile… an eclectic with an ear for texture… strikingly original and soulful”, LJOVA (Lev Zhurbin) was born in 1978 in Moscow, Russia, and moved to New York with his parents, composer Alexander Zhurbin and writer Irena Ginzburg, in 1990. He divides his time between performing as a violist in diverse groups ranging from his own, LJOVA AND THE KONTRABAND, to string quartets, jazz combos and Gypsy bands; arranging music for Yo-Yo Ma, the Kronos Quartet, Gustavo Santaolalla, Osvaldo Golijov, Alondra de la Parra and others; and composing original music for film, TV, dance, and the concert stage. Recent commissions have included projects with the string quartet Brooklyn Rider, choreographer Aszure Barton, and filmmaker Josef Astor.

Dmitry Ishenko



Dmitry Ishenko (bass) is a versatile and in-demand New York City bass player. He has performed and recorded with such jazz greats as Steve Lacy, John Tchicai, Myron Walden, Roy Campbell, Jr., Sam Yahel, Joe Lovano, and many others. A graduate of both the Berklee College of Music and New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Dmitry has performed all over Northern America, Western Europe, Russia, and Japan.

The recording project is made possible through a grant by the BluePrint Fellowship project of COJECO, funded by the UJA-Federation of New York and Genesis Philanthropy Group.

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