Brivele is a Seattle-based ensemble who braid together Yiddish song, anti-fascist and labor balladry, folk-punk, and contemporary rabble-rousing in stirring vocal harmony.
In Yiddish, Brivele (בריוועלע) means "little letter." Like letters, songs travel — through time and over borders. They pick up dirt, aromas, fingerprints. They are sent to lovers, they foment revolution, they get stolen and censored, burned and salvaged, sewn into our clothes.
We journey into the archives of Yiddish anti-fascist musical tradition, bringing together anti-authoritarian satire, mournful remembrances, and the disguised political commentary in folk ditties and theater classics. These songs are a correspondence: our ancestors' voices speak clearly and uncompromisingly, sometimes sweetly, to our present moment.
We are discontented, sometimes silly, rarely slick, always cheeky. We draw from a long tradition of Diaspora-proud struggle. We sing in Yiddish because sometimes Yiddish says it best, and because we are the great-grandchildren of Yiddish, so it tastes familiar and unfamiliar at once. We sing it like the mixed-up, impure Yids we are and strive to be.
I remember exactly where I was when I first heard “Hunting Season” off of Brivele’s latest harmonically complex, wildly imaginative, future-building album, Cradle Songs, Grave Songs. Taking poet Aurora Levins Morales’s task of “imagine winning” to heart, this latest collection from Brivele sings the past out of the archive and into the streets to fight, to struggle, to laugh, to mourn . . . (Read More)
—Ozzy Irving Gold-Shapiro, Yiddish raconteur, archival tinkerer, and 1/6 of Burikes, May 2021
. . . Brivele's gift as a band is their ability to go between the dark and the light, the serious and the witty, all with a deep sense of tradition, and abandon of tradition. In that way, they are the quintessential Klezmer Band (even if they would never describe themselves as such) . . . (Read More)
—Michael Winograd, Brooklyn, May 2021