November 11, 2012

California Kugelin’ in the NYTimes

Being a klezmer in California, sometimes you feel like a quinoa kugel. For such occasions, here are a few recipes. (Disclaimer: we haven’t actually tried these recipes and quinoa kugel doesn’t necessarily sound very good, but who knows? One thing is for certain though – if you’re headed somewhere for the holidays and you’re supposed to bring the kugel, you better give these recipes a test run before imposing them upon an unsuspecting fan of the tradish noodle-and-cheeses version)…

Posted by in Uncategorized and tagged as

October 6, 2012

Live webcast tonight

Here’s a link to the live webcast if you want to remotely watch us rock out at the Freight and Salvage tonight.

Posted by in Uncategorized and tagged as

October 6, 2012

Carl Sandburg – “Midnight Train”

Tonight we are premiering Hungarian Gospel Suite with Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir. Dan composed the piece setting music to lyrics collected by folk historian, Carl Sandburg. Here’s what Mr. had to say about the meaning of Midnight Train:

“Railroad trains hurtling with smoke, fire and thunder across peaceful landscapes at night, rushing remorseless as fate along the iron rail pathways, holding to a fixed timetable and repeating the performance ever midnight or early morning “fo’ day”- out of this the negro worker has made a song that pounds home with the beats and accents of a Limited Express.  The grind of flanges, steel burnishing steel in a tireless syncopation, is here, in melody and overtone. . .  All night long the trains weave: every night they repeat the weave: civilization hangs on the time table.  The “same train” runs, and always “all night long” …   A smokestack with a maroon plume of sparks, a firebox square of crimson, the onrushing monotone of a strong, long drawn locomotive whistle-thus the tempo. . . . In Montevallo at the State Teachers College of Alabama they sing it: and there are variants at the University of Georgia, and at the State Teachers College at Hattiesburg, Mississippi. . . “

Posted by in Uncategorized and tagged as

October 4, 2012

SFSU Hillel today!

Come watch us rock out some klez today at SFSU Hillel. Noon-1pm. Malcolm X Plaza. It will be our first time playing with Lila Sklar on violin!

Posted by in Uncategorized and tagged as

September 27, 2012

Praise Be! Kugelplex on demand…

Terrance Kelly and the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir

We just got word that there’s going to be a live webcast of our October 6th concert at Freight & Salvage.

Check it out:

Remember when you had to actually leave your house to do stuff? HA!

That being said, we suspect there might be something about seeing a rafter-shaking, 50-member gospel choir in person that would be worth making the trip to Berkeley.

Posted by in Uncategorized and tagged as

September 11, 2012

Our new album…

We put the final touches on mixing last night. Release date, concerts, parties soon. Stay tuned…

Posted by in Uncategorized and tagged as

September 1, 2012

Hungarian Gospel Suite preview

We’ve been hard at work on our collaboration with the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir. Here’s the first sneak-preview of a practice track we recorded to help the Choir learn their parts. This is a traditional Hungarian folk tune, arranged by Dan Cantrell and sung here by Dan and Barbara Byers. We can’t wait for everyone to hear it with the full chorus.

Posted by in Uncategorized and tagged as

August 31, 2012

The Practice

Speaking of Joan Baez, when we were getting ready for our concert last December, she came over to my apartment in SF for a practice. We were all shy and trying to be uber-pro so no one took any pictures except for this one lousy cell phone shot I surreptitiously snapped. In this shot, Faisal Zaidan (master hand percussionist) is teaching Joan the Arabic lyrics to Jari Ya Hammouda…


Posted by in Uncategorized and tagged as

August 31, 2012

Kugelplex in the East Bay Express

Esperanza Spalding

The East Bay Express featured a cute pic (yes, that’s a cupcake in Dan’s hand) of Kugelplex in their “The East Bay is a hotbed for jazz and classical music” fall preview article. Regardless that the article was a bit factually challenged (we are not playing with Joan Baez again, and as far as we know, we are not part of the SFJAZZ season), we’re still extremely appreciative they used our picture, especially considering Phillip Glass and Esperanza Spalding are in the same article. I guess winning Grammies and being all famous and stuff doesn’t guarantee you’ll get your picture in the paper. But just in case there’s any hard feelings, Esperanza, if you’re reading this, I hope you can console yourself with being kugelblogged…

Posted by in Uncategorized and tagged as

August 25, 2012

Zach and Rachel Flipbook

Last year, we had one of those rare confluences where someone called us to play a wedding and it just happened to be on the way home from another wedding. And perfect timing too. So, after rocking out in wine country all day, we hightailed it to Marin and stormed into a barn, instruments-a-blazin’, where a bunch of folks were waiting… here’s a photographic barrage of the madness that ensued.

Photographer Theo Rigby let the shutter fly and then put together this flipbook. Since these are still shots, there’s no sound. So, we set it to one of the tunes we might have been playing, which also happens to be a preview clip from our about-to-be-released record…

(for some reason youtube won’t post the right video… weird…  go to if you want to see the flipbook).


Posted by in Uncategorized and tagged as