Klezmer music began in medieval Europe, where bands of itinerant Jewish musicians went from town to town playing for Jewish festivals and special events. By the 19th century, klezmer music had become a well-developed musical style, taking its inspiration not only from the synagogue, but from the non-Jewish culture that surrounded it. In America, immigrant Jewish musicians adapted this music to the new rhythms and instruments they found, creating new klezmer forms. Until the 1940's, klezmer orchestras flourished, but with the new styles of music, and the immigrant Jews' desire to appear "American," the klezmer tradition faded. Today, however, a klezmer revival is in full swing.
Okay, so now you know what klezmer music is, you can sit back and enjoy the wonder that is the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars. I saw them open up for the Zippers in 1997, and I couldn't believe how energetic they were-- both the band and the music. Luckilly for me and the rest of the crowd, they were invited out on stage for a very long jam-session during the Zippers' encore.
Ben Ellman and Greg Hartman
Robert wagner- Sax, clarinet
Jonathan Freilich- Guitar
Arthur Kastler- Bass
Glenn Hartman- Accordian
Ben Ellman- Sax
Rick Perles- Violin
Also, rotating drummers
Some Klezmer Links:
A little article in the music zine, MetroActive
Another little article, The Richmond Times-Dispatch
Believe it or not, a Klezmer Webring
There's not much else I can tell you about this band that can't be found on their official, and well-produced website (from which I stole this lovely background and the following button):