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Khevre Klezmer Halloween Fest, Cambridge, MA, Oct 31

halloween photoZeitgeist Gallery, Cambridge, MA
October 31, 2004
7:30pm - midnight

It's going to be a Halloween "Festival of Jewish Music" with

  • Khevre
  • Smackin' the Brass (balkan brass band)
  • Jumbo Knish Factory (Tufts University)
  • Harvard Folk Band
  • Rocky Hora Dybbuk Orchestra
  • and more....!

Admission will be $15 for the night, or $10 for students. All proceeds will help benefit the Zeitgeist Gallery, a venue who has been very supportive to young artists throughout Boston and Cambridge. The show will start at 7:30, and doors will open at 7:15. I'd recommend arriving early; seating is limited.


This past summer I spent a week in Canada with friends and fellow musicians studying Klezmer music. The homeland of Eastern European Jewry was wiped out in the 1930s and 1940s, and evidence of its culture was killed. But like the history of its people, Jewish culture and arts fought to remain alive. Its music, Klezmer music, is still vibrant today, flourishing around the world. At this retreat in Canada, knows as Klezkanada, students like myself were fortunate to study with the living masters of Klezmer music. Members of world famous ensembles like the Klezmatics, Brave Old World and the Klezmer Conservatory Band taught there, amongst other legendary musicians. The draw of this cultural phenomenon brings musicians of all sorts, from all over the world to a single campsite. From this melting pot of tradition, comes 6 nights of amazing music, and the fusing of ideas between artists who would have, otherwise, never met.

Daniel Kahn, an actor/singer/accordions, violinist Cameron Freer and I were one of these conglomerates. Daniel asked us one night, "what do you hear when I play this scale?" He played. At first I just thought, 'oh the Freygish scale', the most common mode in Klezmer music. But then he played this exotic sounding scale while howling and laughing 'evil-y', while I had begun to understand where he was going with this. This music, to ears unfamiliar with Klezmer, sounds like something one would hear in a haunted house; the sounds one would hear on Halloween! That very night, with Daniel singing and playing accordion, Cameron on his violin, and myself on a synthetic church organ, came the birth of the "Rocky Hora Dybbuk Orchestra." We played one tune that night, "Dona, Dona," a famous Yiddish folk song, with howls and screams, to an amazed audience. "This is one of the most exciting things to happen to Klezmer Music," said program organizer Michael Alpert. When we were finished, we were applauded wildly. In a revelation later that night, we all agreed that we needed to do a Halloween Show.

On Sunday, October 31st, The "Rocky Hora Dybbuk Orchestra," along with 4 other bands, will perform at the Zeitgeist Gallery in Cambridge. Headlining the evening as well, will be "Khevre," a band based in Boston who has been gaining much popularity. At their last performance in September, also at the Zeitgeist Gallery, fans were huddled on the sidewalk, because of the packed venue inside. "[Khevre has] an energy, and a delight in playing together, [with] specific wonderful compositions and amazing talent, that makes one feel the way [they] would have felt to be watching the Jefferson Airplane on the tiny Matrix stage back in 1966 in San Francisco," one critic, Ari Davidow, said in a review that can be found at www.klezmershack.com.

Also on the bill will be the "Jumbo Knish Factory," hailing from Tufts University, lead by Michael Mclaughlin of ‘Naftule's Dream;' The "Harvard Folk Band," will play a soft set of Jewish and Roma material; "Smackin' the Brass," a 16 piece Balkan style brass band from the New England Conservatory, along with special guest performers.

—Michael Winograd

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