The members of Knish at the International Day festivities at Arcadia University, Philadelphia. From right to left: Scott, Helen, Louis, Gerry, Steve, and Gil.

KNISH is one of Swarthmore's premier klezmer bands. Klezmer bands are the mariachis of European Jewish music, playing at weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, and the occasional study break. The current members of KNISH are Louis Friedler (clarinet), Gil Rose (trumpet), Helen Plotkin (cello), Scott Gilbert (piano), Gerry Cohen (drums), and Steve Smith (vocals and trombone). Klezmer music demands you dance, not just listen. So we warn you: do not to open these files unless you are prepared to spend the entire day humming and dancing to klezmer music. For your own safety and that of your co-workers, do not open these files if you are planning to use heavy equipment.


  In 2003, Gil Stott, the legendary philosopher-dean-musician of Swarthmore College, organized a concert series for the promotion of local chamber ensembles. Although not exactly what most people envision when they think of chamber groups, we added our name to the list. In what has become a landmark concert, Knish played to an SRO crowd at Swarthmore's Bond Hall, on April 27, 2003. Josh Bluestein taped and transferred the files here, so that anyone with Real Player can see and hear Knish. (Seeing Scott might not be as easy as hearing him--you can see the top of his head bobbing behind the piano).

Spraz ikh Mir (RealMedia)

Russian Sher (RealMedia)

Schmaltz waltz (RealMedia)

Khasenne Tanz (RealMedia)

Zhankoye (RealMedia)

Raisins and Almonds (RealMedia)

Gil's Doyna/Nacht Gan Eden (avi)

Liturgical music from the Bond Hall Concert

Eli Ato (avi)

Sholom Alechem (RealMedia)


  Few but the most diehard Knish fans (potatoheads) will recall that there was once a time when Knish had a violinist. Indeed, the "fourth knish" was physician Harry Chen. However, when a roadie's tape of the April, 2001 ("Second Fireside") concert began circulating, several reviewers noted that the bowing technique of the violist differed greatly from Harry's style. Despite many guesses as to whom the violist was (Zuckerman, Ashkenazi, Barton, and Gil Stott have each had their champions), the violinist was Henry Plotkin, father of the group's cellist and a well-known New England fiddler. Some of the cuts on this tape have been salvaged, and you can hear them as mp3 files here. Enjoy!

1. Schmaltz waltz (instrumental)

2. Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen/Russian Sher (as by the Galicianer Quartet)
For more on the unlikely history of this song, click here

3. Raisins and almonds (instrumental)

4. Nacht in Gan Eden

Knish is headquartered in the Beth Israel Synagogue of Media, Pennsylvania. (see 2 Kings, 17: 6)





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