Klezmer .. something wonderful

At the recent Jewish music festival in Sydney,  I saw a great film about the Klezmatics, entitled On Holy Ground … well worth seeing

Then I was sent this link to a wonderful Klezmer film set in Krakow – the film by Marian Marzynski.

Here is a video of the Klezmatics also in Krakow.  A dynamic band, who also performed and recorded with Chava Alberstein here in Berlin.

Speaking of Krakow, 2010 marked the 20th anniversary of the renewal of Polish – Israeli bilateral relations after the fall of communism,  which was commemorated with a recent joint conference in Jerusalem .. the conference proceedings suggested Poland is now one of Israel’s strongest supporters in Europe.   The former Polish president Kaczynski, killed in the plane crash earlier this year, was a friend of Israel – hopefully this will continue.

.. but back to Klezmer .. and my childhood memories of a favourite Mickey Katz record from the collection of my Polish-born grandpa (who fortunately left Poland for then-Palestine in the 1920’s, before emigrating to Australia). 

As Mickey Katz says, “never eat pickles with icecream, ‘cos pickles and icecream don’t mix, oy!” .. also listen to the timely 16 tons of Latkas  Come on a my house  Hermendel’s Koch-a-Lain Amen .. and for my Nanna (born in Palestine .. in the days when Palestinians were Jewish), who was a great maker of Borscht  

Hopefully, the next Shir Madness festival will be able to feature some of the top Klezmer bands – some possible suggestions, the Klezmatics would be wonderful, as would Andy Statman, Deborah Strauss with Jeff Warschauer and members of the Klezmer Conservatory Band

A combination of inspiring concerts and workshops at the Jewish schools plus concerts in other Australian cities and highlighting with Shir Madness at Bondi Beach – that would be good!

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2 thoughts on “Klezmer .. something wonderful

  1. Mickey Katz also sang the songs “I’m a schlemeil of fortune,every card I play is wrong” and “How much is that pickle in the window?”- great humour on traditional american songs.

  2. Thanks, Samuel. I agree your suggestions are excellent songs… like “don’t let the shmaltz get in your eyes, don’t let the lox get in your socks”.

    If you are interested, I would recommend the Mickey Katz biography “Papa Play for Me”.

    In addition to his humourous songs, his band also was a top Klezmer band with some other serious albums. An article in Wikipedia (not Wikileaks!) adds this relevant point – “Mickey Katz emphasized Jewishness during a time when most people wanted to pretend that Jewish ethnic differences didn’t exist. The Holocaust left many people afraid of the potential consequences of de-lineating differences between those who were Jewish and those who were not. Many Jews ended up distancing themselves from things that would designate them as Jewish. Katz, on the other hand, reveled in the unique identity of Jewish Americans. He created parodies with Yiddish lyrics, sang in a Yiddish accent, and included a klezmer “break” halfway through each song.”

    Another album worth listening to is by the African American clarinetist Don Byron – “Don Byron plays Mickey Katz”.