Young People's Klezmer Workshop / Oy Vey!

Album cover: Fun drawing of kids marching and playing instruments!

Young People's Klezmer Workshop
Oy Vey!, 1997

Order this and other Sruli and Lisa CDs from

So, at a dark party, these two musicians corner me and hand me a CD. It's for kids, they say.

Later in e-mail, one of the musicians, Lisa Meyer, writes: "We've been having a wonderful time with our kids concerts. &hellip I never got to hear this as a kid—and you should see the faces on these kids at our concerts—we get them clapping, screaming, dancing, burping—it's really hilarious."

I take the CD home and listen to it. A lot of my favorite musicians are on it. There is this great music mixed in with the world's corniest jokes, and even a bisl yiddish. I can easily agee with the reviewer in the LA Times who said, "A delight from start to finish!" but I'm not a kid—what if, somehow, kids don't like it?

First I brought the CD to my friends Mark and Debbie's house. They have two kids, the oldest of whom was about 7. I think. Mark and Debbie are great for this sort of thing, because they speak Yiddish (especially Mark) to their kids, so the kids will grow up with Yiddish and English, bilingual. The kids are also fussy about allegedly "educational" Yiddish stuff, so they have immunities built up against truly dull and boring educational stuff. But they really seemed to like the album, especially the older one. He wasn't ready to write a review. We tried to tape a review on Mark's DAT recorder, but that seemed to be making the experience less fun, so I moved on.

Next, I tried Steve and Marcy's daughters. Hannah and Talia, aged 4 and 8. They really got into it. Then they decided it was time to do some gynastics and would we come watch. They really liked that, too. Then they listened to the album again, but we never got a written review. So, I decided to continue in my quest. (Shortly thereafter, and by happy coincidence, one of their grandparents bought the kids their own copy.)

Finally, I consulted Jonah Sampson-Boyarin, a young person I have known since the days when he would type numbers at me to show that he was already computer literate (3 or so, some help from mom). He is now 12. Since I know him better, I can pass on that he has never seemed a particular fan of klezmer, but hasn't rejected it, either. We hadn't actually discussed music much prior to this review. He also really loves basketball, and is a master at chess. He wrote the following review:

Oy Vey! (Young Peoples' Klezmer Workshop) is a really cool CD. It combines education and fun in one and there's some great music, too. The kids tell hilarious "my grandfather" jokes in between stories. In the stories there's Yiddish humor and Klezmer music which combine to make neat little anecdotes. Lots of Yiddish stuff is taught, too (and in cool way!).

I found myself laughing hysterically one minute and then dancing to lively Klezmer the next. It feels like you're almost participating in the whole thing. It just seems really interactive. Oy Vey! was a fun experience for me!

Reviewed by Jonah Sampson-Boyarin, 5/4/98

Look, you can get your kids this fun CD, or you can listen to Barney and the Rugrats all summer. It's up to you. But the kids who reviewed this particular recording were pretty convinced that they'd rather listen to "Oy Vey!". Me too. Oy vey!


Kids seem to disappear with this before I can note songs and such. I'll add that information shortly. I've ordered a personal stockpile of the CD.

to top of page To top of page

the KlezmerShack   Ari's home page 

to About the Jewish-music mailing list
to The Klezmer Shack main page
to Ari Davidow's home page

Thank you for visiting:
Copyright © 1998 Jonah Sampson-Boyarin. All rights reserved.
This page is maintained by Ari Davidow. E-mail Ari Davidow with any comments or suggestions. Last revised 26 October, 2014.