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Yid Vicious: Bio

Yid Vicious has been engaging and delighting audiences throughout the Midwest since 1995. The group has released four CDs and has received numerous Madison Area Music Awards for its unique blend of traditional and contemporary klezmer. In 2009, Yid Vicious became the first performing arts ensemble in Wisconsin to receive a USArtists International grant, to perform at Argentina’s KlezFiesta, an international klezmer festival spanning three cities and including bands from ten countries. In 2006, Yid Vicious toured Chiba Prefecture, Japan as part of the
Wisconsin-Chiba Sister State Goodwill Delegation. Yid Vicious is committed to keeping traditional klezmer music and dance alive, and collaborates frequently with internationally renowned klezmer dance instructor Steve Weintraub. The group has participated in the New York-based “KlezKamp: The Yiddish Folk Arts Program”, and was a featured performer at the “KlezKamp Roadshow” directed by Yiddish scholar Henry Sapoznik at the University of Wisconsin in April 2009. Yid Vicious has presented concerts, workshops, and clinics at performing arts centers, cultural festivals, universities, and K-12 schools in Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, and Michigan, and has performed to statewide audiences on Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Television.

Daithi Wolfe - Fiddle

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David was a Suzuki violin brat way back in the bad old days starting in Ann Arbor in 1968. After visiting Ireland in 1983 he changed his name to Daithi (pronounced Dahee) which is Irish for David and changed his violin into a fiddle. He has played Celtic music in Madison for about 19 years, first with The Drones, then Far From Home, next The Authorities, and now with The Currach (every Friday at the Brocach from 5:30-7pm). Daithi actually hates music, but he figures being in a band makes him look cool. When not playing music, Daithi plays at being an early childhood education advocate, marathon runner and all-around rabble rouser. His wife Sandy is a trapeze artist and carpenter. His older daughter Mairead is a stilt-walking fiddler. And younger daughter Fiona is an expert tree climber and violinist. Daithi's favorite Yid Vicious tune is "Sadegurer Husidl". Trivia tidbit: Matt and Daithi are the only original members of the band still hanging on...

Greg Smith - Clarinets

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A Madison native, Greg has engaged in an ever-widening variety of styles throughout his musical career as a clarinetist and saxophonist.  He has been the bass clarinetist in the Madison Symphony Orchestra since the 1970's, performs with the Capitol City Concert Band and plays hot Dixieland with the Dixie Sizzlers. As a member of the Reptile Palace Orchestra, he delves into the mysteries of Balkan lounge funk (whatever that is). Greg is also a charter member of Madison’s Salsa, Merengue and Bachata specialists, Grupo Candela and performs regularly with Caravan Gypsy Swing Ensemble and a couple of the area's Western Swing bands, the North Country Drifters and Safety Last! Other recent projects include the The Velet Smash, covering Sinatra to Morphine with some African and Argentinian tunes thrown in for good measure, and taking on the role of tupaneer in the traditional Balkan music group Intemperance Collective.  Greg joined Yid Vicious in 2002 to salve an inner need to play music in minor keys.

Kia Karlen - Horn & Accordion

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Born and raised in Madison, WI, Kia took over the Yid Vicious horn duties in 2002, and later tamed a feral accordion that Geoff captured in the wild. Currently holding the horn/accordion seat with Reptile Palace Orchestra, she has also performed with the Con Vivo Chamber Ensemble, Four Seasons Theatre, Capitol City Band and Madison Savoyards, and occasionally plays bass with local rock outfits including Yammer and the Theramones. With husband (& YV drummer) Geoff Brady, Kia has scored experimental music for silent film screenings, staged sock puppet tributes to the great philosophers, and organized armies of artists for temporary public art projects at Ride the Drive and Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Kia works at the Madison Children’s Museum, where she often figures out ways to do this sort of stuff for a steady salary.

Matt Appleby - Guitar

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Matt was a founding member of Yid Vicious way back during the first Clinton administration. After heading to the twin cities for a time in the late 90’s, he finally found his way back to us. When he's not creeping around the music library looking for things to catalog, Matt can be seen with the band Shakey. He is also the personal manager of Alexei A. Schmirnov, bass player for Optometri. Matt’s return has literally doubled the ethnomusicologist content of the band.

David Spies - Tuba

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Dave has been tearing up the Wisconsin music scene ever since returning to Madison in 2003 after a 12-year tour featuring the rocky coasts of New Haven and the flooded plains of Denton, Texas. When not appearing with Yid Vicious, Dave holds down the fifth chair in the Madison Jazz Orchestra, plays with the Racine Symphony Orchestra, and solos and waves a stick with the Madison Brass Band. Rumor has it that he also has been heard with the Willson Tuba Quartet and has performed with the Milwaukee Symphony and the Iowa Brass Quintet. When he's not playing, he's sleeping, teaching for Marian University and Carroll University, and maintaining a close working relationship with library materials.

Geoff Brady - Percussion

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A native of Pontiac, MI, Brady plays drums (and occasionally theremin) with Yid Vicious and other Madison bands like Major Vistas, Girls Are Go, The Tiny Band, Brennan Connors' Stray PassageYammer, Optometri, and the Theramones. He also plays solo occasionally, writes a little, and teaches sometimes. Brady is hard at work on his forthcoming one-man show, “Me, Me, Look at ME: A One-Man Show”, and is very happy to be married to YV’s hornist, the unflappable Kia.

And the Rest!

Members of the Yid Vicious extended family make frequent appearances with the band in the Madison area. Our team roster includes vocalist Anna Purnell, trumpeter emeritus Bob Jacobson, and dance leaders Kim Caisse, Steve Weintraub, and Michael Kuharski. Please inquire if you are interested in booking a mega-Vicious band with all the trimmings for your party or event.