Classic klezmer sounds and bold new interpretations Jewish Week (NYC)
One of the finest American klezmer bands
Influences that range from old school Arabic music to Latin jazz to Motown… modern-day purveyors of time-honored traditions.
Metropolitan Klezmer takes a scholarly approach to the genre’s history, yet never skimps on the exuberance at its core.
Anything but stereotypical, and nothing but terrific.
Delightfully rambunctious… hard-swinging, an outstanding group.
New York’s best klezmer band, the music is breathtakingly good.
Metropolitan Klezmer rocks!!
Barry Reisman, WWDB Philadelphia
Exhilarating… high-voltage… deliciously shapeshifting… with a love for resurrecting obscure treasures from across the decades …[an] outside-the-box sensibility informs the band’s originals, which is what distinguishes this group from others in their field: their repertoire is vibrant and in the here and now, and often irreverent.
New York Music Daily
One of America’s most accomplished and inventive klezmer bands
Gay City News
Joyous, evocative & marvelously eclectic music!
Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition
METROPOLITAN KLEZMER, “One of the finest American klezmer bands” (Songlines Magazine), performs an exhilarating range of musical treasure with astonishing agility and refreshing depth. Formed in 1994, this collaborative adventure of eight exceptional New York musicians combines the best of downtown, classical and world music scenes to create inspired neo-traditional interpretations and compositions around a panoply of eclectic Yiddish repertoire: ethereal trance, rollicking dance, imaginatively-arranged Yiddish swing and tango, plus genre-expanding originals
such as klezmer cumbia.
METROPOLITAN KLEZMER bandmates bring together stylistic backgrounds from Albanian to Zydeco, and from Latin jazz to bebop to baroque, complete with a panoramic instrumental array and multi-lingual vocals. Led by drummer/archivist Eve Sicular, the group also explores such lesser-known gems as Soviet Yiddish theater melodies and gorgeous overlooked vintage soundtrack tunes, in addition to bringing unexpected elements together to transform familiar yet surprising favorites. The Essential Klezmer cites their “topnotch” sound, lauding the band’s “exuberant spirit and wit.”
METROPOLITAN KLEZMER latest venues: Musical Bridges Around the World [San Antonio TX], Scottsdale Center for the Arts [AZ], Zeiterion Theatre [New Bedford MA], Count Basie Theatre [NJ], full houses for the band’s Lincoln Center premiere (David Rubenstein Atrium), Lake Eden Arts Festival [NC], and Yamaha Concerts [Miami]. The octet has played repeat engagements at Caramoor Center, East Hampton Guild Hall, The Winter Garden /Brookfield Place, Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts, 92nd St Y Kaufmann Concert Hall, Mason Gross School of the Arts, BlackRock Center (Germantown MD), Usdan Center, City Winery, National Yiddish Book Center, The Jewish Museum, Knitting Factory, The Emelin Theatre, and The Bottom Line. Also: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Joe’s Pub/Public Theater, Museum of Jewish Heritage, Kingsborough CC, Cape May Music Festival, Rams Head (Annapolis), JCC Manhattan, The Museum at Eldridge Street, and NYC’s Center for Jewish History.
METROPOLITAN KLEZMER recordings have been featured by HBO’s SCHMATTA: Rags to Riches to Rags, PRI’s Sound+Spirit, London Royal Ballet’s First Drafts (Covent Garden), SITI Theatre Co’s SCORE (NY Theatre Workshop & national tour), documentary films Grace Paley: Collected Shorts, Esther Broner: A Weave of Women, and I Guess I’ll Never Get to Vegas, and live/concert broadcasts: CNN WorldBeat, Ebru TV’s Rhythm & Roots, ARD German TV’s Rhythms of NY. Radio: WFUV (CityFolk), WFMU (TransPacific Sound Paradise), WVBR (Bound for Glory). Exhibitions: Activist New York (Museum of the City of New York), Chagall & the Artists of the Russian Jewish Theater (The Jewish Museum, NY; and Contemporary Jewish Museum, SF). Airplay has also included CBC’s Roots & Wings, Polish Radio Lublin, WDR’s Funkhaus Europa/Mondo Cannibale, Australia’s Hot Club, UK’s Folkswagon, Argentina’s Radio Jai, Northeast Public Radio Live from The Linda, PRI’s This Way Out, and over 200 stations worldwide.
METROPOLITAN KLEZMER’s stellar bandmates have individually performed, recorded and toured with the likes of Rufus Wainwright, Mark Morris, Indigo Girls, Bill Frisell, Bonnie Raitt, David Del Tredici, Burning Spear, Balkan Brothers, Jimmy Scott, Anthony Braxton, New York City Opera, Hazmat Modine, Marshall Crenshaw, Natalie Merchant, Butch Morris, Elliott Sharp, Dave Douglas, Sounds of Taraab, Robin Holcomb, The Microscopic Septet, Wilco, Smyrneiki Kompania, The Voodoobillies, Toots & the Maytals, Los Mas Valientes, Seattle Baroque, Toshi Reagon, Opera Omnia, and Scissor Sisters, as well as Jewish musical artists including The Klezmatics, Yemen Blues, David Krakauer, Andy Statman, Michael Alpert, Isle of Klezbos, Basya Schechter, and Charming Hostess. The band’s accolades include grants from New York State Council on the Arts, NYC’s Department of Cultural Affairs, Sparkplug Foundation, and multiple Outmusic Awards. Recent projects by bandleader Eve Sicular – J. EDGAR KLEZMER: Songs from My Grandmother’s FBI Files, and The Yiddish Celluloid Closet – have premiered at NYC’s Dixon Place, Galapagos ArtSpace, and The JCC in Manhattan. For the centenary of the Triangle Fire, METROPOLITAN KLEZMER performed the band’s own original arrangements of Yiddish ballads from 1911 (including a recently rediscovered, strikingly poignant period piece) at Cooper Union’s Great Hall memorial concert.
METROPOLITAN KLEZMER’s fifth album, Mazel Means Good Luck, was released to coincide with the band’s 20th anniversary late in 2014. In addition to the band’s CD releases by Rhythm Media Records, METROPOLITAN KLEZMER tracks also appear on numerous compilations including Music from the Winery on John Zorn’s Tzadik label. The UK’s Phat Planet lauds their music as “brilliant and breathless…mixing levity with the gravity,” while Belgium’s Rootstown acclaims “the absolute top of the genre.”
Ismail Butera: accordion
Pam Fleming: trumpet, flugelhorn, kudu shofar
Melissa Fogarty: vocals
Dave Hofstra: bass, tuba
Debra Kreisberg: clarinet, alto sax
Reut Regev: trombone
Eve Sicular: drums, bandleader
Karen Waltuch: viola
MAZEL MEANS GOOD LUCK Best Albums of 2014, NY Music Daily
TRAVELING SHOW, 2007: Best CDs of the Year, Jewish Week & LA Jewish Journal – 5 stars!
SURPRISING FINDS, 2003: Worldbeat Top 30, The phat planet (UK); Outmusic Award
MOSAIC PERSUASION, 2001: (with Isle of Klezbos): Outmusic Award; Top Ten, Jewish Week
YIDDISH FOR TRAVELERS, 1998: Top 10 Klezmer CDs, Moment Magazine & The Essential Klezmer