Year of Klezmer
2022-23 is the Year of Klezmer – working with schools in South Somerset with workshops and performances in March.
Klezmer is Jewish music that originated in Eastern Europe, in countries such as Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova and Rumania. A hundred years ago these countries had big Jewish populations who spoke Yiddish and used to play klezmer for weddings and celebrations that involved a lot of dancing.
Due to the events of the Second World War klezmer was almost completely wiped out, but a handful of Jewish folk musicians in America led the klezmer revival in the 1970s, and since then many klezmer bands have sprung up all around the western world.
The word ‘klezmer’ actually means musician in Yiddish. 100 years ago the klezmorim (plural for klezmer) were Jewish men, but these days anyone can be a klezmer, Jews and non-Jews of any gender, and you can play klezmer on any instrument, but the most common ones are violins, flutes, clarinets, accordions and a drum called ‘poik’, which is a bass drum with a cymbal attached.
Hop-Skotshne is an ensemble comprised of Susi Evans on clarinet, Szilvia Csaranko on accordion and Flora Curzon on fidl (violin). Susi, Szilvia and Flora have been playing Klezmer individually and together for many years, studying, performing at, and later teaching at world-leading Klezmer programs in London (Klezfest) and Germany (Yiddish Summer Weimar).
Susi Evans lives in London and Hannover and studied classical clarinet at the Royal Academy of Music. She has been playing klezmer and Balkan music since 2001 and performs worldwide with her bands She’Koyokh and the London Klezmer Quartet. She is regarded as one of Europe’s top klezmer clarinettists as well as performing on accordion and calling for Yiddish dances. She also dedicates her time to studying Bulgarian and Serbian clarinet styles and plays Frula (Serbian flute) and Gaida (Bulgarian bagpipes).
Szilvia Csaranko lives in Hannover and is a qualified cultural educator, accordionist and pianist. After completing her classical piano training she shifted her artistic focus to researching and teaching traditional music styles. She founded the klezmer-Balkan-Alpen-folk band A Glezele Vayn in 2004 and plays in numerous folk and world music projects at home and abroad. She is the musical director of an 80-piece Klezmer orchestra in Erfurt: www.klezwecan.de
Flora lives in London and studied classical violin at the Royal Academy of Music. Since completing her studies in 2014 she has been focussing on playing Klezmer, Baroque music, and many traditional fiddle styles, studying with many great masters across Europe and the USA. She tours regularly with her experimental folk duo, Fran & Flora, and has performed around the world, as well as live on Jools Holland, Tiny Desk, BBC Radio 4s Woman’s Hour and BBC6 Music with Cerys Matthews.
Some videos to get you into the swing of things: