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The Multiple Voices of American Klezmer


Since the 1970s, klezmer has undergone a revival and radical transformation. Originally a European Jewish music, klezmer is now a staple of the world music scene. Although the fusion of instrumental and vocal genres under a single musical umbrella is a significant marker of change between the Old World and revived klezmer repertories, the extension of the boundaries of the klezmer repertory to encompass vocal material has largely been overlooked by practitioners and scholars. This article reinstates song in the narrative of the klezmer revival, exploring how and why it has assumed its prominent position. In case studies of three ensembles, song gives insight into the sensibilities of individual musicians and offers a prism through which to consider contemporary klezmer as both an American Jewish heritage music and a world music genre.

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Journal of the Society for American Music
  • ISSN: 1752-1963
  • EISSN: 1752-1971
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