Schmekel is Brooklyn’s only 100% Transgender, 100% Jewish trans-core band!
Their music offers a Bar-Mitzvah buffet of punk, klezmer, jazz, rock, and polka influences, while their lyrics combine bawdy humor and critical awareness, encouraging audiences to laugh at butt jokes while deconstructing systems of oppression. Schmekel’s bespectacled transsexual singer-songwriters are guitarist Lucian Kahn and keyboardist Ricky Riot. Mohawked bassist Nogga Schwartz yells loudly, and genderqueer drummer Simcha Halpert-Hanson carries two big sticks. “Schmekel” is Yiddish for “little penis.”
Schmekel has played at events and benefits for organizations such as JFREJ (Jews for Racial and Economic Justice), Nehirim (GLBT Jews), FIERCE (queer youth of color), and IDA (queer artist collective/farm), as well as colleges and universities such as Yale, Brandeis, Bard, and the New School. In their New York City home, they have played at venues such as Public Assembly, the Delancey, the Knitting Factory, Southpaw, and the Jewish Community Center. They can be found raising a ruckus with other weirdo punk bands in clubs, bars, and basements across the Eastern seaboard. Schmekel has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, The Advocate, The Jewish Daily Forward, and Original Plumbing. Despite being vaguely famous, they spend most of their free time going to potlucks and dressing like it’s 1995.