“All Instruments Are Welcome” Jewish Music with Uri Sharlin

Uri Sharlin
Instructor Uri Sharlin

We sat down with Uri Sharlin, the instructor of the Intro Jewish Music for Non-Professional Musicians class, beginning on Wednesday, September 30th. Uri is a Brooklyn-based composer, accordionist player, and arranger. He has worked with prominent musicians Antony and the Johnsons, Natalie Merchant, Avi Avital and Frank London. Uri was also featured as a pianist and composer in the acclaimed HBO series Flight of the Conchords. He is currently leading several groups including the Cardamon Quartet and the DogCat Ensemble and is the creator of Play Me a Story, a musical storytelling performance program for children.

What excites you most about teaching Intro to Jewish Music?

Uri: It is always exciting for me to teach music, and to teach a hands-on class is what I enjoy the most. I am looking forward to have a group of people who have never played together before, and some of whom haven’t touched their instrument for a while, and help them sound good! I will teach various styles and genres within Jewish music and focus on building practical performance skills the students can continue developing and using beyond the class. This program is geared toward performance, and we will have a few of my colleagues join us and enrich our perspective on performance throughout the semester.

Tell us about your experience with Jewish music. 

Uri: I have been involved in the Jewish music world in New York for many years. This summer only I was in Mexico playing Moroccan Jewish music with the master Emil Zerihan, and the following week, teaching up at KlezKanada. I went from a van in the Mexican desert where everybody but me spoke Moroccan to a camp where pretty much everybody is interested in Yiddish…

How did this idea come about?

Uri: For the past few years I have been running the Tikun Leil Shavuot jam session at the 14th Street Y. It is one of my favorite nights here in the city, where musicians meet and create a new piece of music together, in the middle of the night, with the support of amazing crowds of all backgrounds. More than once I had people approach me and say something like – ‘I used to play the accordion, but never like that…how do you guys do it?’ Well, this class is all about that. Ronit (Ronit Muszkatblit, Artistic Director of LABA) was always very supportive of my music and so the class was a natural collaboration for us.

What do you hope to accomplish with the class?

The main goal is to get students of all levels who are playing an instrument, even if not professionally, to gain deeper insight into Jewish music and ensemble playing. We will explore a different genre every week or two. The level of the class, the chosen repertoire, and the demands from the students will be based on the level of the student and their participation. We will do everything possible to accommodate students of all levels and instruments.

Register online today!

Wednesdays, September 30th – December 9th from 7:00 – 8:30pm at the 14th Street Y
For more information, email URI at usharlin@gmail.com


International Fellow Mirta Kupferminc Tells Her Story

International LABA Fellow Mirta Kupferminc creates in a vast array of mediums to tell her story. She spoke to us from Argentina as she prepares for the debut of three of her works at LABAlive MOTHER: Martyr on April 24, 2014 at the Theater at The 14th Street Y.

At the Beginning

Q: In one word, describe your work?


Q: What is your primary medium?

A: I have no limitations. I’ve recently had a huge break-through in metal print-making. I would say that my work is very conceptual and I work in the specific medium I feel is necessary for each project.

Q: What influences you?

A: Referring to theme, my work’s core is memory, identity, and human rights. My life experiences deeply influence my work. It is all an expression of my own life and a kind of testimony of my world view.

Q: Describe your process for us.

A: Fortunately, I am full of ideas and I am very open to life. When something comes from an outside source that awakens my interests I wish to talk about that in my work. An image immediately comes to my mind. From there, I trust myself and accept the many other possibilities. In art, everything is endless. I begin trying to figure out how to reach my goal. If I see that I cannot do it by myself, I try to shape a team. Self confidence and a great collaborative group is very important in my creative process.

Q: How has being a LABA fellow informed you and your art?Nueva imagen

A: I AM MY WORK! I live what I am producing. I have spent my whole year working on this synnergy with my art. I usually immerse my soul in the work. It demands a lot of time because I always try to study what I am pursuing. My works for LABA opened many, many more ideas in my mind than other projects up to now. Being a LABA Fellow will forever remain with me. LABA’s ideals match perfectly with my inner searches in life: origin, identity, learning, group dynamics, exchanges of ideas, and producing art.

Q: How has “MOTHER” influenced you throughout this whole process?

A: My mother is a major figure in my work. She is an Auschwitz survivor and the feeling of responsibility for telling our story is the main intention in my creative process. Thinking about and understanding mothers both metaphorically and universally, not just in a personal way, made me experience so many different feelings, not only as a daughter or a mother, but also as a wife, sister, and as a friend to other women.

Q: How long does it take for you to conceptualize, create, and get to the final product?

A: LABA is the first time I think I’ve presented my work in a performance setting. Before this, I did some set design and I did an on-site installation in an art gallery of my work “The Skin of Memory.” LABA is a new way of conceptualizing my presentation and it was not easy for me. With guidance, support, and advice from the LABA team, the process was made easier.

Q: Final thoughts?

A: I am a hard worker that is always continuing to create. I work in so many different mediums: painting, printmaking, video, installation, book making, sculptural objects, and sometimes I am not worried about using labels for what I do. Although the materials differ, the search is always the same: identity, memory, knowledge, and testimony.

See Mirta’s work at LABAlive MOTHER: Martyr on April 24, 2014 at the Theater at The 14th Street Y.

A Legend Exposed!


Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble is collaborating with From the Horse’s Mouth on the new work Anna Sokolow Way premiering at the Theater at the 14th Street Y, December 4-8, 2013. The in depth piece will use rare video, live performance, and narrative script to explore Anna Sokolow’s personal struggles and the creation of Theater Dance.

Anna Sokolow has taught and influenced some of the most influential and recognizable individuals in the creative communities of theater, dance, and film/television. Some of these greats will be performing in Anna Sokolow Way. Kevin Conroy (of Batman fame), Ze’eva Cohen, Mark Haim, Danny Lewis, and Paul Bloom are just a few of the well known names performing in the premier.Image

Tickets:  800-838-3006 ext. #1 or  http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/474331 

General Admission: $30; Student/Senior: $18