Klezmer

If you could go back in time fifty years, virtually no one would have predicted the magnitude of the klezmer revival –working klezmer bands can now be found in New York, but also in places like Brazil, Australia, Germany, or Poland. The Rough Guide To Klezmer features a diverse selection of klezmer revival songs, as well as traditional Yiddish music. 

Performing in both Yiddish and Hebrew, renowned vocalist Chava Alberstein, embodies ‘the story of many new immigrants’ in Israel. ‘Good Memory’, is a touching poem about scenes from childhood. The Klezmer Brass Allstars, led by innovator Frank London, transform intimate Yiddish folk music with an infectious and captivating orchestra reminiscent of the Balkan and Roma brass bands. Roger Davidson is best known for his long career in European classical music, straight-ahead jazz and Latin music. ‘Freedom Dance,’ featured on this album, is a collaboration with Frank London, and a brilliant fusion of klezmer and jazz.

Daniel Kahn is one of just a handful of klezmorim composing new songs in Yiddish, and digging deep into the Yiddish archives. ‘Yosl Ber’ is a classic song by Itzik Manger. The Amsterdam Klezmer Band fuses traditional Yiddish music with doses of Balkan, Eastern European, ska, jazz and even hip-hop.  Steven Greenman is widely regarded as one of the finest practitioners of traditional East European Jewish klezmer violin. The nign featured here is from Greenman’s latest project, Stempenyu's Neshome. The world-renowned supergroup Brave Old World combines the soulfulness of Yiddish tradition, the finesse of classical music and the vitality of jazz. ‘Ver Klapt Du Azoy?’(‘Who’s Knocking There?’) is from Brave Old World’s acclaimed recording, Song Of The Lodz Ghetto. Joel Rubin’s ‘Simkhe Nigunim’ is taken from his latest project, The Nign Of Reb Mendel: Hasidic Songs in Yiddish, and is a magnificent recording of nigunim.

One of the leading figures of the klezmer revolution, Canada’s Josh Dolgin (aka Socalled) brilliantly moulds Yiddish folk songs and traditional Hasidic chants with an old-school breakbeat, exemplified here by ‘Baleboste,’ which features Adrienne Cooper on vocals. The Flying Bulgars, founded by trumpeter David Buchbinder, fuses Yiddish folk with jazz and Latin grooves. The group Klezmania was instrumental in reviving Yiddish culture in Australia. On this album, Klezmania gives Leonard Cohen’s classic ‘Dance Me To The End Of Love’ a klezmer makeover.