Props for the Ken Ulansey Ensemble
As regular readers of this site know, there are no shortage of old friends in Philadelphia who put on an incredible wedding show. When it came time to suggest a band for my stepson Ben's wedding, I did mention some fine names. The bride-to-be demurred and asked if it was okay if she asked the band that had played at her Bat Mitzvah. (She was, I might add, the 4th generation of her family involved in the Germantown Jewish Center, so there was some yikhes beyond merely being the beloved of a rather special stepson.)
As it turned out, I was pretty sure that Ken Ulansey would be rather good. I had seen him blow with Benny and the Vilda Chayas, as well as with his own ensemble, a few years ago when I mc'd the last Intergalactic Jewish Music festival. I was impressed and had really enjoyed the set, so as much as I would have been happy to send business to people that I know better, I had no qualms about this particular gig.
And, I am writing this to publicly note that Ulansey's ensemble was outstanding. Whether playing klezmer, Israeli folk dance, or very excellent soul and rock, the band rocked hard and kept the dance floor crowded. Very nice people, to boot. Ken and one of the singers also accompanied the ceremony, and other musicians quietly played in the background for the reception beforehand
Mind you, I never recommend bands—you'll find that written on the main page of the KlezmerShack, where it has been present since I began listing bands. But, should you read this and audition Ken's ensemble for a Philadelphia-area wedding, I suspect that the simcha will come off as stunning for you as it did for us. We thank Ken, and we thank the band.