Kona's Traveling Jewish Wedding Band

Nice pen and ink drawing Kona's Traveling Jewish Wedding Band
BB7692, 2004


This is such a mature, well-played, enjoyable survey of my favorite Jewish wedding music that I can't stop kvelling. The band breaks no new ground (unless one considers the somewhat fused Hawaiian slack key guitar intro to "Shaloha Oy"), but it sounds just like the Jewish band you'd like to have had (or would like to go to Hawaii to enjoy) at your wedding.

Towards that end, the band plays not only klezmer, but the popular Israeli song "Erev shel shoshanim" as well as Second Avenue Theatre classics such as "Romania, Romania" and "Rozhenkes mit mandlen" and possibly the only contemporary recording of the wedding essential, "Hava Nagila." (Okay, on our wedding, we happen to have forbidden the band from accepting requests for that song, or for anything from 'Fiddler on the Roof'—but we seem to be near-unique in this regard.) This recording contains nothing from 'Fiddler on the Roof', and likewise avoids 'Miserlou' (substituting instead the bawdy "Garsona").

The band includes several tunes played through the wedding ceremony, "Iti Milvanon" (the bride enters the chuppah) and "Od Y'Shama" (from the Seven Blessings)—especially notable for the best French horn I've heard since the intro to "Tommy", a "Wedding Medley"; even the "Anniversary Song" composed by Al Jolson and Saul Chaplin. In place of "Nigun Atik," the band includes the similar, but more swinging, "Der Rebbe Haht Geheisen Freilach Zein".

In short, a collection of favorites, lovingly and well-played. Not a bad thing to find in Hawaii. Enjoy.

Reviewed by Ari Davidow, 7/3/04

Personnel this recording:

Matt Binder: guitar, recorder
Barry Blum: musical director, contra-bass, balalaika
Gloria Itman Blum: vocal, tambourine
Morty Breier: congas
Roz Cohen: vocal
Joel Gimpel: violin
Jonathan Marmelzat: clarinet, guitar, tambourine
Ahti Mohala: clarinet, soprano sax, Hawaiian steel guitar
Judy Flowers Olson: keyboard
Orrin Olson: French horn
Clark Welsh: balalaika, bouzouki, domra, halil, alto sax, taragot


  1. Wedding Medley (trad.) 2:37
  2. Erev Shel Shoshanim (Yosef Hadar, M. Dor) 3:57
  3. Rumania, Rumania (Aaron Lebedeff) 6:36
  4. Tzaveh (trad.) 2:02
  5. Garsona (trad. Greek; English lyrics: Gloria Blum) 4:41
  6. Der Rebbe Haht Geheisen Freilach Zein (trad.) 4:02
  7. Od Y'Shama (trad.) 5:10
  8. Rozhenkes mit mandlen (Avraham Goldfaden) 5:06
  9. Iti Milvanon (words: trad; melody: Nira Chen) 3:07
  10. Anniversary Song (Al Jolson & Saul Chaplin) 3:02
  11. Hava Nagila (words: Mosheh Nathanson; music: trad.) 3:09
  12. Shaloha Oy (orig. Aloha Oe by Queen Liliuokalani; adapted KTJWB) 3:15

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