Killer Klezmer

Magnes, JCC celebrate an Ashkenazi tradition.


Walter Zev Feldman.

Today, most Americans know klezmer as a modern-American fusion music, an up-beat blend of traditional Jewish fiddle and accordion ditties with 1920s jazz. But little is known about the deep history of the music, its roots in Yiddish wedding and festival songs long before Russian and German Jewish immigrants brought it to American shores.

In Klezmer: Music, History, and Memory, music historian Walter Zev Feldman traces the klezmer back to antiquity to learn more about the music that did so much to shape Ashkenazi culture.

Dec. 1, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Free. Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, 2121 Allston Way, Berkeley,

Also in December, audiences can get a taste for klezmer’s modern sound (and traditional uses) at the KlezCalifornia Yiddish Culture Festival, an annual celebration of the music form that features eight participatory workshops, including klezmer instrumental music, singing, dancing, and theater. The festival ends with a cabaret concert with the Bay Area’s best Yiddish song performance, storytelling, poetry, and Borscht Belt comedy stylings.

Dec. 4, 1-7 p.m., $50 adult, $20 teen, free ages 6-12, Jewish Community Center of the East Bay, 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley.


Published online on Nov. 30, 2016 at 8:00 a.m.

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