Elaine and Susan Say Goodnight to Mishegas

This short, playful documentary explores how new generations of Philadelphians find their own meanings in klezmer, a century-old Eastern European Jewish folk music tradition. In particular, it tells the story of a traditional song performed by trumpeter Susan Hoffman Watts, her mother, the great percussionist Elaine Hoffman Watts, and others. Susan puts new English/Yiddish words to the melody, which was in her grandfather’s repertoire: a treasure trove of musical traditions from Eastern Europe at the turn of the century. Audience members sing along, reflect on what “mishegas” (craziness) means to them, share their hopes for the future, and show how a significant local klezmer tradition is extended and remains relevant.

The film includes the following musicians and contributors: Elaine Watts, Susan Hoffman Watts, Jay Krush, Rachel Lemisch, Jason Rosenblatt, Audrey Welber. Speakers in order of appearance are: Susan Hoffman Watts, Ariel Ben Amos, Casey Cook, Alan Zemel, Susan Schewel, Lori Keammerer, Eileen Siegel, Ernie Watts, Bradley Siegel, Sarah Kodish-Eskind, Douglas Siegel, Kevin Schott, Carmen Valentino, Rakluniel Pelz, Elaine Watts, Hannah Kliger.

Watch the full film on Folkstreams here.

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