East European Extravaganza

East European Extravaganza

The Merlin and Polina Shepherd quintet take us on a journey which both crosses borders and takes us deep into ourselves. They bring together Klezmer, the music of Jewish Eastern Europe, with Demotika and Fasil from Greece and Turkey, as well as tunes from Hebraic, Yiddish and Russian traditions. Combining these elements and their rhythms, reminiscent of the shtetl and the souk, with new repertoire, they present a programme of music old and new which will captivate by its technical brilliance, warmth and exuberance.

Hackney Proms are relaxed, family‐friendly concerts for adults where children are welcome.

The Merlin and Polina Shepherd Quintet


Polina Shepherd, voice

Polina Shepherd (Brighton, UK) is a composer, singer, pianist and the foremost Yiddish choir leader of the Former Soviet Union. She has performed and taught internationally. Her specially developed choral teaching methods are based on instrumental ornamentation and Jewish modes. As a pianist she works with The Sound & Light Cinematic Duo, who play live accompaniment to rare black and white films. She also composes for her own a capella vocal quartet Ashkenazim , with whom Merlin sings baritone. Polina’s songs, music for choirs, vocal groups, and Jewish theatre projects are performed all over the world.

Merlin Shepherd, clarinets

Merlin Shepherd (Brighton, UK) specialises in the Jewish instrumental folk music of Eastern Europe commonly known as Klezmer. He has worked as Music Co-ordinator for KlezKamp, KlezFest London and taught at KlezFest St Petersburg, KlezFest Ukraine and KlezKanada. He is one of the world’s leading players of traditional East European Klezmer Clarinet style, and apart from his own ensembles he has worked and toured throughout Britain and Europe with Budowitz, Frank London’s Klezmer Brass Allstars and Aaron Alexander’s Midrash Mish-Mosh.Also with Boban Marcovic Orkestar, Luigi Cinque and Djivan Gasparian.

Has been Musical Director for The Royal National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, London. He was also Klezmer Advisor for the Royal Shakespeare Company for their 1992 production of Anski’s  The Dybbuk.

Nigel Broderick, accordion

Accordionist and pianist Nigel Broderick has been gigging around the South East for the last 15 years. Originally from the North East he moved to Brighton in 1993. After joining afro latin fusion band Deep Mamboo, and studying Jazz at Chichester College he has developed a unique style, a true fusion of world dance music and jazz. He is currently leading his own cumbia-vallenato band Pollito Boogaloo and fronting gypsyjazz group Qt Quasimodo.

Simon C Russell, bass

Simon studied double bass at the City of Leeds College of Music under Vera Jankovic. He divides his time between live performance, commercial composition (for clients including British Petroleum and American Express) and teaching. He currently plays with a number of groups including Rosie Brown, who has recently supported KT Tunstall in Paris, Ashley Slater’s Big Lounge, The Mountain Firework Company and Pollito Boogaloo.

Guy Schalom, percussion

Schalom has over 20 years’ musical experience. He appears internationally with a host of recording artists and world class dancers performing many varied styles of music. He also leads his own bands including the acclaimed Baladi Blues Ensemble.

1 Comment to East European Extravaganza

  1. SUE BANKS's Gravatar SUE BANKS
    April 4, 2013 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Hello, this is the first time I have heard about “the Hackney Proms” and I live in Stoke Newington. Are you publicising enough? Do you have articles in Hackney Today, for instance.

    Best regards,

    Sue Banks

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


The Hackney Proms

The Hackney Proms brings affordable live music to different venues around Hackney.

Upcoming concerts:

There are currently no upcoming concerts.