Klezmer Music

September 2, 1806: Birthdate of Mikhl Yosef Gusikow (Michael Joseph Gusikow) “a Klezmer musician from Shklov who was popular in Germany and France during the 1830’s.”  (Mitchell Levin)

Klezmer (Yiddish: כליזמר or קלעזמער (klezmer), pl.: כליזמרים (klezmorim) — instruments of music) is a musical tradition of the Ashkenazi Jews of Eastern Europe. Played by professional musicians called klezmorim, the genre originally consisted largely of dance tunes and instrumental display pieces for weddings and other celebrations. In the United States the genre evolved considerably as Yiddish-speaking Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, who arrived between 1880 and 1924, met and assimilated American jazz. During the initial years after the klezmer revival of the 1970s, this was what most people knew as klezmer, although in the current century musicians have begun paying more attention to the “original” pre-jazz traditions as revivalists including Josh Horowitz, Yale Strom, and Bob Cohen have spent years doing field research in Eastern/Central Europe. Additionally, later immigrants from the Soviet Union such as German Goldenshtayn took their surviving repertoires to the United States and Israel in the 1980s.  (Wikipedia)

In 1998, Israel Post issued this stamp commemorating the Klezmer Music Festival held in Zefat, Israel:

klezmer music festival - Israel 1998

And, here is a photo of some traditional Klezmer musicians:

klezmer musicians

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