Alicia Jo Rabins
Alicia's first violin lesson at age 3 was followed by years of classical study, and then a few stints in punk-rock bands. Her first old-time fiddle tunes were learned from a shipmate on board a schooner at sea, and after returning to New York City she apprenticed herself to a Virginian fiddler whom she met busking in the subways. Before long, Alicia was playing on the streets herself. One such day in Baltimore, an old man handed her a stack of sheet music, saying, "You have the soul of a klezmer fiddler." Thus began her initiation into klezmer music, a hybrid of Jewish and gypsy musical traditions from Eastern Europe, which she continued by studying with legendary klezmer fiddler Alicia Svigals. Another felicitous busking encounter led to the founding of cutting-edge folk group The Mammals, with Ruth Ungar, Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, and Mike Merenda. After a year with the Mammals, including appearances with Pete Seeger and Jay Ungar, Alicia joined forces with Michael Daves and Peter Siegel to form "new old-time" trio Underbelly, which the Berkshire Eagle called "a supergroup of New England talent." In winter 2004, Alicia moved back to New York to join the groundbreaking folk-punk group Golem, which reinterprets traditional Gypsy and klezmer tunes with a rock edge. Of Golem, the Washington Post wrote: "Golem produces the kind of music you'd expect if the shtetl were filled with punks instead of peasants"; the Forward calls Golem "one of the hottest young groups on the vibrant Yiddish/Klezmer scene." Alicia's 2003 solo release, "Sugar Shack," garnered critical praise as "a sheer delight...one of the most delicious, wonderful to listen to recordings of southern and old-timey American fiddle traditions I have heard in many years" (klezmershack.com). In April 2006, Golem signed a record deal with JDub (Matisyahu, Balkan Beat Box) and recorded an album with producer Emery Dobyns (Patti Smith, Antony and the Johnsons). Meanwhile, Alicia continues to play and sing her way around the world, including shows with her new project, Girls in Trouble.