The Klezmer Fiddle

by Michael Levy



This album, along with my album, "Echoes of the Shtetl", are my attempt to recreate the wonderful sounds of the traditional Jewish Klezmer fiddle, which once wafted through the many Shtetls of Eastern Europe, prior to the ravages wrought on Eastern European Jewish musical culture by the Holocaust.

Above all the musical styles which influenced the traditional Klezmer musicians of Eastern Europe, the Romanian influence seems to be the strongest and most enduring. This fact is reflected in the dance forms found throughout the entire surviving Klezmer music repertoire, e.g. Horas, Doinas, and Bulgars etc. I have also featured examples of such piece on the album, for example "Odessa Bulgar" & "Der Heyser Bulgar". This influence on the old Jewish Klezmer music of Eastern Europe may again be due to the sounds of Romanian Gypsy music heard on the fringes of Eastern European society, near to the old Jewish Shtetls, which the Klezmer musicians heard, adopted and adapted.

It is so often overlooked, that the fact that any Klezmer music has survived today, is mostly thanks to the emigration to America of Jewish musicians from Eastern Europe, prior to the advent of World War II. Some of these musicians recorded the traditional Klezmer melodies they took with them, (their “invisible baggage”), mostly during the 1920s. It was thanks to these crackly vintage recordings, that the revival of Klezmer music, starting in the 1970s, was made possible.

Other surviving Klezmer & Yiddish classics on this album, include"Oy Tate!", "Baym Rebin's Sude", "Papirorosen" and a selection of my other favourite Klezmer fiddle melodies. However, after the War in Europe, so much beautiful Jewish music was so tragically lost...

The rather rustic "rough edges" in my fiddle playing, (which the classically trained violinist will no doubt detect), is simply a consequence of the fact that I am totally, entirely self-taught - just like most of the Eastern European Jewish Klezmer musicians of old, I never had either the money or the opportunity to take violin lessons. In my own opinion, folk music played by a classically trained violinist, simply no longer sounds like authentic folk music.

If music can "Capture the Soul" of a People, then may this recording be my tribute to the Jewish & Gypsy musicians of Eastern Europe who were so brutally & pointlessly butchered by the Nazis during the Holocaust - at least this little selection of Klezmer melodies which some of them once played, will now, forever, live on...


released March 5, 2011


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Michael Levy UK

Michael Levy is a prolific composer for the recreated lyres of antiquity, whose musical mission is to create an entirely new musical genre, which could best be described as a 'New Ancestral Music' - dedicated to reintroducing the recreated lyres, ancient musical modes and intonations, back into the modern musical world.. ... more

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