Jump to content

The Klezmatics

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Klezmatics
The Klezmatics, circa 2005.
The Klezmatics, early 2000s line-up.
Background information
Years active1986 (1986)–present (present)
MembersMatt Darriau, Frank London, Paul Morrissett, Lorin Sklamberg, Lisa Gutkin, David Licht, Richie Barshay
Past membersDavid Krakauer, Margot Leverett, Kurt Bjorling, Alicia Svigals, David Lindsay.

The Klezmatics are an American klezmer music group based in New York City, who have achieved fame singing in several languages, most notably mixing older Yiddish tunes with other types of more contemporary music of differing origins.[1] They have also recorded pieces in Aramaic and Bavarian.


Current members include composers Matt Darriau, alto saxophone, clarinet, and kaval, and Frank London, on trumpet and keys, Paul Morrissett playing bass and tsimbl cimbalom, vocalist Lorin Sklamberg on accordion and piano, Lisa Gutkin on violin and vocals, and David Licht or Richie Barshay on drums.[2]

Past members include David Krakauer, Margot Leverett, Kurt Bjorling and Michael Lowenstern on the clarinet, Alicia Svigals on violin, and David Lindsay on bass.[citation needed] In addition, Boo Reiners, Susan McKeown, Joshua Nelson, Chava Alberstein, and Aaron Alexander have frequently collaborated with the band.[citation needed]


The group formed in New York's East Village in 1986.[1] They have appeared numerous times on television, including on the PBS Great Performances series with Itzhak Perlman.[3] They have collaborated with the Romani virtuoso Ferus Mustafov, Israeli singers Chava Alberstein and Ehud Banay, American singer Arlo Guthrie, and Moroccan musicians The Master Musicians of Jajouka.[4] In Berlin, they worked with poet Allen Ginsberg.[5] Trumpeter Frank London composed the score for Pilobolus Dance Theater's work, Davenen, which the band performed.[6] The members come from different musical backgrounds. Drummer Richie Barshay plays jazz with Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea.[citation needed] Violinist Lisa Gutkin came from a predominantly Celtic background before joining the band.[citation needed]

The Klezmatics' 20th anniversary concert took place at New York City's Town Hall on March 5, 2006. That event is included in the documentary chronicling the band's history and significance, The Klezmatics: On Holy Ground (2010).[7] Five years later, they recorded a 25th anniversary CD at the same location.

The Klezmatics at the 2013 world music Festival "Horizonte", Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, Koblenz


The Klezmatics have recorded for Rounder, Piranha, Xenophile, Flying Fish, and the now-defunct Jewish Music Group.[citation needed]

Wonder Wheel, released in 2006, showcased lyrics by American folk icon Woody Guthrie, selected by the band from the Woody Guthrie archive. Although the music draws primarily from a wide range of Americana, not klezmer, the album won a Grammy[8] in the category of Best Contemporary World Music Album. Another album of Guthrie material, with music drawn from the band's more usual Yiddish, Eastern European Jewish music roots, Woody Guthrie's Happy Joyous Hanukkah, was released the same year. Guthrie's granddaughter, Sarah Lee Guthrie, has appeared with them. Other key collaborations include the music to Tony Kushner's adaptation of The Dybbuk, ""A Dybbuk: Between Two Worlds”",[9] The Well: Klezmatics with Chava Alberstein[10] in which poetry by several prominent Yiddish poets was set to music, and Brother Moses Smote the Water with Jewish gospel-style singer, Joshua Nelson.[11]


Track # Title
1 Ershter Vals
2 A Glezele Vayn
3 Tantst Yidelekh
4 Russian Shers
5 Bilovi
6 Dzhankoye
7 Ale Brider
8 Czernowitzer Bulgar
9 Mazl Tov, Zeydns Tants
10 Schneider-Zwiefacher
11 Rebns Khasene / Khasene Tants
12 Di Zen Vet Aruntergeyn
Track # Title Notes
1 Shprayz Ikh Mir
2 Kolomeyke
3 Moroccan Game
4 An Undoing World
5 Mizmor Shir Lehanef (Reefer Song) Mizmor Shir Lehanef is the first Yiddish anthem written about marijuana.
6 Shvartz Un Vays (Black and White)
7 Lomir Heybn Dem Bekher
8 Sirba Matey Matey
9 Mipney Ma
10 Beggars' Dance
11 Shnaps-Nign
12 Interlude
13 Dybbuk Shers
14 Fradde's Song
15 Der Shvatser Mi Adir (The Black Benediction)
16 Hinokh Yafo
17 Mipney Ma (reprise)
18 Eyn Mol
Track # Title
1 Klezmorimlekh mayne libinke
2 Kats un Moyz
3 Loshn-Koydesh
4 Tepel
5 I Ain't Afraid
6 Di Gayster
7 Yo Riboyn Olam
8 Bulgars #2
9 Barikadn
10 Davenen
11 St. John's Nign
12 Hevil iz Havolim
13 Makht oyf!
14 Perets-Tanst
15 I Ain't Afraid (English edit)
Track # Title Notes
1 Eyliyohu Hanovi 2:38
2 Elijah Rock 9:17
3 Ki Loy Nue 6:40
4 Shnirele Perele
5 Walk In Jerusalem
6 Go Down Moses
7 Moses Smote The Water
8 Oh Mary Don't You Weep
9 Didn't It Rain
10 Ale Brider
Disc # Track # Title
1 1 Man In A Hat
1 2 Bobe Tanz (feat. Margot Leverett)
1 3 Dzhankoye
1 4 Rhythm / Jews With Horns Medley: Fun Tashlikh / Fisherlid (feat. David Krakauer)
1 5 Dybbuk Suite: Mipney Ma / Beggars' Dance / Shnaps-nign / Di Gayster / Fradde's Song / Der Shvartser Mi Adir / Hinokh Yafo / Mipney Ma
1 6 Di Krenitse
1 7 St. John's Nign
1 8 Brother Moses Suite: Eyliyohu Havnovi
1 9 Brother Moses Suite: Elijah Rock (feat. Joshua Nelson)
2 1 Davenen
2 2 I Ain't Afraid (feat. Adrienne Cooper)
2 3 Gonna Get Through This World (feat. Susan McKeown)
2 4 Holy Ground
2 5 Moroccan Game
2 6 Hanuka Gelt
2 7 Medley: Lolly Lo / NY Psycho Freylekhs
2 8 Shnirele, Perele
2 9 Ale Brider
2 10 Tepel
  • 2016 – Apikorsim (World Village)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Colin Larkin, ed. (2000). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Nineties Music (First ed.). Virgin Books. p. 218. ISBN 0-7535-0427-8.
  2. ^ "Members". The Klezmatics. Retrieved March 24, 2023.
  3. ^ Heckman, Don (December 2, 1995). "TV Reviews : Itzhak Perlman, Klezmer Fiddler". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 24, 2023.
  4. ^ JLifeOC (April 2, 2013). "Nostalgic But New | JLife OC". Retrieved March 24, 2023.
  5. ^ Pettet, Simon (May 6, 2017). "Allen Ginsberg & The Klezmatics, Berlin, 1993". The Allen Ginsberg Project. Retrieved March 24, 2023.
  6. ^ "Klezmer Ensemble with Grammy award-winning trumpeter-composer Frank London of the Klezmatics | McIntire Department of Music". music.virginia.edu. Retrieved March 24, 2023.
  7. ^ "The Klezmatics: On Holy Ground". IMDb. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  8. ^ "Mazel tov! Klezmer band wins Grammy for world music". www.thevillager.com. Archived from the original on April 1, 2007. Retrieved January 13, 2022.
  9. ^ Brantley, Ben (November 17, 1997). "THEATER REVIEW; A 'Dybbuk' Foresees 'The Martyred Dead'". The New York Times. Retrieved December 13, 2019.
  10. ^ "A New Tap on Yiddish Tradition". Los Angeles Times. May 10, 1999.
  11. ^ Wall, Alix (April 15, 2005). "Klezmer-gospel combo pumps up Pesach". Jweekly.com. Retrieved December 13, 2019.

External links[edit]