Biography All Music Guide
Group Members: David Krakauer, David Krakauer / Klezmer Madness, Hasidic New Wave, Frank London's Klezmer Brass Allstars, London - Sklamberg - Schwimmer, Hasidic New Wave And Yakar Rhythms, Alicia Svigals, London / Sklamberg / Caine, Roger Davidson & The Frank London Klezmer Orchestra, Matt Darriau & Paradox Trio With Theodosii Spassov, Matt Darriau Paradox Trio, Matt Darriau;Ismail Lumanovski;Patrick Novara, Frank London
All Music Guide:
The Klezmatics take one of the wildest approaches to klezmer, the traditional dance music of the Eastern European Jews. Although their music is heavily influenced by the recordings of Abe Ellstein and Dave Tarras in the 1940s and 1950s, their lyrics comment on a wide variety of political and social issues and have led the group to be labeled "the planet's radical Jewish roots band."
The original members of the Klezmatics -- Dave Lindsay (bass), Rob Chavez (clarinet), Alicia Svigals (fiddle) -- were recruited through an ad in the Village Voice in 1985. Trumpet player Frank London of the Klezmer Conservatory Band joined the group soon afterward. Within a few weeks, the band was expanded with the addition of Lorin Sklamberg (vocals, accordion), Margot Leverett (clarinet), and David Licht (drums). Initially calling themselves "Hortzeplotz," they soon renamed themselves the Klezmatics, a play on words inspired by the rock band the Plasmatics.
Despite their off-the-wall approach, the Klezmatics are held in high esteem for their musical virtuosity. The group recorded two albums with classical violinist Itzhak Perlman, 1995's In the Fiddler's House and 1996's Live in the Fiddler's House. In 1998, they collaborated with Israeli vocalist Chava Alberstein on an album titled The Well. In 2006, the Klezmatics released Wonder Wheel, an album seven years in the making that features the late Woody Guthrie's lyrics over Eastern European, klezmer, Latin, Celtic, Afro-Caribbean, and folk-flavored music.