New York Belarusian Jewish roots / HIP / acoustic punk klezmer band
Litvakus, founded and led by the clarinetist, vocalist, and composer Zisl Slepovitch, is a critically acclaimed klezmer collective, the first to focus exclusively on the music and culture of Litvak Jews and their neighbors in Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, and parts of Ukraine. Litvakus features a uniquely distinct sound, a mix of drones from Belarusian bagpipes and stings, with a recognizably Jewish idiom, and high-energy, “shtetl-disco” music, along with traditional Eastern European Jewish vocals. The band’s repertoire also includes contemporary klezmer pieces written in the spirit of roots music. Litvakus equally fits chamber and large open-air settings, plays at festivals, concert venues, clubs and private events.
Litvakus first performed in 2008 in the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene’s production of Gimpel Tam after I.B.Singer. Among group’s programs are Traveling the Yiddishland with Michael Alpert (2012), Raysn: The Music of Jewish Belarus (2014); and GoyFriend with Sasha Lurje (2018).
Songlines magazine (UK) reviews Litvakus’ album Raysn: