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The Multiple Voices of American Klezmer

  • ABIGAIL WOOD
Abstract

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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References
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Discography

Brave Old World. 1990. Klezmer Music. Flying Fish FF 70560
Brave Old World. 1997. Blood Oranges. Rounder Records 3135
Brave Old World. 2003. Bless the Fire. Pinorrekk PR 3405039
Bresnick-Perry Roslyn. 1990. Holiday Memories of a Shtetl Childhood. Global Village Music 144
Klezmatics. 1988. Shvaygn=Toyt: Heimatklänge of the Lower East-Side. Piranha PIR20-2
Klezmatics. 1992. Rhythm+Jews. Flying Fish FF70591
Klezmatics. 1994. Jews with Horns. Piranha PIR35-2
Klezmatics. 1997. Possessed. Piranha PIR1148
Klezmatics. 2003. Shteyt oyf!: Rise up! Piranha PIR1686
Klezmatics. 2006. Wonder Wheel. JMG Records
London Frank, Lorin Sklamberg, and Uri Caine. 1998. Nigunim. Tzadik TZ 7129
London Frank, Lorin Sklamberg, and Rob Schwimmer. 2001. Zmiros: Songs for Shabbat and Jewish Celebration. CD accompanying Ain Sof: There Is No End. ed. Sarah Gershman. Hoboken, N.J.: KTAV Press
Mikveh. 2001. Mikveh. Traditional Crossroads 80702-4305-2
Schaechter-Widman Lifshe. 1986. Az di furst avek. Global Village C111

Filmography

Andrä Yvonne, dir. 2003. Yidishe nekht, Yidishe teg. 3Toastbrot
Broughton Simon, dir. 1989. Fiddlers on the Hoof. BBC
Goldman Michal, dir. 1987. A Jumpin' Night in the Garden of Eden. First Run Features
Jewison Norman, dir. 1971. Fiddler on the Roof. MGM
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Journal of the Society for American Music
  • ISSN: 1752-1963
  • EISSN: 1752-1971
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-society-for-american-music
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