The Ballad of Mauthausen

The Ballad of Mauthausen, worldwide seen as one of the most gorgeous musical pieces ever to be written about the second world war. It is a collaboration between the Greek poet Iakovos Kambanellis who was a survivor of Kamp Mauthausen and Mikis Theodorakis the famous Greek composer, banned for his activism against social injustice. Since it’s been over 75 years of liberation from the Nazi regime it felt like a perfect moment to re-address this musical piece, resulting in a new, haunting and extraordinary composition of The Ballad of Mauthausen. We have been honored and praised by composer Mikis Theodorakis himself for our version of his music and his Label has taken us up and we are now part of his musical-family.


The Project

We have made this project to connect two different worlds that we feel are still so important: The pre- and post-war lives of all those effected by the second world war whether being European or American. Our goal with this project is to raise attention for the events of the past, address injustices for the future and connect and respect our differences in the present. In this project we have chosen to use a beautiful Yiddish translation, instead of the original Greek language used by poet Iakovos Kambabellis, to not only emphasize and give voice to those who were perished in Europa and those who fled Eastern-Europe before, during and after the second world war, but to also show that the Yiddish language is still and has been a very important part of Jewish culture worldwide.


The musicians

I have worked with this group of musicians for over a decade now and their craftmanship, delicacy, playing, love and creativity are the fundament of this project. Together we have created what I believe to be the most intense and beautiful show I have ever had the honor to be part of and produce. I am so proud to introduce these beautiful people and fantastic musicians.

Ruud Breuls is currently the first trumpetist of the WDR Big Band in Cologne, Germany. He is head of faculty for trumpet at the Conservatory in Amsterdam and has an outstanding International career. He is also part of several world renown Orchestras among them the Jazz Orchestra of the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and famous Dutch Metropole orchestra.

Ro Krauss is a highly creative, intuitive and skilled viola player, he finished Rotterdam conservatory cum-laude and has since then worked as an International Performer, he has specialised in Eastern-European music and has lived and worked in Eastern-Europe for an extensive time, He is a fabulous composer and arranger of modern folk music.

Emile Visser, is the first cellist of the famous Metropole orchestra and a fantastic composer, arranger, vocalist and creative musician, his improvising skills on the cello are unworldly and can bring any listener into a different world. He has also received great acknowledgement for his contributions to writing new music in the Netherland.

Peter van Os is possibly the best accordionist we will encounter in our live, he is capable to make the accordion sing so softly you think it’s a voice and one minute later you will find yourself listening to a full organ in a big church. He is highly skilled and conservatory schooled and leads several big bands in the Netherlands, he also works as a composer and arranger for several International orchestras.


For Booking Inquiry USA
Contact Moishe Rosenfeld.
GoldenLand Concerts & Connections
New York
+ 9176890890

Or send an email to Niki Jacobs


Niki Jacobs (1978) has been singing Yiddish since 1999. She is a well-known performer within the Jewish Music scene in Europa and the USA.

Inspired by her family history she developed a deep love and passion for Yiddish Culture and in specific for Yiddish Songs from around 1850 till 1950. During the last two decades she has released eight albums.

For the first two records Nikitov only used traditional Yiddish songs. But the novelty being the arrangements, orchestration, none traditional instrumentation al combined with the sounds of early Gypsy Jazz. With this new and fresh way of looking at tradition the Nikitov era started. And they became touring musicians.

Many a great review followed and they toured all the great ‘Folk Music’ venues known. But they were also guests on National and International Radio and TV shows. Played at The Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Jewish Music Festival in Munich, Vienna, Budapest, New York, Washington and many other theaters.

It is 2009 when Niki Jacobs founder of Nikitov leaves the sounds of Gypsy Jazz and starts writing new Yiddish music. At this time, she also ends working with the band that she has been with for many years. She takes the time to find new musicians who are willing to grow and explore the musical path she has in mind. Her search runs alongside writing a new album of Yiddish songs.

She finds; Peter van Os, a classical accordionist specialized in Klezmer and Balkan music. Ro Krauss, multi-instrumentalist and master on the viola, specialized in Balkan and World sounds. Edwin Wieringa who won several prices being an innovating Jazz bass player. Emile Visser, who is well known for his work as a virtuoso on the cello playing Jazz, World, Classical and Modern music. And last but not least, Ruud Breuls, probably Holland’s best trumpet player who recently joined the prestigious WDR Big Band in Cologne, Germany.

In 2011 a ‘new’ Nikitov was born followed by the release of their CD ‘Anno 1999’. Together with some of the finest musicians in the Dutch World Music and Jazz scene Nikitov thrived again. Receiving the highest ranking possible in Dutch music the World Music industry ranks her album with 5*****.

Although the wait for a new album was a bit longer than anticipated on, April ‘Mameloshn’ was released. Together with a CD release tour Nikitov presented their new sound in Europe and the USA. The response was overwhelming and as a result Nikitov had a grand International Tour may 2017.

In 2018/2019 Niki Jacobs produced, wrote and performed in a big tour in the Netherlands, paying a tribute to American Jewish singer-songwriters: From Cohen tot Winehouse. At the end of this, almost completely sold out tour, she was asked to approach the Ballad of Mauthausen, and perform the songs for a one-time event in a small but beautiful theatre in The Netherlands.

This specific concert was received so well that it led to the wish to create a show build around the Ballad of Mauthausen, so she did, the tour was supposed to start April 2020 in honor of those who perished during the second world war. More than 35 performances where planned in Europe and the United States. Due to the current pandemic this tour was postponed to spring 2021. Thankfully with the time that came available Niki Jacobs decided to take The Ballad of Mauthausen into the recording studio, resulting in her latest full album, released November 2020.

In the next year(s) Niki Jacobs and her ensemble will perform this postponed project in Europe as well as in the USA. This project has received great press and praise, resulting in a TV performance at the most important classical tv show in the Netherlands. (View their appearance on tv)

Tour schedule

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