Klezmer band Finjan celebrates three decades of music making
Posted by Andrea Ratuski, SCENE Producer | Monday June 24, 2013
Myron Schultz, Shayla Fink, Victor Schultz, Kinzey Posen, Daniel Koulack (Finjan)
When Finjan got together 30 years ago no one knew what klezmer music was. As Canada's first band in the genre, they paved the way for a klezmer and Yiddish music revival.
The band produced five award-winning discs and toured Canada and the U.S. countless times, performing at folk, jazz and Jewish festivals and events. The band took a hiatus in 2005 but came together again for their 30th anniversary.
SCENE asked a few band members to share a favourite memory from their long career, highlights which include playing Expo in Vancouver, meeting Garrison Keillor and performing on A Prairie Home Companion, performing on the Lonesome Pine Specials on PBS and appearing in the movie The Outside Chance of Maximillian Glick.
As you can imagine, the musicians found it pretty hard to narrow down their choices. When pressed, three members shared these memories:
Kinzey Posen, bass and voice: In our early days, we played a street festival on Selkirk Avenue. It was the heart of the old North end where so many Jewish people at one time lived. While we were playing, I noticed an older man off to the side who was listening intently. He looked sad and I thought he might have been crying.
After our show, he approached the stage and told me with tears in his eyes, he had not heard music like this since before the Second World War. He was a holocaust survivor and the music we played brought him back to his youth and the pain of what he lost.
Myron Schultz, clarinet:
The end of our first concert. Al Simmons was the MC, and wanted to bring us back for an encore, but we had no other material...NONE. Al told the audience that we were 'leaving them wanting more'. Right!
Shayla Fink, accordion and voice: Ariel Posen, our first born son [with dad Kinzey Posen], was three months old when we went to Saskatoon to perform for a festival. Finjan was required to play four times a night. They had wonderful volunteer babas who watched Ariel. As soon as the set was over I would nurse Ariel and by the time I finished nursing it was time for the next set. And on and on it went every night for one week. Great memories and the family that plays together, stays together.
Finjan performs as part of the Mameloshen Festival of Yiddish Entertainment and Culture on June 25 at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.