Imagine traveling to a different world. A place where from the streets you could hear the sounds of singing and dancing Hasidic Jews mingling with those of traveling Gypsy caravans. Where Romanian musicians leading a wedding procession through cobblestone streets blend with Russian folk musicians playing their songs with all the intensity of modern punk rock. Not just a bygone fantasy or bizarre internet video mashup, this is what the Fleet Street Klezmer Band create every time they play. A place where spirits ride on waves of wine and song, and fellowship speaks all languages.
Fleet Street Klezmer Band…
is an acoustic band comprised of the following:
Shlomo Kostenko -Voice, Bass, Guitar, Oud
Victoria Kostenko – Violin
Matthew Vorhies – Accordion
Cecilia Rinn – Bellydance, Percussion
Blending the classic, Eastern European sound of violin, accordion, string bass, Yiddish and Gypsy folk singing, along with acoustic guitar and a modern musical sensibility, Fleet Street is a musical voice unlike any other. Together with mesmerizing belly-dancing, both modern and in the Arabian/Sephardic tradition, the result is an event that is as beautiful to watch as it is to listen to.
Fleet Street Klezmer Band has performed at numerous events, including Boise’s Art in the Park, the Hyde Park Street Fair, and of course Congregation Ahavath Beth Israel’s Deli Days and the Idaho Jewish Festival. Starting in 2013 they have become regular performers at the Northwest Folklife Festival in Seattle, and in 2015 have been invited to headline that festival’s Jewish Music Showcase. They have also been invited to perform at the National Oldtime Fiddlers Contest and Festival in Weiser, Idaho – one of the most renowned events of American folk music.
Over the years, Fleet Street Klezmer Band has performed with, and accompanied, some great klezmer artists including Jack (Yankl) Falk of Di Naye Kapelye, as well as the internationally reknowned Yale Strom, and his wife Elizabeth Schwartz. They have also shared the stage with a number of other acts including A Hawk and a Hacksaw, Vagabond Opera, Nu Klezmer Army, The Debaucherauntes, Diego’s Umbrella, Igor & the Red Elvises, and Insomniac Folklore as well as local acts Storie Grubb & the Holy Wars, and Hillfolk Noir.
More info on each of the band members continues below…
Shlomo Kostenko – voice, guitar, oud, bass
Shlomo is a classically trained double-bassist who has since turned to less-conventional fare. In 1998, he encountered klezmer while re-exploring his Jewish heritage. The world has not been the same since. Since relocating to Boise, he has turned his knowledge and training towards the pursuit of Jewish and Roma folk music, constantly trying to capture and express the emotional intensity and depth of these folk styles.
Victoria Kostenko – violin, voice
Victoria Kostenko has been playing the violin for over twenty years. Classically trained in the Russian school of violin playing, she has studied under David Johnson and Geoffery Trabichoff. She too was bit by the Klezmer bug in ’98, and continues to demonstrate a unique command of the style.
In 2012, Victoria was honored with a scholarship to attend that year’s KlezKanada festival, where she studied with Deborah Strauss, Daniel Kahn, Michael Alpert, and Steve Weintraub.
Matthew Vorhies – accordion
Fleet Street found Matthew on a busking trip. Not wanting the competition, but also not having the heart to knock him off, they instead recruited him. Since then, his mad skills and easygoing demeanor have gotten him through everything the band has thrown at him. That, and the fact that squeeze-boxes make good shields.
Since joining Fleet Street, Matthew has become very much in demand as an accordion player, joining such acts as Storie Grubb & the Holy Wars, and recently forming his own duo: A Mighty Band of Microbes.
Cecilia Rinn – dance, percussion
Cecilia loves to share that joy that dance brings to her life. Cecilia is sought after performer & instructor, and both dances and teaches locally and nationally. Cecilia works with the best bellydance talent in Idaho under the title “Full Tilt Bellydance”, and is soon to present her student/ mentored group the “Baladis” Along with bellydancing, Cecilia is an award-winning, filmmaker & graphic artist with her production company Full Tilt Boogie L.L.C. “BELLY: Sensual, Scarred, Sacred”, Cecilia’s feature documentary about belly dancers, is currently touring the country and beyond. Cecilia is also a professional seamstress and costume designer, creating under the name of Star Belly Creations. Cecilia favorite thing is to dance to live music. She is honored and grateful to be performing to and along side the amazing talented and spirited musicians of the Fleet Street Klezmer Band.
Also, this is as good of a place as any for some credits. Pictures from the RAWards, used on our Photo page and throughout the site, appear courtesy of Synchrynze Photography/Ronnie Soldano. Character drawings of the band members are the handiwork of Danielle Demaray.