After decades of performing music of the British Isles (currently with Bob Vasile of the Pratie Heads and Jack Herrick of the Red Clay Ramblers) I'm researching and performing little-known, clever, engaging Yiddish theater music from before the Holocaust, with translations projected on the wall so everyone gets the jokes (and can sing along). My most recent project is Yiddish Ragtime. Photo: David Blass
"Jane Peppler is a one of a kind personality in the landscape of Yiddish song. Rather than revisit the repertoire already crisscrossed in every direction -- the two or three dozen "standards" -- she has undertaken the extraordinary adventure of an archeologist-paleontologist of the forgotten heritage of Yiddish popular song in the interwar era, particularly in the Yiddish cabaret flourishing in Poland of the time before its being swallowed up forever. RYPT is proud to count her among its its columnists henceforth." // Jane Peppler est une personnalité tout-à-fait à part dans le paysage de la chanson yiddish. Plutôt que parcourir à nouveau le répertoire déjà sillonné en tous sens des deux ou trois douzaines de « standards », elle s'est lancée dans une extraordinaire aventure d'archéologue-paléontologiste du patrimoine perdu de la chanson yiddish populaire d'entre les deux guerres. En particulier du cabaret yiddish florissant dans la Pologne d'alors, avant d'être englouti à jamais. RYPT est fier de la compter désormais parmi ses chroniqueurs. From the station "Radio Yiddish pour tous," for which I prepare a weekly podcast. Click here for some of the archived podcasts.
October 2018, a concert of comic Yiddish songs of social commentary at the Shadowbox in Durham, NC. Because of the translations on the wall, everybody laughs at the jokes.
February 2019 I gave three performances in Chicago at Aitz Hayim for Jewish Living and for the Chicago Workmens Circle and YIVO. They requested Yiddish songs from the turn of the 20th century which highlight the role Yiddishkayt played (or should have played but didn't) in peoples' lives. Most are acerbic and funny. Subtitles on the wall are important for every audience so they understand the song in real time.
I was grand champion (!) at the 2015 Yiddish song writing and performing competition in Mexico City, Der Idisher Idol (that's how they spell Der Yidisher Idol in Mexico). The song I wrote for the contest was Ikh ken shoyn nit mithaltn ("I Can't Keep Up"). Photo: Enlace Judío
In June 2015 I was one of the music panel presenters at the American Jewish Libraries Jubilee conference in Silver Spring, Maryland. At the conference, pianist Roger Lynn Spears and I also gave a concert of Yiddish theater and vaudeville music. Photo: Aaron Taub
In 2016 I gave a concert and conducted a singalong of my "Yiddish Songs from Warsaw" at the Zumerkurs in Warsaw, Poland. I gave a concert and conducted a sing along of the Yiddish Songs of the Gaslight Era (American Yiddish Penny Songs) at the Workmens Circle "Trip to Yiddishland."
At home in Chapel Hill, NC... I'm not teaching individual voice lessons or fiddle lessons now but I am running a Song Circle meetup at my house on a fairly regular basis for people of any skill level who want to sing together - I offer coaching and teach how to make up harmonies during the circle to those who want some tips. I do teach voice and fiddle at the annual summer PickNBow folk music retreat in Durham, NC.
You can find all my Yiddish translations, cds, and songbooks at the Yiddish Emporium.
See, listen to, buy recordings I've made at the Skylark Productions website.
Jane Peppler grew up in Chappaqua, NY and graduated from Yale University with a degree in Russian language and literature. Long ago she made her living as a poster designer, sonnet writer, typesetter, flip-book artist and busker. She directed the a cappella ensemble the Solstice Assembly and produced the annual Solstice Extravaganza at Duke's Page Auditorium, UNC's Playmakers Theater, and elsewhere. She played and sang music of the British Isles with the Pratie Heads starting in 1981 and ending in 2013. She was long-time music director of the cantor corps at Judea Reform Congregation and director of the Triangle Jewish Chorale for fourteen years. She currently performs with world-music ensemble Mappamundi and hopes to find more performance venues for their Cabaret Warsaw project. She studies Yiddish with Professor Sheva Zucker and has translated three novels by Jacob Dineson, numerous articles, and, of course, songs.