Delving deep into the celebratory and lively music of Jewish Eastern Europe, The London Klezmer Quartet brings fresh life to an almost-lost folk tradition.
Joined by clarinettist Susi Evans from She'Koyokh, they offer offer the latest Amici Concerts gig in Chichester, with a date on Thursday, November 24 at 7.30pm at The Chapel of the Ascension, Bishop Otter Campus, College Lane, Chichester, PO18 6PE.
LKQ's concert programmes and four albums include songs with themes ranging from food and love to conscription and exile. Their sounds with inventive arrangements, virtuosity, original tunes and soulful old melodies are presented with colourful stories about musicians' lives to take you on a journey from the Baltic to the Black Sea and beyond.
As Ilana Cravitz, from the Quartet, explains, the Chichester date is part of the tour for their new album, To The Tavern, which came out in September: “We have had some really nice reviews. We based it around a story that somebody gave us at a concert, about a Klezmer band that arrives in a town. There is a fair percentage of our own compositions in there which we have mingled with traditional stuff. But it tells a story!
“The guy was an author and he had a short story and thought it would work for us. He came up to us and said ‘You might be interested in this.’ Our accordion-player read it, and she is a very visual person. It sparked her imagination. The story definitely conjured up pictures and it fits in so well with the way we do things.
“We formed in 2009. We were all people that liked traditional klezmer, the sort that is based on hours of listening to old records and liking old books and understanding how these sounds from different areas come together. We all come from different musical backgrounds, and it is easy to appreciate music on a page in a certain way. You look at music from the early 20th-century and there is a particular style that relates to the Yiddish language. We play in that style anyway which we have learnt by listening to the old records. We have assimilated it.
“It’s very nice to think that you are continuing those traditions but also carrying them on by composing new pieces that fit into those traditions. We don’t cross over into jazz or reggae or whatever. There are other people that will do that. We try to stay in the tradition and move forward with it.”
The band was swiftly picked up by some of the UK’s foremost folk and world music promoters – Songlines Magazine, Continental Drifts and The Magpie’s Nest offered stages for the group's unique combination of artistry and exuberance. Albums have since followed
“We started off with a cellist, but when we first went to Australia, she couldn’t come with us, so we looked for somebody else to be in the band. Indra joined us and became our bass player. We also discovered that she could sing. She has got what is described as a rich contralto voice, and we have been lucky to include that as another important aspect to what we do.”
The band is: Ilana Cravitz (violin), Susi Evans (clarinet), Carol Isaacs (accordion), Indra Buraczewska (double bass and vocals) and Rupert Gillett (double bass).
More information on http://www.londonklezmerquartet.com. Tickets for Chichester are £16 or £13 concessions from The Novium in Chichester; 01243 775888; or http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/amici-concerts.
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