Mark and I figure that anyone who wants to hear Irish music now is at the Irish Fest. So today for your listening pleasure, we bring you klezmer!
And if you should be asking ‘What is klezmer?’, klezmer is a style of folk music that draws upon the traditions of Ashkenazi Jews (diaspora Jews who established communities along the Rhine in western Germany and northern France during the Middle Ages after facing persecution in the Roman Empire) and Eastern European folk traditions. The term “klezmer” combines the Hebrew words for a vessel (“kley”) and melody (“zemer”).
Traditional Klezmer bands may be made up of a number of different instruments, including but not limited to clarinet, violin, accordion, trumpet, tuba, bass drum, cymbals, and hammered dulcimer (although I’ve never heard a klezmer band without a clarinet). Modern klezmer finds inspirations from other popular music styles and sometimes features more modern instruments. Klezmer music is mostly sung in the Yiddish language, which itself dates back to the 9th century. The essential elements of the klezmer tradition include dance tunes, ritual melodies, and virtuosic improvisations played for listening.
Two other terms to know:
Hora – a dance in which the performers form a ring or the dance tune. The modern-day hora dates back to 1924 when a hora was performed for the Jews that were settling land in Palestine. It became associated with joy and has been performed at special occasions like weddings, both in Israel and America, ever since.
Freylekhs – A lively circle or line dance, the most common in East European Jewish wedding dance repertoire, in 4/4 rhythm, and the music for the dance. Freilach is a Yiddish expression that means “happy” or “cheerful”.
You’ll be hearing the Klezmatics; Brave Old World; Itzhak Perlman/Brave Old World; Klezmer Conservatory Band, Margot Leverett & the Klezmer Mountain Boys; Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band – David Buchbinder, Marilyn Lerner, Dave Wall, Andrew Downing, Daniel Barns, Lori Freedman; London Klezmer Quartet; Socalled featuring Fred Wesley, Subtitle, and David Krakauer; Socalled featuring Irving Fields; German Goldenshteyn; David Krakauer featuring Socalled, Klezmer Madness!; Marcelo Moguilevsky & Clear Lerner; and the Joel Rubin Ensemble.
As always, the program will be available for two weeks on the archives; the playlist will be available on Spinatron later today; and you can call in to 816.931.KKFI (5534) and talk to us or just correct our pronunciation (which should not be as bad as our Gaelic).