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The Hebrew word "Klesemer"

consists of the parts “Kle” (instrument, container) und “Semer” (song) and primary means “instrument”, later also “musician” and finally all the traditional wedding music was called “Klesmer”.

Klesmermusic primary consists of well known melodies of the jewish environment, of synagogal songs (chasanuth), of songs sung on shabbat (z’mirot) and chassidic melodies (nigunim). Further you can notice that this music was influenced by music of the non-jewish world. The socially low estimated klesmorim have thus been important intermediators between sceptical and even hostile neighbours. They had no problems to play music in non-jewish houses together with non-jewish musicians. The also had good contact to another disadvantaged group – the Roma and to their musical style which has got a lot of similarities whith jewish music.

A large part of this music – musicians as well as the audience – and also most of the documentary material were extinguished during WWII and the time of Stalinism. During the last three decades there emerged the so called „Klesmer-Revival“, starting from the US and Israel which was highly accepted by the audience. Also a lot of interested and involved musicians are working on discovering and recovering the roots of this art and try to connect to this great legacy. (after a German text by Thomas Dombrowsky)

Ensemble Klesmer Wien 20 years ago Ensemble Klesmer Wien was founded with the intention to revitalize klesmermusic. Their repertoire consists of instrumental traditional music (sher, bulgar, doina, kolomejke, frejlech, …) but also of jiddish folksongs, chassidic songs, nigunim and even theatre songs. They complete their concerts with chassidic anecdotes and humorous stories.
Tours of the past years: Israel, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Italy, Germany, The Netherlands. As they are experts in that field they often have been invited to offer workshops for jewish music.