KlezKamp Roadshow sells out in Madison, WI
I am the sort of person who is well known for occasionally dropping from Boston to New York for an evening, so it came as no great surprise when, finding myself in Indianapolis yesterday I drove over to Madison, WI to catch the opening concert for the KlezKamp Roadshow. Today and tomorrow the roadshow will be featuring FREE workshops with some of the best teachers to be found anywhere. I hadn't been in Madison since the last time I drove cross country, and it was an enormous pleasure to hear Yid Vicious, still a kick-ass klezmer band, punkish only in name. Their set came after a lovely performance by the Madison Yiddish Choir and included the title track off their last CD, a klezmer tribute to Balkan music (sort of—they explain it better, live) called "The Seventh Shlemiel."
This was just forspeis. Henry Sapoznik was his usual welcoming self, and the KlezKamp regulars had a grand time on stage. Michael Wex opened with one of my favorite monologues. Susan Levitan gave a too-brief taste of her Yiddish singing (which I could hear more of—I am more familiar with her work in Yiddish folk arts—I have fond memories of a paper-cutting workshop at Ashkenaz, for instance). Mr. Sapoznik, accompanied by Cookie Segelstein and Mark Rubin delivered some favorites from his "Youngers of Zion" CD, including my favorite, "I am a boarder by my wife." Sherry Mayrent played an awesome set. These days, you have to go to KlezKamp to hear her, so this was a rare, and much appreciated treat.
But these were mere distractions. Welcome, distractions, true. Had there been nothing else, I could have heard these pieces and felt the trip well-repaid. But the larger ensemble, which also featured Michael Winograd on clarinet, Dan Blacksberg on trombone, Rubin on both bass and tuba, Segelstein on fiddle, Josh Horowitz on accordion, and the incredible Aaron Alexander on poyk, rocked big time. This was a traditional klezmer show, but much of the music came from the repertoire of the late German Goldenshteyn. In my mind's eye, I can see each of the musicians add solos or fills that reminded me of why I go such distances to hear them. Watching Mark Rubin's fingers as he plays, or listening to Alexander turn a short solo into an awesome transition to the next number are the equivalent of watching a skilled set of trapeze artists as they skillfully move back and forth, now airborn, now holding up the others, always in rhythm, with an "ooh" or "ahhhh" every second.
The evening had one further bonus. The last time I was in Madison, a band member loaned me a cassette copy of the sessions of their first recording to help me finish my trip cross country. By entirely pleasant coincidence, the band has just released their latest, Dollars to Doinas, and I now have a copy to help me finish my trip cross country. Some traditions are worth repeating.
If you are near Madison, and haven't signed up for the FREE workshops, let me encourage you to do so. Space is limited. And I've got to hit the road. This is, after all, not KlezKamp, but the KlezKamp Roadshow :-).