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Old 11-08-2010, 02:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default It's Klezmer week!

For me, this is one of those weeks on the calendar that stares back at me, even when I quickly skim through the schedule. Mainly because it is one of genres that I very rarely see discussed on the forums.

Klezmer
is described, on Wikipedia, as..

Klezmer (from Yiddish כּלי־זמיר) is a musical tradition of the Ashkenazic Jews of Eastern Europe. Played by professional musicians called klezmorim, the genre consists largely of dance tunes and instrumental display pieces for weddings and other celebrations. Although the genre has its origins in Eastern Europe, the particular form now known as klezmer developed in the United States in the milieu of Yiddish-speaking Jewish immigrants who arrived between 1880 and 1924.

Compared to most other European folk music styles, very little is known about the history of klezmer music, and much of what is said about it must be seen as conjecture.

Klezmer is easily identifiable by its characteristic expressive melodies, reminiscent of the human voice, complete with laughing and weeping. This is not a coincidence; the style is meant to imitate khazone and paraliturgical singing. A number of dreydlekh (a Yiddish word for musical ornaments), such as krekhts ('sobs') are used to produce this style.

Above all the musical styles which influenced the traditional Klezmer musicians, the Romanian influence seems to be the strongest and most enduring. Traditional Romanian music was heard, adopted and adapted by Klezmer musicians .This fact is reflected in the dance forms found throughout the entire surviving Klezmer music repertoire (e.g., Horas, Doinas, Sirbas and Bulgars etc.)


It will be extremely interesting to see what people have to contribute this week.

Reading Materials
Wiki
RYM
The Klezmer Shack
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Old 11-08-2010, 03:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'll kiss your ass in front of a brass band if people start breaking out the klezmer videos in full force.

Here's one:
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Old 11-08-2010, 03:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Damn... that guy has some serious skills on the...clarinet?
He gets extra points if he's wearing a calculator watch.
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Old 11-08-2010, 03:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Freebase Dali View Post
Damn... that guy has some serious skills on the...clarinet?
He gets extra points if he's wearing a calculator watch.
What are you trying to say?

The ACLU is gonna' hear about this.
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Old 11-08-2010, 03:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I only have a very limited amount of Klezmer music, but I like an album by a hungarian group called Muzsikás.

There aren't many videos on youtube, but I urge you to get their album The Lost Jewish Music of Transylvania, if you're interested.
It might not be their best, but it's the only thing I could get my hands on.
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Old 11-08-2010, 03:20 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Damn I didn't even notice that it said clarinet in the video title...
Either way, that's literally the first time I've ever heard someone bend on a clarinet. On the sax I guess it's common. Then again, I don't hear clarinets often.
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Old 11-10-2010, 11:31 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by mojopinuk View Post
For me, this is one of those weeks on the calendar that stares back at me, even when I quickly skim through the schedule. Mainly because it is one of genres that I very rarely see discussed on the forums.[B]
Heh heh...that's why I suggested this genre, mojo! Shake the ol' place up a bit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freebase Dali View Post
Damn... that guy has some serious skills on the...clarinet?
Good god YES, that's a clarinet! :/

I hope you were joking, Freebase.

I've always enjoyed Klezmer music because of its wild abandon that is great for celebrating events with a frenzy of dancing. I also like the fact that most Klezmer bands, I think, are actually small bands for hire...not major professional bands that you hear on the radio or watch like sheep in a stadium.

Klezmer bands make music, I feel, because they love to keep traditions alive and they enjoy participating in weddings and Jewish coming-of-age festivities. They aren't trying to make music to become famous. They are trying to make Klezmer music because it is part of life. So, the music is very personal and meaningful. I feel Klezmer music isn't something I'd ever listen to by itself alone. It is music I'd listen to while I'm participating in an important life event. I like that about this music.

I've been to several Jewish events where Klezmer bands played, and I actually had a Klezmer band at my own atheist wedding after enjoying dancing to their music at a friend's Bar Mitzvah. (Most Klezmer bands play all sorts of requests, too, that aren't Klezmer music.)

Here is a perfect example of a Klezmer band in action at a wedding, where you can see some traditional Jewish dances that are fun to participate in:



Here is a local Klezmer band, the Java Jews (from Des Moines), playing last year at the Des Moines Art Center:



And if you can't get enough of the Java Jews, here they are again in a park. Aren't they quaint?

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Old 11-10-2010, 01:55 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I only have what Zorn and his affiliates have done. But I do love it. I'll check out those Java Jews, Vege.
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:37 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I only have what Zorn and his affiliates have done. But I do love it. I'll check out those Java Jews, Vege.
Yes, you simply can't go through life without hearing the Java Jews, Conan!

I didn't know whom you meant by Zorn so I looked him up and see you must mean John Zorn. He's a fascinating musician because of his range of interests spanning many genres. I'd forgotten all about his klezmer-inspired band Masada.

Wiki says: "Zorn set himself the task of writing 100 compositions within a year incorporating klezmer styles with his already broad musical palette. Within three years, the number of compositions had grown to 200 and became known as the first Masada book."

Zorn says, "The project for Masada was to create something positive in the Jewish tradition something that maybe takes the idea of Jewish music into the 21st century the way jazz developed from the teens and 1920s into the '40s, the '50s, the '60s and on..."

Here is one of their klezmer-inspired jazzy songs, and, though I generally don't like jazz, this is...actually kind of nice, with a hushed, delicate playful quirkiness due to all that string plucking and occasional bell ringing and tapping, with bursts of energy here and there, such as when the jangly electric guitar plays.

John Zorn - Khebar

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If a chicken was smart enough to be able to speak English and run in a geometric pattern, then I think it should be smart enough to dial 911 (999) before getting the axe, and scream to the operator, "Something must be done! Something must be done!"

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Old 11-11-2010, 10:06 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Yep, John Zorn. I have a big collection of his stuff and most of the Masada albums. He also produced/guest starred on an album by neo-Klezmer artists The Cracow Klezmer Band. It was a much darker and more dissonant take on Klezmer that I very much enjoyed.

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