Bands and Performing Groups: Klezmer, Jewish, and Related or Derivative musics
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Klezmer Bands, "B"
Taking its name from the oldest synagogue in the province of Quebec (Canada), the Bagg Street Klezmer Band was formed in 1992. Playing mostly for weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Anniversaries and other simchas, the Baggers (as local alternative print media calls us) play many outdoor summer music festivals and tours as far as Laurentians (where all the Jews have summer cottages), upper state Vermont, New York and the dredded (non-Montrealer) drive down the 401 to Toronto. Our first CD, Go Meshuggah!, was released in 1995. Since then, we have provided the soundtrack for a short film, "Dinner at Bubbie's," appeared in a documentary, "Montreal Jewish Memories," and appeared in 3 episodes of a ten part (10 hour) made for TV movie "Ces Enfants D'Ailleur," where we played outside a produce store and for a wedding reception (typical klezmorim). CD sales: www.cdbaby.com/cd/bagstreetklezmer. Web: www.sites.google.com/site/baggstreetklezmer. (Richard Goldman)
Baith Jaffe Klezmer Orchestra, Basel, is one of the most respected Bands playing Klezmer Music in Switzerland. Connecting the tradition with creativity, serious performers of the old style as well as writers of compositions according to the poems of Jitzchak Katzenelson. They carry on the tradition of the russian side of klezmer music since part of the Family of the Schönhaus Brothers came from Mins, Bjielorussia. Tel: 0033 389 68 15 38. Web: www.baithjaffe.ch. (Sascha Schönhaus)
Bajka, based in Laval, France, is a band from Eastern Europe, based in france, which plays klezmer and gypsy music. Composed of saxophone, trumpet, accordion, tuba and drums, the band sound like a mini brass band and can play accoustic or amplified on stage. Web: www.bajka.fr. (Nicolas Marchand)
Balkano (rhymes with Volcano) is a Chicago-based sextet that melds the soul of traditional Klezmer, the energy of Bulgarian wedding music and the melodies of Turkish Gypsy music into an exciting original mix. The group was founded by bandleader and clarinetist Bryan Pardo as a vehicle to meld the influences of artists like Naftule Brandwein, the Klezmatics, Balkan Beat Box, Selim Sessler, Yuri Yunakov, and John Zorn into a new synthesis that mixes the Old World and the New. Web: balkano.org. (Bryan Pardo)
Balkansi, Sydney, NSW, Australia. We are a klezmer quartet (clarinet, viola, guitar, double bass). Web: soundcloud.com/clearlyceltic/balkansi-klezmer-rehearsal-on. (Tamara Auer)Barock Orchestra, Long Island/Teaneck, NY/NJ, can assist you in all your musical needs. We play everything from Klezmer to Chassidic to Jazz to Sephardic and everything in between. We also feature a capella singers as well as a marching Klezmer Band. Tel: 917-971-2411. Web: www.BaRockOrchestra.com. (Avraham Solomon)
I lead a jazz band out of New Haven, CT called Bassology, we play at a local club called Charlie B's on Chapel Street in New haven and some of what we do is Klezmer or jewish music related (we do a killer swing version of "Eliyahu HaNavi"). Unfortunately our gig is on Fridays, but I guess that's why I call myself reform . . . Web: www.chevan.addr.com. (David Chevan)
The Yossi Bayles Orchestra is located in Miami, Florida. We perform mostly Jewish Music, and/or if needed American and Latin music. Web: www.ybo.us. (Yossi Bayles)
Belf's Romanian Orchestra, aka "Rumynski Orkestr Belfa" aka "Rumanian Orchestra under the Direction of Kapellmeister V. Belf". About all we know about this is that they now appear to have been Ukrainian, and recorded some wonderfully florid klezmer tunes that continue to be prized. The 30-some sides also comprise the largest block of early recorded European Klezmer. Jeffrey Wollock summarized what little we know of the band in his lovely "European Recordings of Jewish Instrumental Folk Music, 1911-1914," (ARSC Journal V28, N1, Spring 1997). But where can you get the recordings? Anthologies of early recordings usually include one or two. (The discography on where to find what is available via the Freedman Jewish Music Archive at UPenn.) For years, Kurt Bjorling has made a wide variety of early klezmer recordings available on cassette, accessible via his website at www.muziker.org/resrec/. (Further details in Kurt's letter about Belf to the Jewish-Music mailing list a couple of years ago.)
Le Duo Beltène est composée sur la base d'un duo "clarinettes-cornemuse-wysthle et accordéon" auquel se joint un cymbalum et parfois aussi un récitant; nous sommes situé à Lyon (France). Nous jouons un répertoire composé de folklores éclatés: klezmer, de l'est, celte, du sud (tangos..) et aussi des commpositions personnelles. Web: perso.wanadoo.fr/beltene/ (French) monsite.wanadoo.fr/belten (English). (Marie-Hélène Vuillermet)
The Bengt-Klezmers Orkester is a Klezmer/Balkan band residing in Gothenburg, Sweden. We are professionally educated musicicians and play klezmer music with inspiration from Naftule Brandwein and the revival bands. But also romanian and bulgarian music! I would say that our style is both traditional and unconventional. Cl,sx,acc,bass,drums (and some vocals now and then). Tel: +46 31 3388779. Web: home.bip.net/andreas.edlund/. (Andreas Edlund)
Benny and The Vildachayas -- Mickey Katz and His Kosher Jammers on Acid.....It has to be heard to be believed....Mordecai Spektor, American Jewish News. This band takes traditional Jewish styles, including Klezmer, Yiddish, Israeli, and Yemenite, and rowdies them up with infusions of raucous horn based jazz and electrified rock and roll. The irreverent lyrics add to the fun of it all. Their debut album, "Get In Trouble" is a non-stop 50 minute musical montage that takes the listener on a journey through Jewish music past, present and future. The recent 5 star review by George Robinson in the New York Jewish Week said "The key to this album is brilliant instrumental work by an airtight ensemble, and an engagingly witty approach to the free-jazz/klezmer fusion... Get the CD by sending $15 check or money order to Benny P.O. Box 29740 Elkins Park, Pa. 19027. (Benjamin Laden)
Richárd Bernard's OY!Stars features an all-star Klezmer cast led by the artistry of Richárd Bernard. He and his band will be seen in the 2008 films "Iron Man" and the 4th "Indiana Jones" (for which he also arranged music); he has appeared in many other films and television shows. He is a Royal Caribbean Cruise Headliner, has performed as guest artist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and the Jewish Symphony, and of course many live performances at private events and corporate conventions! Web: www.klezmerlosangeles.com. Tel: (818) 888-0588. (Richárd Bernard)
Based in Amsterdam, Holland, Besalú is a five-piece band playing both traditional Jewish music and original compositions. Our inspiration comes from the musical traditions of past and present Jewish communities, ranging from eastern Europe to Spain, and from the eastern Mediterranean to north Africa. Web: www.besalumusic.com. (Rogier Wolf)
Beskydy are a London, UK-based band who play an exciting eclectic mix of east european and klezmer music with their fabulous singer. The band is two violins, viola, double bass, two clarinets and accordion. Web: www.beskydy.net. (Gary Bridgewood)
The Bessarabian Nights (Les Nuits de Bessarabie) are a klezmer band based in Geneva, Switzerland. Composed of principal players from the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva, Switzerland, this group takes a "historic" but very brilliant approach to klezmer. Web: www.clenastein.com/The_Bessarabian_Nights.html. (Cléna Stein)
The Best Little Klezmer Band in Texas brings the old world to life by reviving Yiddish music from the old country and America's immigrant generation. The band infuses its performances of Jewish folk, dance, Israeli, and theatre music with bouncing enthusiasm to create what has been described as "great fun" and "the entertainment highlight of the year!" Call, toll-free: 800 332 0689; Houston area: 713 771 0899 / fax: 713 771 0866. Web: texasklezmer.com. (Marcia Sterling)
The Bester Quartet was formed in 1997 at the initiative of the outstanding accordionist and arranger Jaroslaw Bester. Known originally as "Cracow Klezmer," the group played only traditional klezmer music. Over time, inspired by authentic folk music that blended elements of traditional Jewish music, contemporary jazz, and Balkan music, the group created its own original, unique style. The band's debut album, De Profundis, came out in September 2000 on John Zorn's famous New-York-based Tzadik label. This is the first time that the work of Polish musicians has been released on this prestigious label. De Profundis established The Cracow Klezmer Band as one of the most fascinating phenomena within the radical current of the modern Jewish musical renaissance. In November 2001, John Zorn released The Warriors, the Cracow Klezmer Band's second album on the Tzadik label. On Jan 1, 2007, the band's name was changed to "The Bester Quartet." Contact: Jaroslaw Bester 0501 496 203. Web: www.besterquartet.com. (Jaroslaw Bester)
Beyond Chutzpah". This is a spin off band from the Los Angeles Community Klezmer Band.
Beyond the Pale is a unique modern klezmer ensemble based in Toronto. Rooted firmly in the spirit and forms of klezmer music, the group flirts with elements of other eastern-European folk styles (Romanian, Ukrainian, Roma, Balkan) as well as modern and North American styles (bluegrass, reggae, funk) to forge a sophisticated new sound, suffused by the past but bubbling with the present. The group has released "Routes", 2001 and "Consensus", 2004, on the Borealis Records label. The group features Eric Stein (mandolin, tsimbl), Bogdan Djukic (violin), Milos Popovic (accordion), Martin van de Ven (clarinets), and Bret Higgins (bass). They are frequently joined by guest vocalists. Web: www.beyondthepale.net. (Eric Stein)
Big Galut(e), whose telephone is based in Hawaii and members are mobile, plays Klezmer and Yiddish theater music, as well as selections by Jewish classical composers and music from Sephardic and Levantine cultures. Personnel: Robin Seletsky, clarinet; Sasha Margolis, violin and voice; Michael Leopold, theorbo, guitar, and baroque guitar; Mark Rubinstein, accordion and drums; Rich Sosinsky, bass. Tel: (808) 772-1001. Web: www.BigGalute.com. (Sasha Margolis)
Bivoliţa (Bee-vo-lee-tsa): Bessarabian Chamber Klezmer Trio draws its repertoire from the early, European sources of Jewish instrumental wedding music but finds contemporary interpretations that draw on the diverse musical experiences of its members. We use tradition as a springboard to new spontaneous interpretations, and a deep appreciation of Yiddish dance rhythms as the foundation for elaboration and improvisation within the forms. Web: www.bivolita.com. Tel: 203-909-3318 (Christina Crowder)
The Black Ox Orkestar, was formed in August 2000. We are a five piece band based in Montreal, Quebec. We draw from Ashkenazic, Transylvanian, and Balkan repertoires and add original Yiddish compositions, an ear for dark sounds, and improvisation. Expect political content and diasporic rabblerousing. Members of Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Sackville, and others. Our first album, "Ver Tanzt?" was released in 2004. (Nimo Paniv)
Black Sea Station plays traditional and original melodies by a band of musicians that straddle the North American continent and the traditions of Klezmer and Rumanian music. Their debut CD, "Transylvania Avenue," on Rounder Records, displays a love and respect for their Eastern European roots. They bring this world to life in various scenes—a wedding, an intimate café, village streets, quiet moments and celebrations—all reflecting on and celebrating the rich history and culture of their heritage. (Myron Schultz)
The Black Yiddish trio includes Pierre Cleitman, accordéon and singing Yiddish songs, klezmer tunes and jokes; Stéphane Darot, playing contrebass, came to Paris from Transylvanie (Roumania gypsy); and Claudine Movsessian playing clarinet klezmer. This group is fonded in 1991. The trio try to play tunes with swing and in French called "la pêche". We play traditionel klezmer with spontaneous arrangements and improvisations. The trio has played in Switzerland (Suisse Allemande), Germany and sometimes in France. We made a CD in 1993. Tel: 0144935351. Web: claridine.free.fr. (Claudine Movsessian).
The Blimilim Klezmer Quartet is an all-strings Klezmer quartet in Kansas City, MO. Blimilim is meant to entertain and inspire any listener with the sounds of its energetic yet spiritual Klezmer and Israeli songs. Ziva Patt, the group's leader, is an experienced Klezmer fiddler as well as an Israeli "Sabra".
Blue Klezmer Moon is a trio—with up to five musicians—mostly resident in Victoria, B.C., Canada. Chamber klezmer/jazz, with a nod to the heyday of Western Jewish Swing, with considerable South American influence, as well as a certain Alpine sensibility. Thus, vocals in English, Spanish and Yiddish—both 'standard' Yiddish and the less familiar Southwestern dialect, as heard in Alsace and the Surbtal. Original and topical songs mingle with the traditional. Our instrumentation is: clarinet, jazz guitar, double bass, hang, percussion. We play jazz, folk and Jewish music festivals, as well as weddings, etc. Web: www.blueklezmermoon.com. (David Kaetz)
Bnai Jazz, based in West Orange, NJ, fulfills a dream to merge our love of Classic Jazz and our devotion to our Jewish roots. We took songs from the Great American Songbook and gave it a refreshingly unique twist . The Bnai Jazz live music experience is one of the most exciting to hit the music scene in a long time. Our sound is energetic and full of catchy melodies. Tel: 201 960-0644. Web: www.reverbnation.com/bnaijazz. (Steve Wien)
The name "Bnei Pedutser" (sons of Pedutser) commemorates one of the greatest of the old klezmorim, Aron-Moishe Kholodenko (1828-1902) of Berdichev, Ukraine - better known as Pedutser. Bnei Pedutser Klezmer Quartet, based in New York, New Jersey, and Chicago, brings together four highly accomplished musicians to present East European klezmer music in the traditional style. Band members are: Dr. Jeffrey Wollock (Kapellmeister) - violin; Kurt Bjorling - clarinet, tsimbl; Josh Huppert - violin; Paul Morrissett - bass, violin, tsimbl. Tel: (847) 475-3905; (212) 567-6850. Web: www.muziker.org/pedutser. (Jenny Wollock)
Bohemian Nights, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, is the violin/accordion duo of Ernie Gruner and Phil Carroll from bands Klezmeritis (Klezmer based) and Yalla! (Middle-Eastern). They also sing, and play mandolin, ney and duduk. Repertoire includes gypsy, klezmer, russian, greek, turkish, italian, french, jazz and tango. The two musicians play regularly in Melbourne's multicultural music scene. They have toured New Zealand three times, played Australian National folk festival and others, and accompanied theatre productions including Russian Soup with traditional and original music. Bohemian Nights self-titled debut CD was recorded June 2005, and launched at The Boite October 22nd, 2005. Tel: +61 3 93867108. Web: www.erniegruner.com/gypsynights.html. (Ernie Gruner)
Borderlands Klezmer Band is now known as Klezmopolitans, Tucson, AZ.
The Boston Kleztet has played together for several years. We do a lot of bnei mitzvot and weddings, community celebrations, parties, etc. Our musical repertoire includes a good deal of authentic klezmer pieces from the bands of the 1910-1920's, some Yiddish folk music, and some interesting blends of klezmer music with, for instance, Greek or Balkan music. We also play Israeli folk dance music and modern Israeli classical tunes as well as the general mix of Yiddish/klezmer/Yeshiva-style/nigun/Israeli gemish that is played during those frenetic moments when the bride and groom enter the room. We play some original pieces as well. A trio from the band is available for smaller events or for processional music, music for the chuppah, etc. Israeli or Eastern European dance instruction can be arranged. We can also provide advice on wedding reception planning. We have been known to play swing music when the mood is right. Contact person is Joanne Baker (617) 527-7414. (Joanne Baker)
di bostoner klezmer di bostoner klezmer, based in New England, is the trio consisting of Dobe (Dena) Ressler, clarinet, Cory Pesaturo, world accordion champion, and Mark Hamilton (also of the Klezmer Conservatory Band). We know lots of other musicians - so our band expands. We play a full range of klezmer, traditional Jewish, Hasidic and Israeli music - with swing on the side. Weddings, public concerts, holiday celebrations, nursing homes, kids' camps, concert experiences and bar and bas mitzves (Sundays but not Shabos) round out our resume. Take a listen to our CD, "nakhes fun klezmer" was released in 2004. Tel: 781-643-1957. Web: www.yiddishmusic.com. (Dena "Dobe" Ressler)
Brass Hebraica is a unique brass quintet consisting of two trumpets, trombone, horn and tuba playing primarily Judaica or Jewish composers. Based in Connecticut, we can be reached at 203-268-6040 or by mail at: Brass Hebraica att.: Gary Knepler, Trombone at 108 Governor Trumbull Way, Trumbull, CT.
The members of Brave Old World are scattered from Berlin to California. The ensemble's infrequent tours are not to be missed. It is world-jewish. With roots going even deeper than the klezmer revival, I'd say that the band easily represents the most intense, close-to-tradition, rethinking of how klezmer sounds in these times. The Klezmershack was launched with six reviews parallelling "the best" of klezmer, circa 1995, one of which was their then-current Beyond the Pale (1992). Their other albums include Klezmer Music (1990), Royte Pomerantzn (Blood Oranges) (1997), Bless the Fire (2003), Song of the Lodz Ghetto, (2005). I have also written about the band in concert (Boston, 10 July 1997), and reviewed their performance video, Live, 2006. [ari] Web: www.braveoldworld.com/. (Alan Bern)
From melancholy midnight meditations to funky/punky affirmations of the One, the Breslov Bar Band, based in Brooklyn, NY, explores musical expressions of the Breslov Chassidim from the traditional to the contemporary. Blending Klezmer/Hasidic music with Middle-Eastern, Rock, Jazz, Reggae, Punk, and other musical styles in an organic manner, the band puts on a high-energy show that is both musically and visually compelling. Members are powerful improvisers and no two performances are alike. In addition to keyboards and vocals, BBB bandleader Binyomin Ginzberg plays the vibrandoneon—a mouth blown variation on the Argentinian bandoneon—which adds an intriguingly exotic component to the group's sound. The band's albums "Have No Fear" and "Happy Hour" are available from iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby. Tel: 212.864.6859. www.BreslovBarBand.com. (Binyomin Ginzberg)
Berlin-based Paul Brody's Tango Toy plays klezmer-jazz. Inspired from traditional music, Tango Toy recaptures the rhythms, tonalities and moods of jewish music and mixes them into a Chagall-like story. Charles Ives chords, odd grooves, and the freedom of jazz are all part of the Tango Toy sound. "Klezmer Stories" is the name of Tango Toy's first CD which was produced by SFB radio in Berlin. More info at www.laika-records.com. (Paul Brody)
Bubbeleh fearlessly (and shamelessly) invents intersections between traditional Jewish folk music and whatever we want. Mixing bulgars and horas with blistering odd meter grooves and improvisation. We are a motley group of nice Jewish(ish) kids that are your nana's worst nightmare. Freddy Kruger with Payos a.k.a The Jewish Shark Attack. We are Bubbeleh. Max Kutner on guitar. Philip Rankin on Wurlitzer. Greg Zilboorg on trumpet. Lauren Baba on violin. Andrew Conrad on tenor sax & clarinet. Rusty Kennedy on bass. Colin Woodford on drums. Web: www.jewishsharkattack.com
Budowitz is the music of the 19th century klezmorim, on original instruments. Budowitz' first recording was "Mother Tongue, 1997" (Koch International). The second recording, "Wedding without a Bride," 2000, is on Buda Musique. The third album, the double-CD "Budowitz Live," (Golden Horn Records) was released in 2007. A preview review of the first album is available on my "Eastern Europe 1996" pages. A final review, including RealAudio 3.0 sound clips, is now available for Mother Tongue. Budowitz Band Website, including the "Dr. Klez" column, www.budowitz.com. (Josh Horowitz)