We're featured on the new podcast from KlezmerPodcast.com.
Click the link below to hear Adam, Jacob and James chat about the band and our album 'Live at Green Note'.
The Klezmer Kollectiv are now on iTunes!
LIVE AT GREEN NOTE is a live session the Kollectiv recorded last year at one of Camden's top venues. It captures the Kollectiv at their best with the energy and spontaneity that has become their trademark.
You can download it from the link HERE
The KK recently recorded "Reviewing the Situation" from Lionel Bart's "Oliver" with Paul Kaye who, until recently, was starring in "Matilda" on the West End. We think he'd make a great Fagin. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFl6TEaLdDs
The KK site's Music Player is currently down, apologies. We are working on getting this fixed but in the mean-time you can hear some of our tracks at www.myspace.com/klezmerkollectiv
BY MURIELLE GONZÁLEZ OISEL
PUBLISHED 16 JANUARY 2011 in 'London INsider' (www.london-insider.co.uk)
With the jaunty tune of Golden Wedding (Goldene Khasene), Klezmer Kollectiv kick-started their debut in London. Thereafter, Adam Cross’ clarinet and Jacob Shaw’s saxophone led the melodies of the cheerful repertoire they played at Green Note.
The cosy, small-scale venue contributed to a warm, joyful klezmer session. About 50 people were there, either having dinner or drinks. Everyone came to Camden’s vegetarian restaurant and bar eager to listen to the Cardiff-based octet. (Septet, actually, as ‘cellist Christopher Yorke Baker missed the show.)
An irresistible tune
The first song shocked the audience with its unique, upbeat rhythm. Unanimously, wow’s and whistles from the crowd gave the band the impetus to continue the rest of their repertoire with the same zest and energy.
The following songs made everyone stomp along to the beat, so infectious were the irresistible tunes. Those seated at the dinner tables went on with a funny, odd “seat-dancing” style – none could help but swing their heads to the music.
The first 30-minute set felt quite short and passed by in a whirl. It included both fast-pace and melancholic tunes of traditional Jewish music (klezmer) among other East European folk songs. One of the most exciting moments was driven by the “Odessa Bulgar” (Bulgarian dance) song – a classic klezmer melody.
Soon after the break, the second set consisted of much faster beats and fun. Eventually, the audience engaged fully and managed to dance freely in the tiny space left between the stage and the dining tables.
Funny as it sounded, the song “Where were you before prohibition?” made everybody move in a mix of Charleston-based dancing with a hint of the Russian Cossack style trying to follow the syncopated rhythm. “Miserlou”, the famous song included in the Pulp Fiction movie soundtrack, brought up the familiarity of klezmer.
One of a kind
People at the gig described Klezmer Kollectiv’s sound as “energetic”, having a “smooth jazz influence”, and “loads of fun”. Indeed, Saxophonist Jacob Shaw played a jazzy-solo that could have led the chance to show-off each individual instrument – let’s have it next time guys!
But virtuosity is not an issue for Klezmer Kollectiv. You can tell they are professional, young musicians – very talented, actually. But it seems their young age on the stage restrained them for more spontaneity, which is a skill they need if they want to help the public to engage with the unique music they play.
Don’t get me wrong, they do enjoy playing and you can tell that they are having a good time doing so. However, klezmer requires cheering and clapping to trigger the fun of it. During the gig, it took a while for the band to warm up – same as the audience. As a brand-new band, they just can’t take for granted that the music will do it all
Anyhow, the promising future is on their hands. The gig at Green Note demonstrated that even under a new line up – Jonathan Stern replaced Rossini Bartolotti-Hayward in guitar – the band is a great ensemble of musicians.
Keep an eye on the Klezmer Kollectiv website. They announced another gig on 25th February in Soho – to be confirmed. In any case, if you are planning a party, they are available for booking!
Well, klezmerites, it's a new year and I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and drank very much more Vodka than was good for you.
Before Christmas the members of the KK managed to schlep themselves down to the Cardiff Arts Institute where the planned Christmas Party took place in spite of the heaviest snow since last year. We shared the stage with the really quite marvellous Bristol band 'The Hats' and together managed to get the crowd warmed before they were forced to brave the sub-zero conditions once more. Many thanks to all who came!
Looking forwards, the Kollectiv are looking forward to their London debut gig at Camden's Green Note on 13th January. There are still a few advance tickets left so get 'em whilst they're hot.
In other news, the long-awaited Klezmer Kollectiv EP is soon to arrive so keep your eyes peeled and listen out for the KK on the current internet viral sensation 'Splott Division'.
In the meantime keep dancing.
At 11am on Thursday the 29th July, the Kollectiv will join Jamie and Louise on their daytime show on BBC Radio Wales on 94.8 FM to chat about their music and play LIVE on air.
Listen in and if you enjoy the music phone in and make yourself heard!
LISTEN IN at 11.
Cardiff-based klezmer group, Klezmer Kollectiv, are set to bring klezmer to the masses. Matt Thomas catches up with their main man to find out more
WE might as well get the obvious question over with as quickly as possibly. What then, exactly, is klezmer?
“It’s quite hard to pin it down to a single definition, really,” explains clarinetist and Klezmer Kollectiv leader Adam Cross.
“People describe it as East European, Jewish folk music, but it’s not as simple as that.
“It’s Jewish only in a cultural sense for a start, there’s no religious content to it, and there was a lot of cross fertilisation with the music of the Balkan gypsies. Jewish klezmer groups would play at gypsy weddings for example.
“They both drew from the same pool of songs, and passed them on and around without noting them down terribly frequently.
“So it’s a fluid term and a very fluid sort of music.
“That comes across in how we play as well. It’s not exactly improvised, but we know all the tunes, we know all the variations and we bring our set together out of that, in the moment so to speak.”
The group has only been in existence a year or so, but they’ve already bagged a spot on the bill of this week’s Welsh Proms and performed at the celebrity-studded opening of the Royal Academy’s Summer Show.
Not bad for a bunch of students and musicians – some of whom haven’t even finished their undergraduate degrees at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
Cross, one of the more experienced members of the troupe having spent a year playing in the orchestra of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of The Seagull before starting his post-graduate studies at RWCMD, seems a natural focal point for the collective.
“Out of all of us, the bass player was the only other with any experience of the music,” he says.
“A lot of the guys didn’t realise that at one point in the 1920s in NewYork, just as jazz was getting going, thanks to the influx of Jewish immigrants, klezmer was as big, if not bigger than jazz.
“That’s where you get people like Naftule Brandwein and Dave Tarras, who were genuinely stars at the time becoming quite flamboyant and well-known through performing something that could be considered traditional, ethnic music.
“That’s where we draw some of our inspiration from, the hats and the look and the style of playing.”
A long-time devotee of the music, it’s his determination that both shapes and drives the group.
“I can’t remember where I first heard klezmer, probably on a film or something, but it was enough to get me hooked after a very brief exposure,” he says.
“I took a year’s worth of klezmer lessons at SOAS (London’s School of Oriental and African Studies), travelling down there every Tuesday, because it’s the sort of thing you have to be playing to learn that much about, and when I came back to Cardiff started looking to get the group going.
“Initially it was just me and the guitarist, but we’ve grown to take on eight players at our biggest, drawn from the various different departments of the college.”
Their upcoming Prom performance will be the first time they have exposed their party-honed live act to a more traditional classical audience.
“The Prom will be a bit of a departure for us actually, it’s our first recital-style performance,” he muses.
“Normally, we end up playing in some bar, so we’re taking ourselves into a bit of an unknown area. Still, I’m sure we’re going to be fine.
“Thinking about it, it’s not too strong to say that we’ve never had a really bad gig. That’s probably despite our best efforts to the contrary, but it’s true.”
Klezmer Kollectiv play a free show at St David’s Hall, Cardiff on Thursday, 1.30pm. Visit www.klezmerkollectiv.com for more information
The Klezmer Kollectiv website came online at approx. 3.30pm yesterday (9/6/10) and if you're reading this then it means it's still up and running which is a good thing.
It's the new hub for all KK info and discussion so if you've seen us at a gig or out busking then you can find out where to see us next, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr or join our mailing list for regular updates on what we've been up to. Alternatively get in touch on our contact page if you're interested in booking the band for an event or if you just want to tell us how great we are.
At the time of writing the Meet the Band section is still under construction but you can still look at our photos or videos and listen to us using out music player.
Last night the Klezmer Kollectiv played at the prestigious Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition Preview Party. Top bods from the art world and beyond were present including Alexa Chung, Holly Valance, Dave Gilmour and Tracy Emin, who stopped to have a little shimmy to the band on her way up the pink carpet.
After a couple of hours in the galleries passing their judgement on the art world's latest offerings, the Kollectiv returned to the courtyard of Burlington House where they played the party out in style whilst the glitterati licked ice-cream and danced the night away.