...singer, speaker and actor,
song-writer with a strangely husky voice. He is well-known at home and
abroad above all for his rendering of Yidish songs. On his more recent
tours he has included chansons by Georg Kreisler, Hermann Leopoldi and
others. He has participated in radio plays, worked as Voice for
advertising and synchronisation and acted in very varying stage plays.
As an ambassador of Yiddish song art he went to many countries as such
as Poland, France, Norway, Belgium, Danmark, Sweden, Croatia, Israel,
USA and more... The songs he has written himself, and songs in Yiddish
and German can be heard on several CDs.
Karsten Troyke, born as Karsten Bertolt Sellhorn on 14 August 1960 in
East-Berlin, GDR, is a singer, actor, and speaker. He is best known as
an interpreter of Yiddish song.
Performing on stage since 1982, he studied singing as well as drama and
speaking during the 80's. His father, a manager for jazz music, had
started performing a "Jewish evening" in the 1960's, presenting Yiddish
literature translated in German, and Yiddish songs, played from records.
Later Troyke joined this performance, replacing the records with himself
singing Yiddish folksongs.
After the Berlin wall fell, he worked in a Berlin theatre doing Musicals
in Yiddish. Troyke participated in radio plays, worked as a voice actor
(dubbing), and recorded several albums with songs in German, and albums
in Yiddish too.
As a singer, his album Yiddish Anders (1992) received the price of
German record critics. Jidische Vergessene Lieder (1997) contained
previously unpublished songs of Sara Bialas Tenenberg, who since 1987
became his mentor for the Yiddish language. Sara, originally from
Czestochowa, Poland, and her sons do speak Yiddish till today with him,
and Troyke became one of the last singers with that accent of the old
During the raise of the "Klezmer-Boom" in Europe and Germany in the
90's, he became very well-known in that scene, allthough he never played
Klezmer. His work contains Yiddish shlagers, theatre songs, Yiddish
swing and jazz, and, especially in the last 10 years, "Tango oyf Yiddish".
Both sides of his parents were communists, the non-Jewish family of his
mother since 1914. His father came from the Jewish-German family Nathan
in Hamburg, assimilated, and they bought "Arian papers" after 1933, that
prevented a part of the family from persecution.
So in the differences between Jewish and non-Jewish reception of Jewish
music in Germany Troyke stood aside going his own way without religion,
without feelings of guilt, but focused on Jewish culture.
In 2006 two documentaries, Yiddish Soul and Concert Yiddish Soul,
featured Troyke, Shura Lipovsky, Myriam Fuks and The KlezRoym.
Troyke gives workshops on interpretation of Yiddish songs and teaches
rare songs from his collection. He was guest professor at the Jewish
Music Institute of SOAS London, at Carleton College Northfield
(Minnesota) and at least for the summer school of Centre Medem, Paris.