A Detroit area native, Daniel Kahn 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.
After graduating and traveling, he settled down in New Orleans to focus on music and theatre. There he has done everything from late night piano lounge lizard gigs to bluegrass jams, leading punk circus parades through the street with his accordion 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). From New Orleans, Daniel settled in New York. Soon to be hired back in Michigan to write the music and perform in Planet Ant's "Lehrstucke" followed by the Ann Arbor Performance Network's production of Threepenny Opera. It was these two projects that earned Daniel a nomination for an OPIE Award for Best Musical Performance by the Oakland Press, a major daily newspaper in southeastern Michigan. While in New Orleans, Daniel also spent time organizing for a union, the Local 100 SEIU and building bicycles. With the mind of a scholar and the passion of a poet, Dan Kahn brings a powerful blend of intelligence and romance to his music. At once the critical, ironic observer as well as the struggling subject trapped in his songs, Dan writes music full of compassion and acute analysis. Although his first love is his accordion, Dan plays many instruments and well. Throughout a set he might move from accordion to guitar to piano to glockenspiel, to drum set to electric guitar, but he'll always come back to accordion. Not surprisingly, given his passion, Dan's music has the flavor of Gypsy Music and a vague hint of Klezmer. Lately, that tendency blossomed after Dan fell into a nest of Klezmer Revival in Berlin, Germany and he has been there for the last year, learning German and playing with a new band, "Daniel Kahn and The Painted Bird." Dan has four albums on Earthwork: "Pegboard Blues," "River Mouth," "Pireus" and "Uprooted Oak." "The Broken Tongue", with The Painted Bird, will soon be released on Chamsa Records in Europe and on Earthwork, stateside.
The Earthwork Music collective believes in the intrinsic and historical power of music to raise both community and self-awareness and serves to facilitate and encourage original music in the state of Michigan and beyond.