Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Like a happy rabbi eating tacos in Guadalajara at 3am- The Sherele Jazz Band Innovators

Klezmer music is one of those musical forms (the good ones) that both inspire and defy definition. I have some tounge-in-cheek definitions of my own...
  • The shtetl band, wanting to perfectly recreate the sound of pre-war Eastern Europe. (e.g. Budowitz and Adrienne Greenbaum)
  • The revival band, honoring their American golden age klezmer progenitors and Yiddish theater favorites, and so very (sometime depressingly) serious about making new Jewish culture (e.g. Klezmatics and the Shirm Klezmer Orchestra).
  • The bongo band, klezmer by way of the 1940's pop Yiddish and 1950's Jewish Latin music crazes (e.g. Yiddishe Cup and the Klezmer Company Orchestra).
  • And of course, the hard-working local simcha band (we play weddings, bar mitzvahs and brisses), actually expecting the audience to dance to songs with 'hora' in their name (e.g. Michigan's Heartland Klezmorim and New England's Wholesale Klezmer Band).
  • And then there's the jazz-klezmer band, where violins become horns, accordions become upright basses, and Minsk becomes Manhattan (Frank London, Enrico Fink).
  • The post-klezmer (or prog-klezmer) band, where klezmer is a point of departure not a destination (or something profound like that). (e.g. Klezmer Madness, Klezmafour)
  • The Pop-klezmer, where pop music has an illicit love affair with klezmer (e.g. Oi Va Voi, Golem)
  • And finally, the Roots / World music klezmer, where klezmer is whipped up with most any other rootsy music around to prove that every indigenous music form in the world loves accordion (Red Sea Pedestrians, JUF, Beyond the Pale)
I've been wanting to get that written down for a while. I'm sure that my friends in the klezmer community will take issue with this and with good reason. Categories are always limiting, often wrong and best are marginally helpful. But they can be helpful. And I needed a bit of help today.

Sherele album coverThe Sherele Jazz Band Innovators is one of my favorite contemporary klezmer bands, well grounded in the tradition but also well planted in their place (Mexico) and time (now). A fine woody clarinet over tockity drums, acoustic and electric guitars, and bass. Wailing and soulful, jangly and full of life. Their recent album, "Oy Mame Shein -Pickles, Chiles and Jrein" is great fun. And, of course, my categories both help and hurt my ability to describe them. Definately not a shtetle band. They've got the jazz feel of a late-revival band but happily weave in elements of (Mexican) roots and post-klezmer. The guitar playing was particularly fascinating, sometimes a Spanish, almost flamenco, style acoustic guitar sometimes a cutting electric guitar. All in all a lovely blend.

Here...give'em a listen.

Sherele klezmer medley

Putmayo Album CoverSherele has gotten a bump in popularity late through their inclusion on the new Putumayo sampler cd "Jazz around the World."For a band who's self description is "Like a happy Rabi waking up in a Moldavian shtetl, dancing love letters in Buenos Aires, eating tacos in Guadalajara (3 a.m. after mariachi and tequila) and head banging to your grandmother’s music in 50 plus minutes of Latin American Klezmer extravaganza" a world music album is natural home.

You can get more info on Sherele at the Myspace page, their CD Baby page, and their Facebook fan page.


Haydee de Salamanca said...

Hi, I loved these comments! Thank you, we'll be in touch, Nathalie Braux, Sherele, klezmer jazz band innovators.

Jack said...

Hi Nathalie..Diego said you'll be touring the US this fall. Come play the Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Great folk/world music club in bustling college town. You'd be warmly received.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we are working on that, networking with american friends who will do some booking. Actyally a friend of mine lives in Madison,Wisconsin. I saw on the map it is not too far, (??? USA distances might be tricky) MAybe we can combine dates. Thank you for the suggestion.

Jack said...

It's about a 6 hour drive between Madison to Ann Arbor, with Chicago right in the middle. Ann Arbor and Madison are very similar towns, both college towns with a lot of music. Keep me posted. If you play Ann Arbor I can help (a bit) with promotion.