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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

K is for Klezmer

In August, for Itzhak Perlman's birthday, I listened to a live album of KLEZMER music that he performed on. Classical violin virtuoso Perlman gives klezmer a certain cache that the music did not have heretofore.

Here he joins four klezmer groups "for a joyous get-together with unforgettable Klezmer melodies."

But what IS klezmer?

From this source:
Klezmer music originated in the 'shtetl' (villages) and the ghettos of Eastern Europe, where itinerant Jewish troubadours, known as 'klezmorim', performed at joyful events ('simkhes'), particularly weddings...It was inspired with secular melodies, popular dances, 'khazones' (khazanut, Jewish liturgy) as well as with the 'nigunim', the simple and often wordless melodies intended by the 'Hasidim' (orthodox Jews) for approaching God in a kind of ecstatic communion. In (mutual) contact with Slavonic, Greek, Ottoman (Turkish), Arabic, Gypsy and -later- American jazz musicians, the 'klezmorim' acquired, through numerous tempo changes, irregular rhythms, dissonance and a touch of improvisation, the ability to generate a very diversified music, easily recognizable and widely appreciated all around the world.

The Wikipedia definition of klezmer, and another example.


This article notes the decline of klezmer in the 1950s and 1960s. But the music was "revived on US records in the late 1970s. In San Francisco, the Klezmorim released the earliest klezmer revival album I’ve seen — 'East Side Wedding' (1977 on the national Arhoolie label). It’s an eclectic mix of styles from the nearly frantic 'Trello Hasaposerviko (Crazy Dance)' to the melancholy 'Doina'."

I'm fascinated by this because I OWN 'East Side Wedding'! I must have bought it at a folk festival in the late 1970s or early 1980s, maybe at the Old Songs Festival that takes place every June in the Albany, NY area.

It's happy music, yet holds a certain wistfulness. I think that's why I am attracted to it.

A whole bunch more klezmer music.
***
Very seldom do I get to blog about comic books for my work blog. But some legal issues involving the late Jack KIRBY, the artist who created or co-created dozens of famous comic book characters, including Captain America, gave me that rare opportunity. You can read it here.

ROG

19 comments:

anthonynorth said...

I've never heard of this before, but I'm a lover of so many styles. I guess I can appreciate any type of music done well.

RuneE said...

Now you have taught me something I didn't know a thing about - and knowledge is never wasted.

Reader Wil said...

Thank you for this post! I am terribly fond of Klezmer. It's so inspiring and sounds so wonderful!
Thanks for your visit. A polder is a small piece of land surrounded by a dyke and kept dry by windmills or nowadays by electric mills. They pump the water out of the polder into a canal and from the canal it's pumped into the river. Thanks to these pumps we have dry feet and can live in the polder. In The Netherlands we have 12 provinces. But not every provence has polders. Only those which lie below sea level.

Irene said...

Totally new and interesting. Thanks Roger.

Paula Scott said...

Fantastic! I'd like to attend a klezmorium!

Janie said...

This is a new word for me. I listened to a piece on u-tube. Interesting upbeat music with a hint of Fiddler on the Roof. I like it!

Joy said...

I like klezner music especially when it is played at pace. It seems to have had a bit of a revival in recent times. Great K post.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Sounds like music I'd enjoy. I really like music from Eastern Europe and the Near East. so I suspect Klezmer would be for me. How sad that I've never heard of it before!

Rose said...

Once again, I've learned something new--I've never heard of Klezmer music before! It's always nice to hear that something with such deep cultural roots is being revived.

I was just "rambling" through a couple of your previous posts. I can't leave a comment on everything, but happened to see that you were a Jeopardy winner--how exciting! That's always been a dream of mine--just to be a contestant, that is:) And before I read your answer to your question about TV shows, I immediately thought of The Closer, which is definitely my favorite of anything on TV right now. It's not so much the mystery, as the interaction of the characters. When you think about it, all the great TV shows depended on a great ensemble of characters more than anything, like "Cheers."

Shirl said...

Very nice piece! You've taught me something too!

Tumblewords: said...

It's so much fun to learn here! Thanks!

Vicki ~ FL said...

I learned something new today, thanks to you Roger. BTW, I enjoyed your visit....

Powell River Books said...

Thanks for visiting my post about The King. Thanks for the musical information. It was all new to me too. - Margy

Grace and Bradley said...

Thanks for an interesting post and information. I was hopping to listen to music on your blog, I suppose there are copyright issues.

Roger Owen Green said...

Hi- actually there are LINKS throughout the piece. I've been less likely to imbed YouTube videos because they take up so much room when people load the page, if you have a slow server.

Jama said...

Interesing....learn something new today!

jay said...

That's fun music! I saw Itzhak Perlman perform in London some years back. Quite stunning. He's one of my favourite violinists.

Buenos Aires Photoblog said...

Great subject for a K-post! Kletzmer music is absolutely enjoyable. There is a group of young musicians playing that sound at the Feria de San Telmo in Buenos Aires every Sunday.

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