Can one artist be both unpredictable and a surefire bet? If that artist is Lisa Gutkin, the answer is an emphatic yes!
As the longtime violinist for the Klezmatics, the Grammy-winning outfit that has taken Jewish klezmer music to previously unimaginable places, Gutkin has consistently proven a masterful musician and a boundlessly creative force. For more than a decade, her astounding technique and unfettered, vibrant emotionalism have resided at the core of the band’s recordings and live performances.
But fans who have only witnessed Gutkin within the context of the Klezmatics have experienced just a fragment of what this multi-faceted artist is capable of producing.
Gutkin is a musical wanderer who has played Argentinean tango and Italian Renaissance music, in rock and jazz bands, and with a variety of symphonies. She was a founding member of the downtown Celtic group Whirligig, and a long standing member of the Fast Folk house band. She has composed for film and television (including Sex and the City), and has teamed with such diverse artists as Natalie Merchant, Peter Knight of Steeleye Span, Jane Siberry, Elizabeth Swados, Richard Shindell, and the Irish artists Tommy Sands, John Whelan and Cathie Ryan. Her songcraft reveals yet another dimension—no less an icon than Pete Seeger called her Grammy-winning composition “Gonna Get Through This World” a “piece of genius.”
In her solo performances, she might swing seamlessly from traditional Irish fiddle tunes to blues, Balkan or Appalachian sounds. Or she might put the violin down altogether, pick up a tenor guitar and sing one of her own universally resonant songs. Wherever she goes, the audience happily follows.
To contact Lisa, please send an email to Lisa@Klezmatics.com.
“This is a great video. It conveys a deep understanding of klezmer, and does a good job teaching things that are very hard to teach, like improvised variation, tactful slides, etc. Lisa’s personality comes through clearly and pleasantly, her playing is beautiful and learnable at the same time, the stylistic pointers are helpful for beginner and advanced student alike, and the tunes sit very nicely on the fiddle and cover a range of klezmer feels. I am going to go back and learn some of these tunes with her slides and krechtzen — as I soak it up, I think I’ll be adding some depth to my playing.”