Folkstreams
Search
Jumpin' Night in the Garden of Eden Entire Folkstreams
HomeFilmsFilmmakersSubjectsRegionsFeaturingFeaturing


 
 


Transcript with Notes

Transcript of Jumpin' Night in the Garden of Eden with notes by Jewish scholar Mark Slobin and filmmaker Michal Goldman.

­Transcript for “Jumpin” with notes by scholar Mark Slobin and filmmaker Michal Goldman (MG)­Her notes are marked “MG”

Video streaming starts at the beginning of the film and runs for about 26 minutes.

[MUSIC]­(Kapelye Plays on the Street)

SAPOZNIK (V/O):­It was in 1976 and I was playing old time country music.­I had a group called the Delaware Water Gap[1] and everyone in the group of course was Jewish and here we are playing country music.­And I was studying with an old timer name Tommy Jarrell[2]and Tommy says, "Hank I want to ask you something — how come you people don't play your own music?"­So like you know I was kind of startled for a second cause like a didn't really think about what, you know, I said, "do our own music!­Well I could sing cantorial stuff[3] you know or I could sing Hatikva[4]," and I'd never really thought about that as such. (0/C)­For me I grew up with with the music.­I mean I was a Borscht Belt[5] brat.­My father's a cantor and and I grew up coming to the hotels every every passover and the high holidays and hearing this music.­But it bounced off me because it's not what I wanted to hear.­It didn't it wasn't it didn't fit in with my with my desire to be Beaver Cleaver[6] you know.­To be you know to pass.­I wanted to be an American.­I didn't want to have parents who had accents[7].

­

[MUSIC] (Klezmer Conservatory­Band[8] in Concert)

NETSKY (O/C):­It was obvious that I was going to pursue some kind of musical career from very early on.­My mother encouraged me in that direction but but really was definitely plugging for something to do with more with Broadway.­I remember every every year we'd be watching the Academy Awards and she'd point to you know Elliot Lawrence conducting the orchestra saying I want you to be doing that.

[MUSIC]­KCB in Concert STREET:­YIVO Institute for Jewish Research[9]

SAPOZNIK (V/O):­I'd began to question why is it that, you know, there's great Irish music and there's great country music, where is the equivalent Jewish music?­And the only place that I could think of going to find out about that was the YIVO.­And they connected me to the folklorist[10]

­So she takes me downstairs to the subbasement and there's a huge filing cabinet and she opens up the filing cabinet and for the first time in my life I knew what Howard Carter felt when he opened up the tomb Tutankamen.­He opened it up and like there was this stuff there.­Thousands of '78s, and here they were.­They were the Jewish records[11].

­

SAPOZNIK (O/C):­The thing is I don't really know.­This is like a real potpourri of some of the stuff.

SAPOZNIK:­It just needs to be.... SAPOZNIK:­How about this?­Have you ever seen this picture?

SAPOZNIK:­I don't think so no.

SAPOZNIK:­Can you name that Jew?­All right then.

NETSKY:­Very interesting.

[Archival Photographs]

NETSKY (V/O):­When you look at your average tuxedo clad Jewish club date musician it's very hard to imagine that they're carrying on a tradition that dates back to the middle ages in Eastern Europe.­The word Klezmer[12] comes from the Hebrew root klayzemer which means instrument of song.­The early klezmorim seldom used printed music.­They'd learn the music by ear and they passed their melodies down from one generation to another. Although some klezmorim were virtuosic players, anti-semitic laws[13].barred Jewish musicians from many of the great conservatories until the twentieth century.­Klezmorim were often intinerants and they traveled from town to town.­They were very versatile and they played for all kinds of weddings and celebrations, Jewish and non Jewish.

­

[SINGING]­(Fishel and Molly's Wedding[14])

NETSKY:­Phillip is going to play something, if everybody could please be quiet.

[MUSIC AND DANCING]

NETSKY (V/0);­When I started the band back in 1980, I was already teaching at the New England Conservatory of Music where there was a very creative musical environment and a lot of the students there were fair game for just about any kind of exciting music.­Although actually very few of them had heard or played any Jewish music and I played very little of it myself. My own connection comes well it actually comes from my family in Philadelphia.­I was down in my grandmother's basement poking around for old relics and I chanced upon a very large photo of my grandfather's band[15].

­My uncle Sam was one of the clarinet players in that photo.­And it turned out that he had played lots of klezmer in the twenties and thirties.

NETSKY (O/C):­I think I didn't really hear anything that sounded like the music that I ended up being excited about until I was at my uncle Sam's house and he put on that first Naftule Brandwine[16] record and that's it.­That was that was really it.[17]

[MUSIC] [NETSKY TRANSCRIBES]

NETSKY (V/O):­It really takes a tremendous amount of effort to try to hear the various instruments but in fact it's very much worth it because I didn't grow up hearing music played this way so much and every ornament and every trill is for me something that I have to study.

[SINGING AND MUSIC] [FIRSTS REHEARSAL]

NETSKY (O/C):­It might be worth it to listen for a second. Basically you know I want to do is have parts that are a little bit flexible.­I mean Dave plays something different the second time.­He plays a little more, you know gets a little more wild. Just get more into it.­And then you'll play a few more notes.

NETSKY:­Okay first chorus. MONSON:­First chorus.

HARRIS:­Now this is the b section alright. [MUSIC]­[THEY REHEARSE]

NETSKY:­The kind of stuff I'm talking about is right right there.­I heard ba ba ba ba ba ba, you see what I'm saying?

NETSKY:­But this is where you're going yi yi yi.­One, two, three.­[MUSIC] [THEY REHEARSE]

NETSKY:­I just think it could be a little more expressive [SINGING] right there at the very beginning.

NETSKY:­It's one of these [SINGING] it's got a lot a lot of stuff in it, second section again, one, two, one two three four. [INSTRUMENTS PLAYING]

NETSKY (V/O):­When we hear this music on old recordings it's really obvious that these people come from the eastern european world that was influenced by Rumanian music, and Hungarian music.­And also obvious that when they played jazz this was something they had to learn.­And we don't have to learn the American influences anymore.­We can't really go back sixty years and become members of our grandparents generation.­We have to bring our own backgrounds and experiences to the music and these influence what we play.

[MUSIC] [The Klezmer Conservatory Band in Concert]

BYRON (O/C):­I personally play too many styles of music to really consider klezmer the definition of my whole musical thing and along with that goes the fact the I'm always aware that I'm visiting[18].

­[MUSIC] (Kapelye on the Street) [SINGING]

ALBERT (O/C):­This is an entire world, you know linguistically and musically in terms of a way of thinking, a way of living, a way of dealing with life.­It's you know a "veltele," a little world.­And the yiddish world[19] was an entire world which has been in large part other than in the immigrant communities here was destroyed, it was wiped off the face of the earth.­That's what makes I think Jews, Ashkenazic Jews[20] [21]in the rest of the world, in America in particular, different than say Irish or Italian immigrants, is other people have an old country to go back to. Our old country is gone.

[MUSIC]­[ARCHIVAL PHOTOGRAPHS AND FOOTAGE]

SAPOZNIK (V/O):­If this was only based on people learning music from 78 records, the depth of the understanding of the music would be the thickness of the record.­That's useless.­This is a music of a people, and I thought it was really important that we know who these people were, that we could interact with them. Hear them talk about the music.­And we would learn a lot more then just melodies.

­

[MUSIC] [Schwartz[22] and Alpert[23]]

SCHWARTZ:­I was born in 1902. ALPERT:­I was born in 1954.

ALPERT:­When I first met Leon it was hard to get him to talk a lot about his music maybe to be specific about names of places and people and tunes.­You know he used to say what difference does it make you know?­Why do you need to know their names? What does it matter?­And I'd say you know I wanted to get a picture in my mind of who these people were as much as I could and what the whole environment was like.

SCHWARTZ:­Klezmer music.­What's klezmer music?­Klezmer music is music like every other music.­Music is music.­And when you start working with it you break it up.

[MUSIC] [Schwartz and Alpert play a "Nigun"[24] on violins][25]

­

SCHWARTZ (O/C):­I heard this particular nig'n from a Rabbi, a descendent from the Baal Shem Tov[26] if you've ever heard the Baal Shem Tov?

ALPERT:­He was the founder of Hasidism.

SCHWARTZ:­The founder of the Hassidism.­He used to be usual for a Rabbi to come to certain towns, spend some time with the

­

people and at the meal sing certain songs.­That was a type of entertainment.­That was before radio.­Can you imagine.­So you could almost hear almost everybody was always humming.­Singing, humming, to make it like nice for him a little bit.­Because that was the only thing we had.­Nothing else.

ALPERT:­Were there gypsies who played in Karapchiv or in the Bukovina?[27]

­

SCHWARTZ:­We took them for Jewish weddings. ALPERT:­Oh you did?

SCHWARTZ:­Yeah.­Yes.­And sometimes when I needed the reinforcement for my orchestra I took two or three from them because we had no microphones.­There were nothing to amplify so you had to have an orchestra of twelve meant like nothing.

ALPERT:­Did you like the way the gypsies played?+

SCHWARTZ:­I loved it.­They could take any piece and make it sound gypsy like.

ALPERT:­What was gypsy like?­What did gypsy like...?

SCHWARTZ:­For instance I think like that.

[MUSIC] (They Play)

[VOICEOVER] (Kapelye Plays on the Street)

SAPOZNIK:­Some of the best known klezmorim were those who had the foresight or the luck to actually make it into a recording studio.­There were people like Abe Schwartz who was a violinist who was born in Rumania and he became band leader for Columbia records in 1915.­And he recorded a whole slew of music from Polish, Romanian, Russian, Greek among others.­Very very prolific.

[MUSIC] (Kapelye Plays on the Street)

SAPOZNIK (V/O):­Naftule Brandwine is the clarinetist that was born in Galicia[28] in 1889 who's playing was so colorful and so remarkable that the old timers are still talking about him today.­He died in the Bronx in 1963.

[MUSIC] (Kapelye Plays on the Street)

SAPOZNIK (V/O):­If anyone can be said to be the father of a specific Jewish American sound it is Dave Tarras[29] From his background of being a descendant of many generations of Klezmorim.­Dave's playing has influenced his generation andgenerations that came after him including ours. (In Tarras' Apartment)

TARRAS (V/0[30]):­

To those who will come across this book, please remember I wrote this on my 89th year.­If there is missing a bar or two, also I wrote this depending on my memory [ON CAMERA]­Without instruments.­Depending on my my own ears. When I write a tune I hear the tune in my ears[31].

­

SAPOZNIK:­Was this taken in Ternovka?

TARRAS:­Yeah yeah.­Yes.

SAPOZNIK:­And how old were you?

TARRAS:­That's me.­I don't believe it.

SAPOZNIK:­How old were you in this picture?

TARRAS:­About nine years.

SAPOZNIK:­Now when you played in your father's band did you play from music?

TARRAS:­We played Jewish weddings, we didn't need no music.­By ear.­Then we played for the peasants.­For rich peasants.­I didn't need mostly polkas, polkas.­But in the neighborhood were a lot of nobility.­You know the time we live was a Graf Potocki[32]. You know what a graf is?

SAPOZNIK:­Like a count. TARRAS:­Count.­Yeah. SAPOZNIK:­Yeah.

TARRAS:­He was the owner of a hundred villages.­So very very often weddings they had people came from Kiev, from Petrograd, even from France to their weddings.

SAPOZNIK:­Did you have to play like classical music?

TARRAS:­Sure.

SAPOZNIK:­Did you have to, like overtures?

TARRAS:­Overtures.

SAPOZNIK:­You played overtures.­Yeah.

TARRAS:­We played mostly waltzes for them.­Different dances like Pas De Quatres[33].

­

REAL STREAM ENDS HERE.­26:53

[SINGING AND MUSIC] (Klezmer Conservatory Band in Concert)

BRESLER[34](V/O):­I didn't grow up speaking Yiddish.­I learned it because I wanted to perform the music.­I work up new material like "Vizotski's Tey" with my Yiddish teacher, a young scholar named David Fishman[35].

[TALKING] [YIDDISH LESSON]

FISHMAN (O/C):­If there's one word to swallow it's ____?_. That's the word if you'd rather blur or swallow in that long sentence.­Not "got" but ___?_ is the word the word you can almost blur over.­Okay.

[SINGING] FISHMAN:­Okay.­Fine.

FISHMAN (V/O):­"Vizotski's Tey[36]" was written by Josh Waletsky[37]

FISHMAN:­It's a new song[38] set in the old country about the plight of the poor old Jewish woman who sells tea Vizotski's tea on the street to the rich women, and the tensions between rich and poor in Jewish life.­Her son, the story that the song tells us about how her son was chosen and drafted into the Russian army.­Her only son as opposed to all the rich people all the rich Jews who had lots of children and whose sons weren't drafted.

[2ND REHEARSAL[39]]

­

RABSON (O/C):­This you know this isn't like anything else we do.­This is like you know we're playing like it was yet another freylekh[40]and it's not, it's a real sarcastic, sort of snide remark.

BRESSLER:­I think the instrument should set off the vocal.­And I think that there's a lot of subtle things in here.­I think you're right Mimi.­I don't think we should just approach as another freylckh.­You know I mean it's not a freylckh, it's a new tune.

RABSON:­If anything I think we should be playing a little softer because we can be a lot more sarcastic when you just you know nudging a little bit.­Like it would be nice for us to be soft and you know subtle sarcastic but also...

LONDON:­Do you give lessons in that?

RABSON:­Do I give lessons?­I give lessons anything now.

RABSON:­­Three hundred dollars an hour.­No just kidding.

RABSON:­But I wanted to say something also about this last chord when you say finally, when she comes out and she says if I were rich my son would be free.­It seems to me that that's the first time that she's really saying what she's really thinking. Like that's the first time you get, to me it seems like you get an open sense of her pain.­Cause it's like you know all of a sudden you have these frontee pianos and you know so the song doesn't ___?__ and it's like all of a sudden it's a totally different thing from saying the czar gave me a great gift you know, he did this wonderful thing, cause this is a straight out, no subtleties.­This is if I were rich my son would be free. That's like a whole different...

LONDON & BERG:­"If I were a rich man..."[41] (LAUGHTER) (Klezmer Conservatory Band in Concert) [MUSIC] [SINGING]

BERG (V/O):­The history of Klezmer drumming follows the history of western drumming.­­Side drums played by the Jews in the Czar's army gave way to the contemporary drumset in America. New drums opened up new ways to play the music.­But the underlying rhythm didn't change.­[ON CAMERA]­Klezmer music is based on a underlying rhythm and there's a lot of ethnic music is based on underlying rhythm.­When I was younger I used to play in salsa bands and the first thing all drummers learn in salsa bands is that there's an underlying rhythm.­And this rhythm is called clave.­And clave sounds like this.­And that runs all the way through a Latin tune.­All the way through.­I mean klezmer has a similar kind of underlying rhythm. Underlying beat.­And some wag in the band who is also a Salsa player for many years decided to name this rhythm the Oyvey[42]. And the oyveye sounds like this.­And like in latin that rhythm runs all the way through a tune.­Now it's not actually played, it's implied.

[DRUMS BEATING] [VIOLIN PLAYING]

RABSON (V/O):­The doina[43] is originally a shepard's lament. [VIOLIN PLAYING]

RABSON:­It's sort of rubato[44], out of time.­this lilting melody.

[SINGING]­(Kapelye plays on the Street, and Archival Images)

NETSKY:­Before the traditional Jewish wedding ceremony the Badkhn[45] was a kind of rhyming poet who would sing to the bride all kinds of ironic verses usually about the terrible mistake she was making and the musicians would chime in with their own kinds of poignant lines.­The doina gives the same sense of irony and sadness.­And it's a form that really lives on.

[MUSIC AND INSTRUMENTS PLAYING]

SAPOZNIK:­It's the context of being able to make your instrument capture the vocal quality of the music when you hear a doina it really sounds like there's a voice.

[INSTRUMENT PLAYING] (Klezmer Conservatory Band)

BYRON (O/C):­Take a piece like the Musiker Doina. These are places kind of where whatever persona that I'm trying to present really come out.­I wanna really present an air of unpredictability and the best way to do that is to pick places where people in the band have-to look to me for what's going to happen next.­And the music is going and there's a chord change or not even really chord change but a voicing change, and I just make them wait.­I just make them wait and I put in more stuff until I feel the there's some tension there.­Maybe until I feel that people are kind of tired of, you know, well we want to get on the next thing maybe I'll wait until that.

[IN TARRAS' APARTMENT]

SAPOZNIK:­Why did you write a piece called postical "Pastikhl's Khulem" - shepards dream?­I mean why why a shepard's dream?

TARRAS:­Look.­I didn't have trouble writing a number.­I sat down.­Give me 2 bars, and I'll write you right now a song.­To name each number.­But I had trouble to name it - each number.

SAPOZNIK:­In Ternovka[46] would these tunes that you have here, would they have had names?

TARRAS:­No.

SAPOZNIK:­How would musicians know what what to play if, if, --what would you say?

TARRAS:­A Pastikhl's Khulem[47] is always played by one man. Because you have to give out your feelings.­I have one way feeling and you have another one.­But when came came to play, two quarters, dance, a hora, sirba[48], freylekhs, so well, everybody play.

­

SAPOZNIK:­But the idea of naming a tune is something that happened in America.

TARRAS:­Yeah. [ARCHIVAL IMAGES]

SAPOZNIK (V/O):­The music was no longer the music.­It was now turned into a commodity.­Tunes were chopped up into little segments and given these abstract names because the record companies in order to have titles to put in their record catalogues suddenly forced the music to fit into these little packages that could now put into their monthly catalogues and their updates.­The music was no longer a context within the society.­It was now something to be sold like Columbian victor.

[CONGREGATION BETH EL]

NETSKY (V/O):­The klezmer revival has really created an atmosphere where people use the music for their own celebrations once again.

NETSKY:­Many congregations use us at Simhat Torah[49] time when we help them out in their singing and dancing and celebrating the fact that they're completing the Torah[50] and starting over again with the story of creation.

NETSKY:­We play seven different dances[51],

each faster then the last one.­And when we start a Simhat Torah party we never know when it's going to end.

[MUSIC AND DANCING]

BRESSLER:­When I told my grandfather that I was interested in pursuing a professional career I'll never forget it.­He looked at me, gave me a long long stare and he said, "a life in the theater[52] is very hard."­My grandfather lived on Second Avenue in New York for years and years and years.­He worked with many people.­I know for instance that he worked with Michael Michalesko[53]There's a picture taken of them in Lublin Poland. My grandfather was a tiny man but he had a very very big voice. My grandmother's two sisters were Salka.­She married Menasha Skulnik.­One of my grandmothers other sisters was named Losha. She married Misha German.­They worked in the theater[54] both in Europe and in America extensively.

I think it was a theater that allowed people to really come in and forget their troubles and be very raucous and somewhat participatory and..... klezmer music and Yiddish theatre music particularly I think are so closely related.­It's really just brother and sister.

[MUSIC] (Klezmer Conservatory Band in Concert)

BESSLER (O/C):­Life is tough Donzo, and while you're figuring it out - nokh a mol - oy gevalt![55]

[MUSIC] [SINGING[56]] (Klezmer Conservatory Band in Concert)

NETSKY (V/O):­When I got to the point where I really needed to find out more about the Yiddish theater, everyone told me I had to go see Ben Gailing[57] because he had performed for many years in the Yiddish theatre in New York and elsewhere.

[WOLW]

GAILING (O/C):­The late Percy Brand[58] may his soul rest in peace. His violin talks even now to the hearts of people and of course his violin saved his life from going into the gas chambers in a concentration camp in Germany.­And when an uncle of his living in Boston brought him and his wife who was also in a concentration camp to Boston, the uncle called me right away and brought him over to me and I had at that time on the air I began interviewing him he cried and I cried and I said well let your fiddle talk.­And it spoke to the hearts of people then and even now after his death Percy Brand his name will never be forgotten as long as Ben Gailing will still be alive and be on the air and play for you songs including his.­May his soul rest in peace. Now again back to our sponsors.­If you wish to fill up your belly with gourmet food and the best of del is.­So be wise, take my advice, and come to the Putterham Deli.

­The Putterham deli[59]is located at 1012....

­

NETSKY (V/O):­In 1926 Ben played Moshe the fiddler in a play called Mendel Spivak starring Maurice Schwartz and Celia Adler[60]. For the scene where he played the fiddle in fact they wanted very dramatic.­And he jumped up on the table and played his tune.

GAILING (O/C):­And they liked it and.....

NETSKY:­Do you remember what you played?­What tune did you play?

GAILING:­The melody?

GAILING:­[SINGING]

[ARCHIVE IMAGES AND TRAVELING SHOT]

NETSKY (V/O):­The large wave of Eastern European immigration ended in the nineteen twenties when our government established immigration quotas[61], but it didn't mean that the music was less popular in fact it became more popular here and created a style that many people in my parents' generation grew up with.

NETSKY:­When I go back to Philadelphia it's a real test. ­The people there grew up with all the Yiddish theatre tunes that we play and I always wondered whether they would approve of our versions.

[NEWMANN CENTER]

NETSKY (O/C):­I want to mention members of my family's are musicians who were in the audience who helped me get started in this music and I think it's really to them that I owe in fact knowing about this music at all so I'm going to embarrass them and ask them to stand up because I've noticed that they're here. First of all my uncle Sam.­Dr. Samuel Katz[62], fine coronet player.­And we had — and also a wonderful dentist.­And Jerry Adier, a fixture on the music scene for all these years.

NETSKY:­Come on — come talk to Uncle Same.

BERG:­Where is Uncle Sam? So you have a bone to pick?

SAM:­I'm going to fight with you!

BERG:­If you want to play drums really, here's a guy sitting near me, I said what's the Jewish beat because I've been criticizing the band on that?­And he said the Jewish beat is ta-ta-ta-ta-ta -- ask him what to do and if you play that it would be so much greater you would see it.­And I'll tell you something, you may not like me for saying it, and I told you I'm very honest about it, that last record that you made I didn't like at all because in the first place it was monopolized by singing which shouldn't be.

BERG:­Hey Hankus, come here a second.­No, now it's your turn. Did you hear what he just said.­He didn't like the last record cause it's all singers.

NETSKY:­I know and he told me that and he said the same thing.

SAM:­You guys, like you guys are peasants.

BERG:­That's right.­That's exactly how we're treated.­Like peasants.­Well we are.­­We're sideman[63], that's a musicians --That's the way it always is with musicians.

SAM:­No you guys are great and you don't know it.

BERG:­Do you know there's a craft in being a backup musician to.

­

SAM:­Yes.­So it is.

­

BERG:­And that's what we're doing.

­

[MUSIC PLAYING] (Klezmer Conservatory Band in Concert)

­

BERG:­The klezmer conservatory who?

SAM:­Even though your playing old tunes and you're klezmer and you want to stay there, there are a couple of good Israeli tunes.­If your going to entertain this is a great entertainment.

NETSKY:­Well yeah.­Well we like these tunes.­You know how about if we could play Hava Nagila[64] you know [TALKING TOGETHER]

SAM:­But you've got something here that's international.

NETSKY:­Exactly.­This is what we want to do.

BERG:­Respect your elders.

BERG:­This is my last concert today and it's because I just started a new daytime job and the band is doing a lot of traveling in the spring and I can't get off the time to do the traveling.­So on the one hand I'm very unhappy about it because I won't be able to hang out with everybody anymore.­I won't see them a whole lot.­But on the other hand it's kind of a start of something new for me.­I get to go back to playing the other music.

[MUSIC AND INSTRUMENTS PLAYING] [RECORDING SESSION]

NETSKY (V/O):­In 1933 Sholom Secunda and Jacob Jacobs wrote Bei Mir Bistu Schoen[65] for the Yiddish theatre.

[SINGING]

NETSKY:­The American song writer Sammy Kahn[66] remembered hearing this song a few years later up in Harlem in an all Black revue. It was being sung in Yiddish and the crowd was going wild.­Well he decided to bring the song to the Andrew sisters[67] who had only recently broken into show business.

[SINGING]

NETSKY:­But the record company didn't want the Andrews making what they used to call a race record[68] so they stopped right in the middle of the session.

[SINGING AND MUSIC]

­

NETSKY:­Finally after much persuasion Sammy Kahn wrote English lyrics to the song.

[MUSIC]

NETSKY:­Bei Mir Bistu Schoen pretty much put the Andrew sisters on the map.­In fact in 1938 it was the biggest hit that had ever been recorded in this country.­There were many other versions of the song afterwards and we do ours based on one by Ella Fitzgerald[69].

[MUSIC] [SINGING] [TARRAS PLAYS CLARINET FOR HIS WIFE]

SAPOZNIK:­When I was a kid growing up I remember going to hotels with my father he was a Cantor and I would sing in the choirs and invariably we'd be there at some of the bigger hotels with people like Dave Tarras and it was just like a standard thing.­No one even thought twice about it.

[SINGING] [KLEZ CAMP]

SAPOZNIK:­I decided that the first klezmer music camp had to be in the Catskills because it's the Catskills![70] And this is where the music, this is where the guys played.­This is where they went in the in the off-season when they weren't busy playing weddings in Brooklyn or in Philadelphia, they were up here playing in the the Catskills and the hotels.­And it was really important to not only have the people who made up the communities but also the setting that really in some ways would would enable us to like feel the continuity.

YOUNG MAN:­Bark is "Koreh".­Now this a birch tree.­Okay.­The white.­A white birch tree.­In Yiddish a birch tree is a Bareza.­Bareza.­But it's also called a "Shavuos Boem." "brezeh, brezeh."

GIRL:­Do you know why?

WOMAN:­Listen to my husband!

YOUNG MAN:­Okay he says it's a poplar.­It's not a poplar.

[LAUGHTER AND SINGING]

NETSKY:­What I hear sounds not really like what your going to need in your heads to really play this on your instrument the way that it's being played here, you know.­There's so many goals in this thing.­And even when you get to the end it's like there's no tomorrow, and you're wondering are you going to make that downbeat.­Yes!­­You know, and it comes and it's exciting and it's even more exciting to get the next one and that's the kind of intensity.­So let's try that again.­Let's really try to try to hit those, hit those downbeats.­Let's just do the first section.­Okay.­Just the first section just a few times here okay.­One, two, three, [SINGING]

SAPOZNIK:­The klezmer revival[71] has spawned a new generation. Musicians from all over the U.S. and Canada and Europe are learning klezmer tunes from records just like we did.­The problem is they're our records.­We've become the models.­It's kind of like a game of telephone where each player is further from the original source.

SAPOZNIK:­The young musicians need to meet the second generation players like Sid Beckerman who learned klezmer music from his father.­Pete Socolow was Dave Tarras' accompanist for years.­These players never stop playing klezmer dance tunes. Immigrants who grew up in the towns of Eastern Europe carry that whole world in their heads.

RABSON (O/C):­I'm not sure how to phrase this tactfully but my fathers parents come from Wyszowa[72] and he was born here in Brooklyn and when I told him I was playing klezmer music he said oh that's interesting.­He says that he remembers klezmer musicians you know in Brooklyn as being sort of one step above beggars because they could at least play for a penny.

BKG:­Could be.­But let me ask these guys because they can tell us.­Alright.­What was the status of the klezmer.­What kind of stuff.... would you want your daughter to marry a klezmer?

SAPOZNIK:­It's too late to answer that question.

BKG:­So tell us.­Tell us.­What was the story of the klezmer.

BKG'S FATHER:­Definitely no.­It was a poor poor living.

SAPOZNIK'S MOTHER:­I agree.­Nobody wants their daughter to marry a klezmer.­I mean my son is a musician....

SAPOZNIK:­Almost nobody.

SAPOZNIK'S MOTHER:­Well — somebody.

BKG'S FATHER:­In our towns there was no specific klezmer band or a klezmer person.­He could play klezmer music and he played klezmer but he was not exclusively klezmer.

BKG:­Now listen, what was the nickname you gave the "badkhn?"

BKG'S FATHER:­Oh.­[SPEAKS YIDDISH]

BKG (TRANSLATING):­There's a guy, the "badkhn".­The "bodkhm" was often part of a klezmer band.­He could be part of the band; he could be an independent.­But to give you a sense of a status my dad says that between weddings he had to make a living so he was a "door knob polisher."­Now what is "door knob polisher?"

BKG'S FATHER:­A "beytler."

BKG (TRANSLATING):­A beggar.­He went from door to door opening doors.­So he was polishing the doors.

[SINGING] [AIRPLANE]

NETSKY (V/O):­In the summer we toured the midwest starting in Minnesota.­Garrison Keillor had invited us to perform on a Prairie Home Companion and we knew we would be heard by a large national audience[73].

­

­

[MUSIC]

KEILLOR (O/C):­Welcome back now to this second half of our live broadcast of a Prairie Home Companion from the World Theater in downtown St. Paul, celebrating a couple of weddings here.­A couple of recent ones.­The Parkers who got married in Wilmer at 11:00 this morning came down to see our show today.­Did you have music like that at your wedding in Wilmer?­You you are shaking your heads.­They did not have that out in Wilmer this morning. No sir.

NETSKY:­Why not?

KEILLOR: I don't believe you could play music like that in the Not in Wilmer.­Not in Candiohi county in Minnesota, After dark yes, maybe, in certain parts of town.

­

[MUSIC]

NETSKY:­(V/o) That day was a real marathon.­We rehearsed and played the radio show in the afternoon and then two hours later in the same theatre we did a full concert of our own.

­

NETSKY:­Mimi Rabson, music from Bukovina.­Music from Romania.

[MUSIC]

NETSKY (V/o):­This is the way I hear music.­It's a kind of screaming music you know.­It's music that really blares out it's roots. If I hear music in my head it sounds like this.­It sounds [HE SINGS...] but those are sounds that I was told for years I shouldn't make.­And somehow I'm very at home with those sounds. And it's really nice to be able to make them.

[MUSIC[74]]

For rights and permissions contact:

Contact Folkstreams about this material.

 

Permalink (Permanent link to this page.)