An Original Musical Tribute to the Borscht Belt
Inspired by the rise and fall of the Borscht Belt, clarinetist / composer Sam Sadigursky’s “The Solomon Diaries” reflects the freedom, rebellion, celebration, tradition, independence, loss, hope and renewal of the Jewish community. His original compositions will be performed live in the sanctuary of Temple Israel of New Rochelle, 1000 Pinebrook Boulevard, on Saturday, January 8 at 7:00 pm.
The spirit of the Borscht Belt, as captured in photographer Marisa Scheinfeld’s book, these musical compositions reflect Sadigursky’s personal view of Jewish music, combining folk, world and jazz influences with a classical sense of harmony and a love of improvisation.
Sam became fascinated by the photo book The Borscht Belt by Marisa Scheinfeld, which documents the remains of the Catskills region just before many of the resort sites were demolished. Compelled to set these images to music, “The Solomon Diaries is a musical documentation of a pivotal era in American Jewish history. I don’t have a direct personal connection with those places, but a story of refugees facing exclusion and rebelling by creating their own oasis and eventually assimilating is a story that is so relevant today,” says Sam. “I dedicate this music to the memory of my grandparents, who lived through the Holocaust and spent their lives driven away from their homelands of Eastern Europe.”
Growing up listening to Jewish music (his father is a Klezmer clarinetist/accordionist) coupled with his experience performing Jewish, Arabic and Middle-Eastern inspired music onstage in the 10-time Tony Award-winning musical The Band’s Visit, Sam’s musical aesthetic is peppered with traditional folk flavor. “This is the most personal music I’ve written. My connection to Judaism is shaped by its rich music tradition, which goes much deeper than Klezmer music.”
The Solomon Diaries, an aural reflection on American Jewry’s once-favorite vacationland, celebrates the monumental place the Borscht Belt holds in our cultural history by capturing a sense of loss and change within the Jewish American immigrant story.
Composer and clarinet master Sadigursky and accordionist Natham Koci recently completed a double album of the same title. After the concert they will host an interactive Q&A session. The Solomon Diaries Vol I, II, and III is available for pre-order at Bandcamp.
Clarinetist Sam Sadigursky was featured onstage in the Tony and Grammy Award-winning production of The Band’s Visit, and recently became a member of the Philip Glass Ensemble. He’s joined by multi-instrumentalist Nathan Koci, who most recently was the music director of Daniel Fish’s acclaimed Broadway production of Oklahoma!.
Most of the albums’ songs were written in 2019 and early 2020 and originally performed with a quartet, but The Solomon Diaries was slimmed down to a duo due to COVID- related limitations. Sam is joined by his former colleague, accordionist and multi- instrumentalist Nathan Koci, who prior to the pandemic served as music director and conductor of the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of Oklahoma!. According to Sam, Nathan’s musical background made him the obvious choice for this music. “As difficult as it was having both our performing careers decimated by COVID, it was an enormous gift to have the time and the space to dissect and collaborate on this music in a much deeper way than our busy pre-pandemic lives might have allowed us.”
Tickets for the concert can be purchased online: https://tinyurl.com/3frh8yzp or at the door.