American Klezmer: Its Roots and Offshoots by Mark Slobin

By Mark Slobin

Klezmer, the Yiddish notice for a people instrumental musician, has come to intend someone, a method, and a scene. This musical way of life got here to the us with the late-nineteenth-century Jewish immigrants from jap Europe. even though it had declined in reputation via the center of the 20th century, this vigorous track is now having fun with attractiveness between tune fanatics of all stripes. this day, klezmer prospers within the usa and overseas on this planet track and accompany Jewish celebrations. the exceptional essays accumulated during this quantity examine American klezmer: its roots, its evolution, and its lively revitalization. The individuals to American Klezmer comprise all kinds of authority at the subject--from lecturers to prime musicians--and they provide quite a lot of views at the musical, social, and cultural heritage of klezmer in American existence. the 1st 1/2 this quantity concentrates at the early heritage of klezmer, utilizing folkloric assets, documents of early musicians unions, and interviews with the final of the immigrant musicians. the second one a part of the gathering examines the klezmer "revival" that started within the Seventies. numerous of those essays have been written via the leaders of this flow, or draw on interviews with them, and provides firsthand debts of ways klezmer is transmitted and the way its practitioners retain a stability among maintenance and innovation.

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A revival of many traditional eastern European Jewish dances (spearheaded by Brave Old World member Michael Alpert) has restored relevance to many long-forgotten forms. Previously obscure recordings have now been re-released on CD. Some of the best current klezmer performers are non-Jewish musicians pursuing careers in what they perceive to be an exciting and challenging repertoire. A large number of new compositions have been written, and the style has found its way into prime-time television (Miami Vice, Rugrats, Saturday Night Live, and The David Letterman Show) and movie soundtracks (including The Chosen, the remake of The Jazz Singer, Enemies: A Love Story, and A Stranger Among Us).

Petit Larousse (Paris: Librairie Larousse, 1963). 4. Max Weinreich, “Yidish,” in Algemeyne yidishe entsiklopedye (New York: CYCO, 1940), 77. 5. Ber Borokhov, “Di bibliotek funem yidishn filolog. Fir hundert yor yidisher shprakh-forshung,” in Shprakh-forshung un literatur-geshikhte, ed. N. Mayzel (Tel Aviv: Farlag I. L. Peretz, 1966), 122. 6. Avrom-Yitskhok Trivaks, “Di yidishe zhargonen,” in Bay undz yidn, ed. M. Vanvild (Warsaw: Pinkhes Graubard, 1923), 159. 7. “Der bokher iz take a fayner bokher, me ken nisht zogn.

33 A report from the first Congress of Jewish and Canadian Workers, held 4 October 1890, provides a figure of thirty members for the Russian Musical Union, a common shorthand designation for the union (AT, 10 October 1890). The next concrete statistic for the size of the union comes from December 1891, a little over a year into its existence, when the Liberty Musical Union declared itself to number one hundred “members in good standing” (AT, 4 December 1891). At that time it still constituted one of the smallest unions in the United Hebrew Trades.

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