Klezmer Festival!

I was lucky enough to have a front row seat and plenty of light, so out came the sketchbook. How much happier could I be than to listen to amazing music while drawing the amazing musicians making said music?

Last night we heard the trio Veretski Pass play their Klezmer Shul, a beautiful piece of music that combines Jewish sacred and secular music of Eastern Europe (and maybe some “co-territorial” music from other cultures).

In a talk with the audience after, the fiddler Cookie Segelstien (oh, alright, she’s a violinist, if you want to reference her work in the classical world. As if being an amazing Klezmer fiddler isn’t enough) told us that there used to be, a long time ago, special shuls (houses of worship) dedicated to specific tradesmen. There were shuls for builders, and tailors, and, they think, there were shuls for musicians. Cookie said, “we asked the question, in that light, what kind of music would Klezmer musicians jam on?”

The music was terrific. It was haunting, and joyful, and all the things you’d expect from three amazingly gifted musicians mining the very roots of their musical souls. The Klezmer Shul is what happens when classically trained musicans cross over into folk music and create something new and wonderful.

I loved what I heard last night, but it was more academically inclined (not that this is a bad thing, mind you). It’s just that the kind of music in the clip below makes my heart dance. This video clip is pure Klezmer.

I’m hoping we’ll have some of this music in the house soon. My own fiddler has been away these last two days, attending Klezmer workshops at the KlezCalifornia yiddish Culture Festival at Congregation Etz Chayim in Palo Alto. I would have loved to join in the fun, but I just can’t take on another hobby right now. But I’m hoping he brings home some tunes.

4 thoughts on “Klezmer Festival!

    1. Thanks Daniel! We’re learning all sorts of Klezmer in this house. Last night we learned the Freygish (Ahava raba) scale. And used up some ITunes gift certs buying music.

  1. Margaret
    I enjoyed the videos, but was fascinated by the instruments. I wish they had some information on them. They looked like they could have come from somewhere outside of Vienna after the war. I haven’t had a lot of experience, but I never saw anyone wear their Cello. Good luck on your new music experience.
    Your country aunt

    1. They look like they’re from another century because they are. The bass (not a cello!) played Stu Brotman is a small bass played in the Tatra Mountains of Poland. The accordion played by Joshua Horowitz was built in 1889. The hammered dulcimer or tsimbl dates from the 1600’s. Believe it or not, Tia, there are more instruments than the fiddle, strange as that may seem!

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