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(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 ?
According to Klezmatics trumpeter Frank London, "for many years klezmer bands hid behind the word 'klezmer' as a way of avoiding the 'Jewish' word.
The Klezmonauts are a nine-piece klezmer band bringing the celebratory sounds of traditional Jewish music to the market hall in Llanidloes from noon on Saturday.
It was particularly fun when Leif transformed the symphony orchestra into a klezmer band playing Hava Nagila, which is the Jewish Ode to Joy.
Sunday at Conejo Creek Park North, at the 23 Freeway and Janss Road, featuring Cantor Pablo Duck and his Klezmer Band, Justin Lefkovitch from the Magic Castle, the Sedalia Ragtime Band, kids crafts and music, food, a crafts fair and boutique, pony rides, a rock-climbing wall and more.
The video starts at a festival in New York City, then continues on to Cracow where they explore the streets, and the cemeteries, and listen to a klezmer band.
The Ariel serves traditional Jewish food and, when I was there, a klezmer band was playing.
Dan Froot, in his portrait of Jewish gangsterism, Shlammer (2002), features a live klezmer band complete with violin, euphonium, and accordion players.
The regular weekend event features a traditional Jewish brunch, and often, a not-so-traditional all-female klezmer band called Pomegranate.
a six-person, new wave klezmer band that will do two concerts next week in the Hult Center's Soreng Theatre.
After graduation from Harvard, where she majored in Russian history and literature, Sicular headed to Seattle, where she tried her hand sitting in with a local klezmer band called the Mazeltones.
At least 70 people gathered to hear the program: music by The Rebbe's Orkestra, a klezmer band, and poetry by Palestinian-American poet Lisa Suhair Majaj.
The MacDonalds' community outreach includes appearances at churches, malls, a health care center, and "practice with a Klezmer band at the Jewish Community Center in Amherst.