If you haven’t heard about Kroke yet, this is one of the finest instrumental ensembles in the European music scene. The award-winning Polish trio includes virtuoso instrumentalists who deliver an exquisite mix of modern Polish music, klezmer, contemporary jazz and chamber classical music.
The trio is highly popular in Europe, from Poland and Germany to Spain, performing their passionate and evocative music to world music, jazz and classical music fans alike.
This two-CD compilation includes superb material released
from 1996 to 2015, released on various labels: Germany’s Oriente Musik and two
Polish major label divisions: Warner Music Poland and Universal Music Polska.
Kroke’s sound revolves around the masterful performances of composer and multi-instrumentalist Tomasz Kukurba, accordion player Jerzy Bawoł and bassist Tomasz Lato. Kukurba’s violin and viola dance around the highly expressive accordion and bass, and sometime soars into fantastic, mesmerizing explorations.
Throughout the years, Kroke’s sound evolved and Tomasz Kukurba added more instruments to the mix. One track includes a captivating electric viola performance.
The lineup includes Tomasz Kukurba on violin, viola,
electric viola, flutes, hand and mouth percussion, vocals, whistles, piano; Tomasz
Lato on acoustic bass; and Jerzy Bawoł on accordion.
Guests include Dariusz Grela on vocals, Tomasz Grochot on percussion, Anna Maria Jopek on vocals, and Sławek Berny on udu.
The CD booklet includes detailed information about each track in Polish and English.
The Best of Kroke is an outstanding introduction to a formidable trio that has been making deeply satisfying, genre-defying instrumental music for many years.
Bratislava-based Preßburger Klezmer Band was formed in 1995. Founding members included saxophonist Daniel Sloboda; viola player Tomáš Kaiser; clarinetist and saxophonist Erik Rothenstein; and violinist Daniel Alexander. The lineup has changed throughout the years.
Although the group is inspired by klezmer music, Preßburger Klezmer Band also incorporates Slovak, Gypsy, jazz, rock, reggae and Latin music.
The Baladen (Ballads) album contains nearly forgotten songs about love, life and God from the Slovak Jewish Heritage. Vocals are in Yiddish, Hebrew, Ladino & Bosnian.
Mames Babegenush was founded in Copenhagen in 2004. It is a six-piece ensemble that combines klezmer music, Scandinavian roots and Eastern European traditions.
Lineup: Andreas Møllerhøj on double bass; Lukas Rande on saxophones; Morten Ærø on drums; Nicolai Kornerup on accordion; Bo Rande on flügelhorn; and Emil Goldschmidt on clarinet.
Klezmer Killed The Radiostar (Calibrated Music, 2009) My Heart Aches When The Angels Dance (Gateway Music, 2011) Full Moons & Pay Days [Remixes and Originals] (Gateway Music, 2012) Mames Babegenush (Math Records, 2014) Mames Babegenush with Strings (Galileo Records, 2017)
Clarinet virtuoso and composer Michael Winograd explores the
roots and evolution of Yiddish music on Kosher Style. Winograd grew up during
the Yiddish music revival in the United States and has become one of its
Kosher Style celebrates the music scene and atmosphere of Brooklyn, New York, which is home to most of the essential Yiddish musicians in the United States. The album’s songs as well as the cover featuring Coney Island make references to Brooklyn.
Winograd mixes lively Jewish traditional music with American jazz and Balkan music influences including a powerful brass and rhythm section. Throughout the album, Winograd delivers remarkable, passionate clarinet melodies that masterfully intertwine with the brass instruments and accordion.
The musicians on Kosher Style include Michael Winograd on
clarinet; Ben Holmes on trumpet; Daniel Blacksberg on trombone; Ken Maltz on
tenor saxophone and bass clarinet; Zoe Christiansen on clarinet; Sanne Möricke on accordion; Carmen Staaf on
piano; Jordan Sand on upright bass; and David Licht on drums and percussion.
Born in Cracow in 1969, Jerzy Bawol started playing the accordion in elementary school at the age of nine and gave his first concert at the age of twelve. During his time at the High School and the Music Academy of Cracow, where he studied classical accordion, he was touring Poland, Germany and France with solo concerts.
After finishing the Academy in 1992, he worked moreover as a studio musician and with the Cracow opera, focusing on contemporary music.
His work with Kroke is definitely influenced by his grandfather, who was an acclaimed Klezmer musician.
Mames Babegenush is an award-winning klezmer music band from Denmark. On their new album With Strings, Mames Babegenush goes beyond klezmer, exploring the traditional musics of northern and eastern Europe.
As the album title indicates, the brass and woodwind-fueled Mames Babegenush collaborates with a string ensemble featuring violins and cellos.
The lineup include Emil Goldschmidt on clarinet; Lukas Bjørn Rande on saxophone; Bo Rande on flügelhorn; Nicolai Kornerup on accordeon; Andreas Møllerhøj on bass; and Morten Ærø on drums. The Livestrings ensemble includes Andrea Gyarfas Brahe on violin; Lisa Marie Vogel on violin; Sidsel Most on bratsch; Samira Dayyani on cello; and Live Johansson on cello.
With Strings is a vibrant album that takes the listener on a wild ride throughout klerzmer music and beyond.
Malmö-based vocalist and composer Louisa Lyne has focused most of her career on Yiddish songs and their history. Her album A Farblondzhete Blondinke (A Blonde Astray) features traditional and original songs and instrumental compositions. She performs with her regular band, Di Yiddishe Kapelye. The musical arrangements are closer to chamber classical music than klezmer folk music featuring strings, grand piano and accordion.
Louisa Lyne has a fascinating vocal style that goes with the exquisite fiddles, guitar and piano instrumentation.
The lineup on A Farblondzhete Blondinke includes Louisa Lyne on vocals; Edin Bahtijaragic on accordion, cajón, vibraphone, glockenspiel; Robin Lyne on guitar and backing vocals; Irina Binger on violin; Martin Eriksson on double bass; Anders Thorén on grand piano; Anna Thorstensson on cello and backing vocals.
Munich singer Andrea Pancur has developed a fascinating new genre called Alpen Klezmer, an unconventional mix of Bavarian and Yiddish traditions. You’ll hear classic Bavarian brass, accordion and dances along with Klezmer melodies and instrumentation, tango, Middle Eastern rhythms and even flamenco palmas (handclap percussion).
Andrea Pancur researched in archives for ancient melodies and added her own lyrics. The CD booklet includes German-language lyrics and English-language translations.
The lineup includes Andrea Pancur on vocals along with a long list of talented musicians: Christian Dawid on clarinet and saxophone; Ilya Schneyveys on accordion, guitar, vocals ; Alex Hass on bass and vocals; Alan Bern on accordion and piano; Lorin Sklamberg on vocals; Johann Bengen on percussion and vocals; Michel Watzinger on dulcimer; Evi Heigl on violin; Stofferl Werl on trumpet; Hansjorg Gehring on trombone; Anja Gunther on clarinet; Szilvia Csaranko on grand piano; Hermann Haertel jun on violin; and Guy Schalom on drums, payk, washboard and palmas.
Trumpeter and composer Frank London is a member of the Klezmatics, Hasidic New Wave, has performed with John Zorn, LL Cool J, Mel Torme, Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy, LaMonte Young, They Might Be Giants, David Byrne, Jane Siberry, Ben Folds 5, Mark Ribot, Maurice El Medioni and Gal Costa, and is featured on over 100 CDs.
His own recordings include Invocations (cantorial music); Frank London’s Klezmer Brass All Stars, Di Shikere Kapelye (the Inebriated Orchestra) and Brotherhood of Brass;Nigunim and The Zmiros Project (Jewish mystical songs, with Klezmatics vocalist Lorin Sklamberg); The Debt (film and theater music); The Shekhina Big Band; the soundtrack to The Shvitz; the soundtrack to Perl Gluck’s Divan and four releases with the Hasidic New Wave.
His projects include the folk-opera A Night in the Old Marketplace (based on Y.L. Peretz’s Bay nakht oyfn altn mark), Davenenn for Pilobolus and the Klezmatics; Great Small Works’ The Memoirs of Gluckel of Hameln and Min Tanaka’s Romance.
He composed music for John Sayles’ The Brother from Another Planet andMen with Guns; Yvonne Rainer’s Murder and Murder; the Czech-American Marionette Theater’s Golem; and Tamar Rogoff’s Ivye Project, Live in Crackow, Poland, 2001.
He was music director for David Byrne and Robert Wilson’s The Knee Plays, collaborated with Palestinian violinist Simon Shaheen, taught Jewish music in Canada, Crimea and the Catskills, and produced CDs for Gypsy legendEsma Redzepova, and Algerian pianistMaurice El Medioni.
He has been featured on HBO’s Sex and the City, at the North Sea Jazz Festival and the Lincoln Center Summer Festival, and was a co-founder of Les Miserables Brass Band and the Klezmer Conservatory Band.
One could say both: Poland is lucky to be loved by Nigel Kennedy and Nigel Kennedy is lucky to be loved by Poland. Polish audiences are particularly fond of the artist, and his fans are not limited to regular jazz listeners, a lot of them being also recipients of widely understood popular music and even World Music. Let us recall his joint album with Kroke “East Meets East” from 2003, which Poland simply fell for in seconds.
Kennedy possesses the Slavic spirit and understands Slavic musical aesthetics, further even – he understands, or is somehow able to aesthetically sense, the tangled combination of cultural inspirations at work in Eastern and Central Europe. The album “East Meets East” is remembered chiefly as a journey into the cultural tradition of Polish Jews, especially those from pre-war generations. This is not a record about the Israelites, nor is it a record of American Jews or Jews in general – it is the spirit of Polish Jewish culture before the war, brought back by means of being sung out.
But the Polish have yet another reason for their appreciation of Nigel Kennedy – his fabulous and passionate rendition of the csárdás. He yet again proves himself to be nothing short of comfortable in European musical tradition, rooted in folk and though originally Hungarian, popularized by the Gypsies and presently an integral part of national identity in many European countries.
Kennedy has tied his life to Poland and Cracow for good a while back. This world-famous artist lives in the very center of the “City of the Kings of Poland”, often performs at the Cracow Philharmonic, and in 2002 assumed the artistic direction of the Polish Chamber Orchestra. Kennedy can then be said to have become another strong point on the long list of incentives for those leaning towards the idea of choosing Poland as their next destination.
On July 12, 2017, we will host Nigel Kennedy at the Jagiellonian University’s Auditorium Maximum during the celebrations of the 22nd Summer Jazz Festival in Cracow. This concert will undoubtedly be an opportunity to admire the talent, charisma and virtuosity of the artist, all of which have been admired both in the field of contemporary interpretations of classical music and in the mainstream of jazz worldwide. Let us recall that the album released in 1989 containing a rendition of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” has sold over two million copies and is by far the best-selling classical music record in the world.
The magnificent success of classical music in Kennedy’s artistic life contrasts with his inspirations drawn from – among others – the works of Jimmy Hendrix and The Doors, the influence of which has often been referred to by the artist himself. Kennedy doesn’t seem to notice these contrasts as clearly as an average recipient of music – he is a firm believer in the notion common among musicians that music should not be categorized and such action does not serve any compelling purpose in world of music and its creators.
About his work and passion, he says: “I love getting up in the morning and playing. It’s almost like meditation. Through music I get to communicate with other musicians and the audience. This contact is the real reason for playing. … Bringing down the barriers, connecting with people on one common level, the level of music, is my reward. Music occurs within the framework of time, it’s here and now. What do we have here on the wall? A mirror? Wallpaper? Someone once made these and now we can look at them. Music is the only art that happens at a given time and then disappears. That’s the way it is during concerts. It’s fantastic. That is what I love about music.”
As has been announced by the organizers, the concert program will mostly include works dedicated to Kennedy’s most important mentors, namely Yehudi Menuhin, Stephane Grappelli and Isaac Stern, immortalized on the artist’s latest album “My World”. The Concert in the Auditorium Maximum will be enriched by the results of the musician’s last project, an interpretation of Krzysztof Komeda’s works, the spirit of which Nigel Kennedy has managed to capture brilliantly, reaffirming his strong emotional bond with Poland. The author of “Polish Spirit” comments on his attitude to what Polishness is in one of his interviews: “The Polish spirit is … this rare extraordinary ability to express emotions, your contagious sentimentality you infect the rest of the world with.”
The Summer Jazz Festival in Piwnica pod Baranami was first organized in 1996 alongside the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the venue. Year after year, the Festival expanded both its repertoire and its scope by moving beyond the scene of Piwnica pod Baranami to concerts at the Philharmonic, the Cracow Opera, Radio Kraków, the Manggha Center, ICE Kraków, Kijów Centrum and every jazz club in Cracow, rounding up to almost 100 concerts every year.
Since the year 2000, Cracow has seen many sizable outdoor concerts and events, such as the New Orleans Sunday and the Jazz Night. In recent years, both the leading Polish jazz stars and many foreign stars (including Pat Metheny, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Bobby McFerrin, Jean Luc Ponty, Branford Marsalis, Joe Lovano, Maria Schneider, Richard Bona, Al Jarreau) have graced these events with their presence and artistry.