Klezmer Renaissance

In recent years, Klezmer music has experienced a revival in Germany, Poland, Israel and some American cities. Three recordings show a reliable picture of the current Klezmer scene. Klezmer is Jewish music of European origin (Central and Eastern Europe.

For a great sample of what’s out there, The Rough Guide to Klezmer Revival  (RGNET1203CD, 2008) includes some of the best  known artists in the new Klezmer category. The album features German Goldenshteyn, popular Israeli singer Chava Alberstein in a collaboration with with the top U.S. Klezmer band, The Klezmatics, Joel Rubin Ensemble, Brave Old World, Di Naye Kapelye, Giora Feidman, Sid Beckerman & Howie Leess, The Zmiros Project, Konsonans Retro, Kharkov Klezmer Band, Steven Greenman, Yale Strom with Hot Pstromi & Klassj, Veretski Pass, Budowitz, Klezmer Conservatory Band, Andy Statman, the prolific Frank London with his Klezmer Brass All-Stars feat Kol Isha and Merlin Shepherd Kapelye.

London-based She’koyokh Klezmer Ensemble has a CD titled Sandanski’s Chicken (ARC Music, 2008). The lively band includes British, American and Zambian musicians, who specialize in Eastern European music. For Sandanski’s Chicken, the band focuses on the folk music from the Balkans, including Greece and Bulgaria. Most of the material is Klezmer music, although there are also Gypsy (also known as Roma) pieces.

 

One of the artists featured in the Rough Guide compilation has a full album available, released in 2007. Yale Strom & Hot Pstromi released Borsht with Bread, Brothers – Klezmer (ARC Music). Violinist and composer Yale Strom traveled throughout the former Eastern Bloc countries in 1981, searching for unknown, unpublished Klezmer and Yiddish tunes.  A year later, back in the United States, he formed Hot Pastrami. The original members of the group, Fred Benedetti and Jeff Pekarek, still play with Yale today.

Because Yale Strom travels between San Diego and New York City every month, Hot Pstromi includes members on the East coast (Peter Stan, David Licht, Sprocket and Norbert Stachel) and one more West coast member, Tripp Sprague. In addition to Yale, singer Elizabeth Schwartz performs with both ensembles. Unlike other Klezmer acts who recreate the music of the past, Storm’s band combines Klezmer with Gypsy, jazz, classical, Balkan and Sephardic influences.

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Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. He was also the executive producer of the first Latino feature film made in North Carolina titled “Los sueños de Angélica.”.

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