Poland has become one of the leading countries in the Klezmer music renaissance. Kroke is perhaps the most successful act, but other bands and musicians are also contributing to the movement. Jarek Adamow is involved in various projects. His own band, called Jarek Adamow Projekt, has a new album titled New Polish Klezmer Music.
Adamow shows that in Poland klezmer goes beyond Central and Eastern European Jewish music. His band ventures into jazz improvisation and folk sounds from other parts of ther globe. “Musicians in Poland still use the word klezmer, but in a different context than in the U.S, or western Europe,” says Adamow. “For us a klezmer is a musician who plays many styles, who can play everything, even bossa nova or some ritual dances from Africa, not only Jewish music.”
On the album Memories of the Stone, Adamow appears as part of the band Siegra. The group plays music inspired by the folklore of Central Europe. Originally a quartet, the band now features three musicians: Adamow on clarinet, darbuka, kaval, sopilka and vocals; Bartlomiej Stanczyk on accordion and vocals; and Robert Brzozowski on double bass and vocals. Memories of the Stone contains original pieces as well as traditional Yiddish music and folk songs from Bulgaria, Poland and Bosnia. The album was recorded live in the Wlodawa synagogue.
Klezmer goes Afro in the album East Atlanta Passover Stomp by Fourth Ward Afro-klezmer Ochestra. This band based in Atlanta (Georgia) combines the spirit of klezmer music with African and Afro-Latin beats. Fourth Ward is a historically diverse community located east of downtown Atlanta. This is the neighborhood that inspired the band’s leader, Roger Ruzow (trumpet).The nine piece jazz ensemble performs original compositions and arrangements.
The all-female Klezmer band Shira Etana is one of a very small number of Norwegian klezmer ensembles. Shira Etana was founded by violinist Leoni Abrahamsen Kohn, who is a fourth-generation Norwegian Jew. Their new album is titled Spiel Klezmer.
Urban Tunélls is anoither Norwegian klezmer band. Members include Urban Tunélls is: Morten Michelsen on clarinet; Jovan Pavlovic on accordeon; Tor-Petter Aanes on piano and vocals; Stig Rennestraum on drums; and Ole Morten Vågan on double bass. Their most recent recording is Naked Nigum (Etnisk Musikklubb EM 19). The band plays Eastern European Jewish folk music in unconventional ways, incorporating classical, jazz, gypsy music and folk rock influences.
Singer Hilda Bronstein specializes in Yiddish Song. She was born in London to Polish-Jewish immigrants and Yiddish Theatre was her inspiration. She is currently working with Israeli musician Yair Schleider who accompanies her on piano, accordion and guitar. Hilda and Yair have also formed a Klezmer Jazz group of five instrumentalists which they call Chutzpah! and it is with this group that Hilda has recorded her second CD titled Hilda Bronstein Sings Yiddish Songs.
The recently released Gregory Schechter’s Klezmer Festival Band (EUCD2317) album contains wedding dances, traditional street tunes and freilachs (happy tunes) from the early 20th century and before. Played on clarinet, trumpet, violin, guitar, bass, drums.
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 produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and 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. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.