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Klezmer Concert Report

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Concert Report: MUSI 1540 Winter

Christena Abdel-Messeh (209674078)

World @ Noon Concert- Klezmer

Prof. Judith Cohen

On Thursday March 31st 2011 I attended the Yiddish concert located in the Martin Family Lounge at York University. The performers were Brian Katz who had played the guitar and piano, Mike Anklewicz who had played the clarinet, and George Koller who was on the bass. There were about twenty audience members and the environment was not just the performer's playing and the audience watching, the audience was clapping and dancing along with the music. I really enjoyed that because it reminded me of my family celebrations where everyone would gather around, clap and dance. It showed a community and really lightened up the environment. I had attended the violin masterclass concert a couple of weeks back and it was a completely different environment than this one. The masterclass was a performance and the audience would clap after the performance. The Yiddish concert was very interactive with the audience which made it a very light hearted and fun performance to watch. They each played ten klezmer old world and new world tracks. The old world tracks refer to traditional klezmer and the new world refer to contemporary klezmer. Some of the songs were from the 20's or 30's and some were from a couple of years ago. I really liked how they gave variety of the dates the songs were created because it wasn't all old world klezmer, but a large mix.

My favourite part of the concert was when Brian taught the audience how to dance the Hora. This part of the performance was especially favourable to me because coming from a Middle Eastern background; we have a similar dance called the Debka. The Hora is basically everyone holding hands and dancing in a circle, usually counter-clockwise, while taking three steps back and three steps forward. The Hora is a traditional Romanian folk dance that is usually danced in weddings or festivals. The song that was used to dance the Hora in this concert was one of Brian's own pieces. This Hora started of slow and then progressed faster with smiles on everyone's faces. (Rogovoy, 40) Since I was able to relate to the music, I was very drawn to it. I looked around and saw intense emotion in some of the people's faces that were watching. For me it was a very emotional experience, not out of sadness but it was a very happy moment because it brought back plenty of amazing memories. I believe that is what music is supposed to do, bring you to a place filled with memories and happiness and once you reach that emotional aspect for a song, you will know you enjoyed it.

Before the concert I was familiar with what it was due to what we had learned in class. I knew that it was originally referred to as a musician, then it became the instrument or the vehicle of the song and then it eventually became to mean the tradition itself. Traditional instruments include the clarinet, violin, and tsimbl. The tsimbl is a form of hammered dulcimer played with very fine wooden mallets. Klezmer reached North America with the early 20th century Jewish immigrants, which coincides with the growing recoding industry. A famous klezmer group is Brave Old World with Michael Alpert as the vocalist. Michael plays the violin along with his group members Stuart Brotman who plays the tsimbl and bass, Alan Bern who plays the accordion and piano, and Kurt Bjorling who plays the clarinet. A lot of bands today play the accordion, piano, drums, double bass, and whatever else innovative performers are interested in. David Krakauer is a new klezmer fusion musician that works with jazz, rock and hip hop. Krakauer works

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