(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – The Klezmatics, widely considered to be the world’s greatest modern klezmer group, perform at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center on Saturday, November 16, 2013, at 8pm. The concert is presented by the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst as part of Yidstock: The Festival of New Yiddish Music.
Founded in 1986 in New York City, the Klezmatics almost singlehandedly pioneered the klezmer renaissance. With roots in the klezmer revival of the 1970s and early-1980s, the members of the Klezmatics built a contemporary style of music that had one foot firmly planted in tradition and the other in the downtown avant-garde. The result was a modern form of klezmer that spoke to audiences in concert halls, on festival stages, in jazz clubs and in rock music venues.
The only klezmer band in history to win a Grammy Award, the Klezmatics have collaborated with such brilliant artists as violinist Itzhak Perlman, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner, rock trio Ben Folds Five, and Israeli vocal icon Chava Alberstein, plus many other prominent artists working within multiple genres.
Today, with three original 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), the Klezmatics are without a doubt the most successful proponents of klezmer music in the world.
The repertoire of the Klezmatics ranges from old Yiddish folk and dance tunes to new songs that blend original poetry with Eastern European modes, reggae, rock, jazz, Latin and pop.
“When we decided to launch Yidstock, there was no question in my mind that the Klezmatics had to be the centerpiece of our first program,” says Seth Rogovoy, programming consultant for the Yiddish Book Center and author of “The Essential Klezmer,” the bestselling guidebook to the music. “The Klezmatics are the very embodiment of what Yidstock and the book center are all about – the perpetuation of a culture by combining tradition and innovation, in order to speak meaningfully and powerfully to today’s audiences.”
“We are also thrilled to be presenting the Klezmatics at the Mahaiwe in our first venture bringing Yidstock off-campus,” says Rogovoy, who notes that the band will also be headlining the third annual Yidstock festival, taking place July 17-20, 2014, at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst.
Tickets are available from the Mahaiwe Box Office at 413.528.0100 or by visiting the Mahaiwe website.