Millie and the Mentshn T-Shirt

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“Based up in the northwest corner of the United States, Bellingham, Washington, Millie and the Mentshn offer a surprisingly classical Jewish sound. At times, with Millie’s trained voice, the band sounds more like a “chamber simkhe” band than their more common and more raucous counterparts elsewhere. Bandleader Millie Johnson is out to entertain, but also to tell the story of her family’s immigration experience, as well as stories of most of us whose ancestors came from Eastern Europe a century ago. In “Another DiMentshn” (2008), the band opens with a song written by a Brazilian Jewish immigrant a century ago (“Tico Tico””), gives the Israeli pioneer song more often known as “Arava, Arava” a cowboy beat, and otherwise ranges wide from klezmer to Ladino to Yiddish. In a second CD from the same year, “Mentshn It” (2008) the band performs a wide array of klezmer and yiddish folk/theatre tunes, but also recounts the experience in di goldene medine with “Brother can you spare a dime.”. Sound samples, and more available on the band’s website.” — Ari Davidow, Klezmer Shack