(redirected from Yiddish song)
Also found in: Dictionary.


(klĕz`mər), form of instrumental folk music developed in the Eastern European Jewish community. The style had its beginnings in the Middle Ages; its name is a Yiddishized version of the Hebrew klei zemir [instruments of song] that until the mid-20th cent. referred to the musicians rather than, as it does today, to the music. Largely based on cantorial singing and the folk music of Eastern Europe, it was played by an ensemble of violin, flute, bass, drum, cymbal, and sometimes other popular instruments that performed at various family occasions and religious festivals. In the 19th cent. wind and brass instruments (principally the clarinet, trumpet, and tuba) were added to the group. Basically a joyous, highly ornamented dance music, klezmer is often accompanied by a solo singer. Klezmer remained a popular entertainment at weddings and other events, but in the late 20th cent. there was an enthusiastic popular revival of the style. This was particularly true in the United States, where it has sometimes been mingled with jazz, rock, and experimental music to create a more free-form style.


S. Rogovoy, The Essential Klezmer (2000); H. Sapoznik, Klezmer: Jewish Music, from Old World to Our World (2000).

References in periodicals archive ?
They include: songs used for teaching language, learning about and expressing Jewish culture, and commemorating the Holocaust (chapter 1); the discursive space opened up within printed anthologies of Yiddish song from 1945 onwards (chapter 2); the ideological and aesthetic uses for Yiddish in the klezmer revival as it negotiates past and present (chapter 3); the fraught creative spaces in klezmer music opened up by Jewish-American encounters with modern Europe (chapter 4); the role for Hasidic nigunim among nonHasidic Yiddishists and this repertoire's unique performance aesthetics (chapter 5); and, finally, the layered cultural dynamics of klezmer-hip-hop fusions embarked upon by younger Yiddishists (chapter 6).
The Australian Archive of Jewish Music (AAJM) (9) at Monash University contains long-play albums and 78 rpm record discs of Yiddish songs from those years.
Eber's use of lyrics from Yiddish songs sung in the camps, similarly, provide an emotional tone.
Having grown up on the Yiddish song, Gershwin, Caesar, and Jolson knew the subtext as well as the context, knew that the Jewish diaspora and the Southern diaspora began with exile from the promised land.
Who could have predicted such a future in 1947, when the Yiddish song was in decline, when Yiddish radio was about to become the voice of the past, when Yiddish itself was about to become a foreign language?
A Yiddish song would have disrupted the sound of American assimilation that both The Jolson Story and Jolson's career relied on.
Then, much later at a 1905 strike, the union band played the Marseillaise, the wedding dance tune '"Khosn kale mazl-tov," and the popular Yiddish song, "Lebn zol Kolumbus.
And on Friday, CSUN will host ``Zingen far Sholem,'' a lecture/performance exploring Yiddish song (7:30 p.
Some people draw pride, as I do, in the secular, social activist Yiddish song tradition, while others are drawn to mystical, trance-inducing Hasidic nigunim.
London, who is now drawn to "the secular, social activist Yiddish song tradition," did not start out that way.
So while the use of the mother as a metaphor of change has its antecedents in the Yiddish song, her role in The Jazz Singer reverses what many of these songs suggest.
Celebrating its 33rd season, the Sephardic music ensemble, Alhambra, performs the rhythmic and haunting music of Spain, the Balkans, North Africa, the Middle East, Israel, Armenia--as well as Yiddish songs.