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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).

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References in periodicals archive ?
Was he writing as favorite son of the Philadelphia klezmer music scene or as a nationally recognized historian and musician?
Although her focus is clearly on New York City, she also manages to engage with the historical frameworks of Yiddishism, as well as the re-emergence of Yiddishist and Klezmer music in Europe.
Ethnomusicologist Mark Slobin of Wesleyan University puts it more bluntly: "There was no such thing as klezmer music" until the 1970s when the songs and style of Eastern Europe's Jewish musicians experienced a revival.
“Overall, it is indeed a tad different from typical American klezmer music but there is that international feel throughout all of the recordings on it,” states (Don) Lichterman.
Fringe performers include local bands such as Klonk!, which plays Eastern European Jewish style klezmer music and indie group Cafune.
I play klezmer music myself, and have enjoyed listening to how the two musical traditions combine.
If you have only thought of klezmer music as being folksy and simple, think again.
Visitors can also enjoy exotic sounds provided by classically-trained Indian musician Rajesh David and his band, as well as the emotional and uplifting sounds of Klezmer music - traditional Jewish - played b1y family band Klezmic Rays.
The composition's first movement contains an enthralling minor motif reminiscent of the thematic material known from Shostakovich: a distant yet pregnant echo of klezmer music. Sebastian Foron plays the Verses in the original viola register (with the exception of the final chord), with this arrangement perhaps even doing the work good in terms of sound.
The Klezmonauts will present a concert of original and traditional klezmer music in an intimate acoustic setting at 4 p.m.
The culture lives on in the streets full of restaurants playing klezmer music and serving chicken soup and dumplings.
Music also plays a big part with John and the cast sharing the stage with a band of musicians providing an upbeat soundtrack of Russian Klezmer music. It's a different musical landscape from the jazz of Dancing On The Edge, but John is hoping both will appeal.