Alicia Jo Rabins has been around the block, musically speaking. She began as a toddler, with Suzuki violin lessons, then went on to play in punk rock bands, klezmer ensembles, and, in 2003, released a solo album of original and traditional Appalachian and shtetl-influenced songs on fiddle. She also performs with the gypsy-klezmer-rock band Golem.
Now, she’s formed a new band, Girls in Trouble, for a project by the same name. It’s a song cycle based on stories of women in the Bible. Rabins wrote the songs, and on a new album she sings, and plays electric and acoustic guitar, violin, and viola. She sees these works as a form of midrash, and bases them on extensive readings of commentary ranging from the popular to the obscure.
Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry speaks with Rabins in her Brooklyn apartment about betrayal, exile in the desert, loneliness, and seduction, as experienced by the likes of Bat Yiftach (Jephthah’s daughter), Miriam, and Tamar.