Starting twenty years ago as a group of buskers playing traditional Yiddish party music on the streets, the Amsterdam Klezmer Band has evolved into an internationally celebrated band with a rock solid live reputation. The AKB reenergizes the sound of Klezmer by casually throwing contemporary styles and techniques into the mix. The band keeps traditional music fresh, urgent and very danceable. Audiences all over the world love it, and The Magnificent Seven of Klezmer unleash a dance party wherever they take the stage.
The AKB is both streetwise and classically trained. The seven band members embody the spiritual kindred of the klezmorim: the professional Jewish musicians who travelled across Eastern Europe two centuries ago. However, the band is not dogmatic or limited by traditions and expectations. The AKB embraces the most diverse musical styles and cultures as they go along. Influences from jazz, ska, dance or hip-hop fall effortlessly into place. The result is a distinctive breed of progressive Klezmer music, in which the Amsterdam spirit of freedom and tolerance is always present.
The band plays clubs, concert venues, and festivals all over the world. They have performed in 34 countries, including Brazil, Mexico and South Korea. The AKB was successful long before the Balkan hype became a worldwide phenomenon. It turned out that their unique sound was perfect for the popular Balkan Beats. Many of their songs were being sampled and mixed by dance producers. The Shantel mix Sadagora Hot Dub, for example, became a genuine club hit.
The band’s creative and innovative attitude continues to inspire a new generation of fellow musicians. The band frequently collaborates with guest musicians and producers. To promote 2014 album Blitzmash, the band hit the road with an XL line-up, including drums and electronics, adding even more power and urgency to their music. The Blitzmash extravaganza became an international club and festival hit.
In 2014 the Amsterdam Klezmer Band embarked on a poetic theatrical tour in which the band explored new layers within their music. The performance Benja allowed time for longer pieces with subtle solos and compelling interplay of brass. Benja received rave reviews and drew full houses. And despite the more subdued mood, by the end of the evening the crowd was cheering and dancing once again. The inevitable result of the AKB’s infectious music and passionate energy. (taken from their website)
Mokum is the Yiddish word for ‘city.’ For hundreds of years it has also been
slang and something of a pet name for Amsterdam as the free port and haven for
dissidents from every corner of the globe. Mokum has offered religious, political and
creative refuge to a host of Jews, Huguenots, artists and free thinkers, to which the
likes of Descartes, Vivaldi, John Adams, Chet Baker and Dutch provo activist Roel
van Duijn can attest.
That special blend of longing for freedom and the desire to create a home where one
is truly welcome is at the fundamental root of the Amsterdam Klezmer Band. ‘Mokum’
is also the title of the CD that celebrates the septet’s fifteenth anniversary. What
better reason then to make Mokum a live album since their concerts in over thirty-two
countries have earned them a resounding reputation. It’s release party marks their
1000th gig. They have played at such prestigious festivals as North Sea Jazz (NL),
Sziget (HU), Ollin Kan (MX), Ashkenaz (CA), Jarasum (KR), Moscow Jazz (RU) and
Lowlands (NL) and renowned venues as Paradiso (Amsterdam), Cité de la Musique
(Paris), Batschkapp (Frankfurt), Babylon (Istanbul) and Concertgebouw (Mokum).
And that for a band that began playing in the street.
Each member of Amsterdam Klezmer Band are virtuoso players in their own right,
having studied at both conservatory and school of hard knocks and who have all paid
their dues on the jazz, funk and Latin scenes. This omnivorous attitude allows the
band to bring out the true essence of klezmer, that party and wedding music with a
tinge of melancholy that originated in 19th century Eastern Europe and was played
by itinerant Jewish musicians – ‘the klezmorim’ – who absorbed everything that came
their way into their music. As contemporary heirs to this tradition, this magnificent
seven mix contemporary styles into the steaming melting pot.
Balkan blues embrace 4/4 time Yiddish scales that alternate with blistering passages
of sirba merging straight into Mokum rap from Amsterdam’s Jordaan district.
On ‘Mokum’ Amstel, Danube and Bosphorus flow together, surging home into one
big, warm free port. (by Stan Rijven)
Jasper de Beer (bass, guitar banjo, background vocals)
Job Chajes (saxophone, vocals & bass on 10.)
Alec Kopyt (vocals, percussion)
Gijs Levelt (trumpet)
Joop van der Linden (trombone, percussion)
Janfie van Strien (clarinet, background vocals)
Theo van Tol (accordion)
01. Di Naie Chuppe (Chajes) 2.48
02. Takaj Zhizn (Janfie van Strien/Alec Kopyt) 3.50
03. Fryske Bulgar (v.d.Linden) 4.54
04. Son (Levelt/Kopyt) 4.35
05. Magnificent Seven Medley (Chajes(v.Strien/Levelt) 4.59
06. Di Zilberne Chassene (Traditional) 4.14
07. Blue Hora (v.Strien) 5.19
08. Marusja (v.Tol/Kopyt) 6.31
09. Op een Goppe (Chajes) 3.49
10. Noushka (d.Beer) 4.30
11. Naie Kashe (Chajes/ Kopyt) 3.17
12. Pluk (Levelt) 6.10
13. Oscar’s Cocek (Levelt) 4.23
14. Chassid in Amsterdam (Chajes) 3.13
15. Limonchiki (Traditional) 3.39
16. Koningsplein (Chajes) 3.41