Center For Arts & Equity

Daniel Kahn

A Detroit area native, Daniel attended the University of Michigan where he studied acting, directing, playwriting and poetry, winning the University’s most prestigious writing award, the Hopwood, three times and publishing Daylight Savings, a collection of his poems, with Ornithology Press.

In 2001, he settled down from traveling in New Orleans to focus on music and theatre. There he did everything from late night piano lounge lizard gigs to bluegrass jams, leading punk circus parades to directing, producing, acting and composing music for a production of Brecht’s Man Is Man at the ARK Theatre (One of “the best productions of the Year” -Times-Picayune). He even did a little union organizing in the deep south. In 2003, he produced the acclaimed New Orleans elegy album River Mouth with Mike West.

After leaving New Orleans he lived, played music, recorded, acted, directed plays and composed theatre music in Detroit, New York, Ann Arbor and northern Michigan (where he his a part of the Earthwork Music Collective), winning awards and nominations for his original theatre scores (including an OPIE for 2004's "The Dybbuk" at the Jewish Ensemble Theater). His experimental folk rock Detroit CD "Uprooted Oak" was released in 2005.

Daniel moved to Berlin in summer of that year. He joined a local dance band as well as Berlin’s most notorious emigrantski raggamuffin klezmerton band Rotfront and has, within a very short space of time, become an integral part of the city’s folk and klezmer scene, playing in some 7 different groups and musical projects.

In fall of 2005, Kahn formed “The Painted Bird." Named for the infamous book by Jerzy Kosinski, The Painted Bird concocts a mixture of Klezmer, radical Yiddish song, political cabaret and punk folk. The band features a rotating roster of some of Berlin and New Yorks best young Klezmer and Balkan players including East German Johannes Paul Gräßer on fiddle, US expat and new music composer Michael Tuttle on upright bass, NY downtown players Brandon Seabrook, Dan Blacksberg & Michael Winograd, Boston's Eric Rosenthal (Naftule's Dream), Holland's rising yiddish folk diva Niki Jacobs (Nikitov), and members of Berlin's "Grinstein's Mishpoche" and "Shikker Vi Lot”.. In summer of 2006, the band completed it's debut album The Broken Tongue. While it is the 5th CD of original music Kahn has produced, this album marks a shift from indie folk to klezmer-based music. It includes a number of songs in Yiddish, and one – a Bertolt Brecht piece – in German. The stories, however, are as poetically dark and tragically humorous as ever.

He continues to tour Europe and the US intermittently, still taking on theatre and music projects as they come. In October he performed Tom Waits' songs for a Milwaukee theatre production of "Woyzeck." As Buechner said, a man's soul is like the abyss.

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