Sulam Bios

Elana Brief (violin) traded her classical violin training for klezmer fiddling in her twenties. Elana loves making music that brings people to their feet in dance and opens their throats in song. Born in Toronto, Elana moved to Vancouver in the mid-1990s to pursue and complete a PhD in Physics. She has enjoyed playing Klezmer, Sephardic and simcha music with local musicians at weddings, bar and bat mitzvah celebrations, music festivals, and the seawall at English Bay. Elana’s work with Sulam offers her a rich musical playground. It complements the actual playgrounds she visits with her young son in her role as stay-at-home mom.


Laura Duhan-Kaplan (vocals, spoken word) grew up in New York City, listening to nusach, Carlebach, and Switched on Bach. As a youth, she studied piano with the eclectic Rose Korein Schiff, a student of Bartok. Laura danced her way through young adulthood, with a special love for classical ballet. Currently, she studies voice performance with Mark Fenster at Autumn Studios. A life-long writer, she has recently written slam poetry inspired by Biblical literature and liturgy, using the fewest words possible to create a mosaic of metaphors. Her day job is Professor and Director of Inter-Religious Studies at the Vancouver School of Theology, and she is the former Rabbi of Or Shalom Synagogue.


Martin Gotfrit (guitar/mandolin/pedal steel/fiddle/chirango) is a composer and performer with a life-long affinity for strings, improvisation and music technology.  He has written and performed for film, theatre, dance and the concert stage. He recently retired from his day job as Professor of Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University.



Charles Kaplan (guitar, oud, percussion, vocals) recalls hiding a radio under his bed so he could listen to Elvis Presley and other 50s pop music after his parents put him to bed. Growing up to work professionally as a child psychologist, his eclectic musical tastes ultimately settled on Jewish World Music, especially Sephardic, Middle Eastern and Klezmer styles infused with gypsy and flamenco. He continues to explore world music as a student of Itamar Erez. In addition to playing with Sulam, Charles enjoys finding novel musical settings for Hebrew liturgy, and participating in musical prayer services.


David Kauffman (clarinet) returned to playing clarinet after a long hiatus of exploring guitar and studio audio engineering. His musical influences range from prog rock to jazz. David loves exploring the sound of the clarinet in varied modes of music from the Middle East, India, and the Balkans. He especially loves when Sulam locks into the Klezmer vibe and raises an audience to its feet.



Joe Markovitch (bass, percussion, vocals), has made playing music a big part of his life. Joe, a self-taught vocalist and bass player from a small Canadian town, has performed in bars, boats, festivals and clubs in Canada, the USA and across both oceans. Joe is a founding member of two bands, Sulam and The Usual Suspects. Once a famous Vancouver bakery owner, Joe now earns his keep as a professional entertainer and business advisor.



Wendy Rubin (flute, melodica, keyboard, vocals) loves wide-ranging musical exploration. Formerly an appellate lawyer, she is engaged in diverse musical projects including playing Jewish world music with Sulam; composing songs; practicing the yoga of sound; and singing in Vancouver’s “Rhythm ’n Roots” choir and a collaborative improvisational ensemble. She takes great pleasure in connecting with others through music.