Of all the words which have migrated from Yiddish to English, none have the colorful backstory of a fictional
woman whose name has come to mean “gossip” but who first found fame in 1913 as a woman who stood up
for herself and gave as good as she got.
Join musicologist and performer Henry Sapoznik on a whirlwind tour of the “Yente Telebende” to reveal her
brilliant prolific creator. B. Kovne. His one thousand Yente Telebende feuilletons in the pages of the Forward,
numerous Yiddish theater stage show hits, and nearly 100 commercial 78 rpm records issued over nearly half a
century bring the presence and power of Yente Telebende back to life. Result? Yente, was no yente.
Henry Sapoznik is an award-winning producer, musicologist and performer, and writer in the fields of
traditional and popular Yiddish and American music and culture.
Sapoznik, a native Yiddish speaker and child of Holocaust survivors, grew up in an Orthodox home. In his teens,
Sapoznik was introduced to traditional American music and took up the banjo. He studied with North Carolina
masters Fred Cockerham and Tommy Jarrell during numerous trips to North Carolina with the late Ray Alden.
In 1972, Sapoznik co-founded the New York-area group The Delaware Water Gap String Band and confirmed
his reputation as a noted player in both southern playing styles and classic ragtime banjo.
Sapoznik was the founding director of the sound archives of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New
York from 1982 to 1995. While there, Sapoznik founded and directed the internationally acclaimed KlezKamp:
The Yiddish Folk Arts Program beginning in 1985 for the next 30 years.
A five-time Grammy-nominated producer/performer, Sapoznik has been on over fifty records including having
reissued over 30 anthologies of Yiddish, jazz, old-time, cantorial, ragtime, blues, Italian, swing, blackface
minstrelsy and bluegrass recordings.
Sapoznik won a 2002 Peabody award for co-producing the 10-part NPR series “The Yiddish Radio Project.”
drawn from his collection of over 10,000 items now part of the American Folklife Center of the Library of
Congress. Sapoznik published two books: The Compleat Klezmer (1982) became the standard tune book of the klezmer revival while his Klezmer! Jewish Music From Old World to Our World won the 2000 ASCAP Deems Taylor
Award for Excellence in Music History.
Henry Sapoznik’s recent projects are his CD, Banjew (Jalopy Records, 2017), and the 3-CD reissue
anthology Protobilly: The Minstrel and Tin Pan Alley DNA of Country Music 1892-2017 co-produced with Dick
Spottswood and David Giovanonni (JSP 2019) which has been submitted for 2021 Grammy consideration.
Henry Sapoznik has just co-produced and annotated a 2 CD anthology for Smithsonian-Folkways record of
American folk music from California recorded in the 1960s and is currently working on a new
book: Rediscovering Yiddish New York: A Guide to Jewish Landmarks in The City (Excelsior Press)