World Music Features    Klezmer Mountain Boys    World Music at Global Rhythm - The Destination for World Music


World Music Features    Klezmer Mountain Boys    World Music at Global Rhythm - The Destination for World Music
IRIS

Search

WORLD MUSIC NEWS
WorldMusicFeatures
WORLD MUSIC Profiles
  Artist Features
  World Music Legends
  Reggae Legends
  African Legends
Live Music Events
  World Music Concerts
  World Music Festivals
  World Music Clubs
Global Lifestile
  Travel
  Food
  Film
reviews
  Books
  DVD
  Live Music
WorldMusicFeatures
WORLD MUSIC CD ReVIEW
  Africa
  Asia & Far East
  Australia & Oceania
  Celtic & Irish
  Electronica
  Europe
  Greater Latin America
  Jazz
  Middle East & North Africa
  New Age & Avant Garde
  North American
  Reggae & Caribbean
  South Asia
  World Fusion
WORLD MUSIC links
back issues
 

Deutsch
Franais
Espa ol
Italiano
Portuguese
Japanese
Chinese





World Music Features

“Both klezmer and bluegrass have that mixture of laughter and tears.”

Print Page
E-mail to Friend E-mail to Editor
Klezmer Mountain Boys
By Marty Lipp

Published September 1, 2005
Style: Klezmer

Most musicians would be mortified if their audiences laughed at them when they began their set, but Margot Leverett has come to expect it.

            Inevitably, as her band, the Klezmer Mountain Boys, begin playing a klezmer tune then suddenly switch, without missing a beat, into a bluegrass tune, the audience will laugh at the abrupt musical leap.

            It’s a natural reaction since, at first glance, there could barely seem to be two styles more different than klezmer and bluegrass: one the product of the Old World’s Jewish ghettos of Eastern Europe; the other, the product of the rural backwoods of the southern United States.

            The Klezmer Mountain Boys’ eponymous debut album on Traditional Crossroads proves, however, that there are some strong commonalities. Both genres are not secular music, Leverett noted, but come from ethnic groups where religion is a strong influence. Both are also the product of people who led hard lives and for whom the music was an expression of joy and for marking celebrations.

            “Both kinds of music have that mixture of laughter and tears,” Leverett said. “They complement each other. They bring out something in each other you might not otherwise notice.”

            The unlikely project grew out of Leverett’s own exploration of various types of fiddle tunes for transposition to the clarinet. Leverett—the original clarinet player in the Klezmatics—began to wonder how her playing would sound accompanied by a string band, as opposed to the usual klezmer instrumentation.

            She contacted an old friend, mandolin player Barry Mitterhoff, and began to assemble a band of players who had experience in both klezmer and bluegrass. Their first meeting in New York was canceled in the wake of the attacks of 9/11, but was eventually rescheduled several months later. The musicians were still stunned from the attacks, Leverett said, and were barely up for playing, much less playing the jokey juxtaposition of which they had been talking.

            When they finally sat down to play, Leverett said, they were surprised to find that “the fun idea was just gone. This was something altogether else. It was really soulful and it was really deep.”

            In subsequent get-togethers, the band members would toss their various sheet music on the table and instinctively mix and match tunes as they went along. “It was like looking for the right key to fit a lock,” Leverett said. Instead of playing familiar tunes from the klezmer repertoire, Leverett brought songs that were given to her by a group of Russian musicians she had serendipitously been matched with for a short tour of the United States a few years ago.

 &n

RSS Feeds

ADVERTISING LINKS

Arc128
Quincy Jones Eagle Rock
Lawson Sideblock
Globe Trekker 120 150
emusicsideblock

GoNomad
Roland

Contact us | Press Room | Contests | About Global Rhythm magazine | Advertise / Media Kit
Privacy Statement | Terms of Use
| Global Rhythm Contributors | Link to Us | Back Issues

Copyright © 2008 Zenbu Media. All rights reserved.

Powered by Ecomsolutions.net