New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
What do you do next when you've already spent the past 30 years transforming an entire genre of music? If you are the Klezmatics you take it even further.
In the rich and colorful Yiddish language there are expressions that vividly convey virtually any emotion or action. One such phrase is farshafn a sakh freyd un fargenign, which means to give much joy and pleasure. It perfectly encapsulates the happiness that the Klezmatics have delivered to the passionate millions who have discovered their music since the band's formation more than 30 years ago.
In that time, the Klezmatics have raised the bar for Eastern European Jewish music, made aesthetically, politically and musically challenging recordings, inspired future generations, created a large body of work that is enduring, and helped to change the face of contemporary Yiddish culture.
Since their emergence, the Klezmatics, often called a "Jewish roots band," have led a popular revival of this ages-old, nearly forgotten art form that, in its first incarnations, flourished at Jewish weddings and other joyous occasions. They have performed in more than 20 countries and released 11 albums to date-most recently the album Apikorsim (Heretics). They have also recently served as the subject of a feature-length documentary film, The Klezmatics: On Holy Ground.
During their extraordinary career they have collaborated with such brilliant artists as violinistItzhak Perlman, Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner and Israeli vocal icon Chava Alberstein. They've also worked with everyone from folk singers Theodore Bikel and Arlo Guthrie
to poet Allen Ginsberg, Morocco's Master Musicians of Jajouka, New York downtown scene fixtures John Zorn and Marc Ribot, even Brill Building songwriter Neil Sedaka.
Letterman and Sex and the City, and have also guested on numerous radio programs, including the BBC's John Peel Show and NPR's A Prairie Home Companion.Their music was also incorporated into a work by choreographer Twyla Tharp in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Martha Graham's birth. Regardless of what they undertake, their creations bear the unmistakable stamp of the Klezmatics.
Today, with three founding members-Lorin Sklamberg (lead vocals, accordion, guitar, piano), Frank London (trumpet, keyboards, vocals) and Paul Morrissett (bass, tsimbl, vocals)-still on board, alongside longtime members Matt Darriau (kaval, clarinet, saxophone, vocals) and Lisa Gutkin (violin, vocals), and Richie Barshay (percussion), the Klezmatics are indisputably the most successful proponents of klezmer music in the world.
For this very special holiday program, the Klezmatics perform music from their GRAMMY-winning album Wonder Wheel on which they set a dozen previously UNSUNG Woody Guthrielyrics to music (Guthrie's wife was Jewish, his mother-in-law an accomplished Jewish poet)-and followed up with their equally- inspired holiday release Woody Guthrie's Happy Joyous Hanukkah.
They are joined for this show, as they were on both groundbreaking recordings, by the great Irish singer Susan McKeown.