Argentinian wedding videographer Leandro Koch has absolutely no interest in his Jewish background until he falls in love with clarinetist Paloma Schachmann. She specializes in klezmer music, the traditional Yiddish wedding music of Eastern Europe. They decide to make a documentary together, visiting the last European practitioners of this genre. Their wanderings through Ukraine, Romania, and Moldavia are mostly fruitless, with the Jewish presence limited to old photos and painful memories.
Koch and Schachmann intertwine their personal journey with a folktale about two lovers who defy Jewish traditions, and music historian Rob Cohen explains why after the Second World War the language of the klezmer tradition—Yiddish—gave way to Hebrew, the language of the Zionists. In this way, The Klezmer Project also becomes a requiem for a neglected language and a semi-forgotten culture.
Throughout the film, many local folk musicians incorporate elements of the klezmer tradition in their repertoire, but real Klezmer is almost not to be found. This is why we decided to complement this beautiful and warm cinematic journey into the lost history of Klezmer with a concert of genuine music in the genre, performed exclusively for De Balie audience by the Amsterdam Klezmer Band.
About The Amsterdam Klezmer Band
The Amsterdam Klezmer Band started out on the streets in 1996 as a Group of buskers playing traditional Yiddish Music. Over 25 years, the band has evolved into an internationally celebrated group with a rock solid live reputation. During all this time, the band managed to stay on the radar non-stop, touring all over the world. Their impressive tour list contains far over a 1000 shows by now. Their music is inspiring fellow musicians from Latin America to Russia, resulting in the colourful AKB-song covers you will find on YouTube.
They released 19 albums and the band did successful projects with e.g. Söndörgő, Amsterdams Andalusisch orkest, Galata Gypsy band and Lilian Vieira.
Jasper de Beer – Double bass, guitar banjo, backing vocals
Job Chajes – Alto saxophone, Vocals
Alec Kopyt – Vocals, percussion
Gijs Levelt – Trumpet
Joop van der Linden – Trombone, percussion
Janfie van Strien – Clarinet, backing vocals
Theo van Tol – Accordion
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