klezmer night

September 8, 2008

I don’t think any of us had even an inkling that going to Klezmer Night would end in the way that it did, namely joining in a raucous Jewish version of the samba line! The event was part of the Jewish Museum of Oslo‘s opening programme of Jewish Culture Days. The museum itself, down by Hausmanns gate, officially opens to the public on the 16th of September, and will be open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

Back to the music. I had my first taste of Klezmer music when I was introduced the fabulous Mukka in London, and later got to know the not unrelated style of Romanian gypsy supergroup Taraf de Haïdouks. How exciting to be able to recognize some melodies (and even better for dancing to!). We were treated to the breadth of the Scandinavian Klezmer scene, with four bands playing very different styles:

Shira Etana: The youngest of the four bands, from Trondheim, but possibly my favourite for clearly enjoying themselves so much, once they had warmed up and possibly gotten over nerves. Least experimental, but good, clean Klezmer fun!

Sabbath Hela Veckan: Sabbath All Week, the night’s Swedish representative. Good too, though perhaps fancying themselves a little too much as suave Scandi jazz musicians at the same time. Not that it didn’t work, just that I am not sophisticated enough to appreciate it…

Channe Nussbaum & Klezmofobia: The Danes brought their own mix of Klezmer and Danish folk music, as well as their ‘Queen of Klezmer’, who was clearly used to working the crowds to great effect (see above reference to chain dancing). A great voice, with a good band in its own right, occasionally on the lines of Kaizers Orchestra.

Urban Tunéll: The most modern of the lot, though I suspect I’m missing something given creative spelling and the é in their name? Crossing over almost into Bugge territory, very adventurous and innovative, though I am sad to report we did not stay until the end. Next time maybe?

When we left for home, Mr. Snow and I discovered what we have been missing all those Saturday nights we were tucked up in bed at 1 am. The crowd just around the corner from our venue was jumpin’ to get into Blå, and I could see why from the toones we could hear from the outside. Chope for our next night out!

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