Real Music & Real Estate . . .

Yiddishe Cup’s bandleader, Bert Stratton, is Klezmer Guy.

He knows about the band biz and – check this out – the real estate biz, too.

You may not care about the real estate biz. Hey, you may not care about the band biz. (See you.)

This is a blog with a gamy twist. It features tenants with snakes and skunks, and musicians with smoked fish in their pockets.

Stratton has written op-eds for the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post.



I’m a German klezmer musician. Hold your questions. Here are the answers:

I live in Berlin. My aunt once told me — she was drunk — “Why do you play that crap? You’re German!”

I play every year Kristallnacht commemorations, where there is always at least one Jew who comes up to me and says, “Are you Jewish?”  I say no, and he’s says, “You have to be!”  Sometimes I tell the person my grandfather was Romanian,  just to move on.

I also play jazz and funk (Vulfpeck).  I have played even for Orthodox Jews in the States, but they don’t thrill too much to my jazz music.

klezgoyI play reeds — saxophone and clarinet.  I don’t try to be Jewish.  I never wanted to be Jewish or not Jewish. Somebody said, “You’re not really a Jew unless at one point in your life you didn’t want to be a Jew.”   I don’t know about such things.

In the Middle West, in Ohio, an old Jew called me a “poseur.”  I had to look that  up.  He was a klezmer musician.  Maybe he was a poseur.  The middle of the United States is very red, I think.  Only he could play klezmer, I think he means. If people think I’m a bad person for playing music from somewhere else, then they know damn little about music.

I’m a klezmer musician.  Forget about the German part for a second.


Check out Magdalena Waligorska‘s nonfiction book Klezmer’s Afterlife, about the klezmer scene in Berlin and Cracow. Forty-three percent of this post is lifted from the book.

File this under KlezFiction and Fake Profiles.

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1 Mark Schilling { 10.09.14 at 12:25 am }

In a blindfold test, most Japanese couldn’t tell a native shamisen/koto/shakuhachi player from one raised in Frankurt — but minus the blindfold, they’d more likely than not make a “good for a gaijin (foreigner)” comment about the non-J. It’s a funny old world.

2 Dave Rowe { 10.10.14 at 6:07 am }


Don’t know anything about his spiritual beliefs or disbeliefs, but I do know a cat who is one heck of a good pianist – he’s from east suburbs of Cleveland, he may or may not still be on the local scene – last I heard he was living on Coventry making his living with music.

Got to know him as a roommate at Cedar Point summer of 1978. He worked playing at the Red Garter Saloon; I flipped burgers. George (who was called “Quince” due to his affinity for Quincy Jones) one morning showed me how to make french toast. unfortunately I’ve forgotten it.

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