Winter Family is a weird wave music and documentary theater duo
founded by Ruth Rosenthal & Xavier Klaine.
They met in Jaffa, Israel in 2004 and live together between Paris, Maxéville and Tel-Aviv since then.
Ruth Rosenthal is born in Haïfa and grew up in Jerusalem. She is graduated from the School of Visual Theatre of Jerusalem. She worked with several projects and independant israeli theater and dance companies as a performer or light designer, was light operator in the Israeli Opera of Tel-Aviv and was cooking in several restaurants of Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv.
Xavier Klaine grew up in Maxéville in Lotharingia. He obtained a first prize of piano and chamber music in The Conservatoire Régional of Nancy and a MA of political geography studies (Sorbonne University Paris IV). He was the bass player of Alive the Roupettes and Blockheads, worked in several bars in Paris and was teaching piano and chamber music.
The music of Winter Family is described as 'doom swing', 'funeral pop' or 'weird wave'. Its dense, saturated, emotional, simple and obsessional. Ruth chants her texts, plays drums, machines and bells. Xavier plays pipe organ, piano, philicorda, harmonium, sitar & celesta. He captures also field recordings.
They published 'Winter Family', their first album, in 2007 on Sub Rosa, Brussels.
Since then they play live in clubs, theaters, churches, galleries and museums around the world and collaborate with numerous choreographers, filmmakers, musicians and artists composing soundtracks for performing arts, cinema, a train travel, art pieces and some advertisements.
As a continuation to their radio piece 'Jerusalem Syndrom' commissioned by France Culture Radio in 2009, they created the documentary theater performance 'Jerusalem Plomb Durci - An Hallucinatory Trip In An Emotional Dictatorship', awarded the Paris Impatience Festival Prize in 2011, and successfully touring around the world since then (Europe, Israel, Japan & Canada).
In 2011 they published their 2nd album 'Red Sugar' on Sub Rosa, Alt.vinyl (Newcastle), Ici d’Ailleurs (Nancy) and received the 'Villa Medicis-Outdoor' scholarship in New-York City from the French Minister of Cultural Affairs.
Winter Family lived in the neighborhoods of south Brooklyn for two years where they played concerts, moved & clean apartments, lost their gear because of Sandy Storm, bought a drum machine & moog, recorded new songs, several soundtracks and published the tape 'How Does Time' on Psychic Mule (NYC).
In NYC, Winter Family also collected sounds, images and texts to create ‘No World / FPLL’, their second theatre performance, produced by Centquatre Paris (in which they are associated artists) , Vidy Lausanne Theater and the Avignon Festival.
In 2014 they moved to South Tel-Aviv and published 'No World' a CD/book comissioned by Dis/Voir (Paris) and created 'Back To Sodom' for the 'Nuit Blanche' in the Jewish History & Art Museum of Paris.
Since 2016 their daughter Saralei performs most of the concerts with Winter Family. She plays the flute, machines & choirs.
Their 3rd album recorded in NYC and Tel Aviv 'South From Here' was out on February 2017 on Ici d'Ailleurs & Alt.vinyl.
Winter Family moved in Paris in january 2017, touring music and theater in France and Europe, they created 'H2 Hebron' produced by Vooruit Gent, Vidy Lausanne, MC93 Bobigny, Nanterre Amandiers and more. It was premiered in Oct 2018 and is still touring.
Actually, they are touring 'Patriarchy - Living in eternal lock down', a new documentary theater show about their own family (Premiered September 2022, MC 93 Bobigny-Paris) and they record 'On Beautiful Days' their 4th album.
"...As moving as I find this record, it's not an easy sell. It's such a weighty thing, exerting a constant pressure that is only occasionally relieved. But as harsh and despairing as Red Sugar can be, there's also a yearning for warmth and humanity, a desire to be lifted into the light. The key to it all is in how completely Rosenthal & Klaine inhabit this music: We never wonder for a second if they are really feeling it, and that makes it easier for us to feel."
Mark Richardson, Pitchfork (noted 7.9)
"...Winter Family's songs touch on topics like war and religious zealotry....Brittle pianos or velvety harmonium create twinkles and warmth—every track feels like it could crumble, presumably because the world can." Christopher Weingarten, The Village Voice.
"...The 'mass' completes in an apotheosis, in a shout of the pipe organ and with a cry "us, the alive!" We exit the church converted into Winter Family...” Marie Lechner, Liberation.
"Winter Family doesn’t explore the non-sense of the world but rather the sense of the no world..." Aïnhoa Jean-Calmettes, Mouvement magazine