Kean Stage Presents The Klezmatics, a 'Jewish Roots Band'
The Klezmatics will perform their modern take on Eastern European Jewish music at 3 p.m. on Sunday, December 8 at Enlow Recital Hall, 215 North Ave., Hillside, on Kean University's East Campus.
Since their emergence more than 30 years ago, The Klezmatics have raised the bar for this age-old, nearly forgotten art form and helped change the face of contemporary Yiddish culture. Although often called a "Jewish roots band," the music is both traditional and progressive, incorporating jazz, folk, Latin, rock and even punk influences. It will appeal even to those who are not familiar with the genre.
The band has three original members - Lorin Sklamberg (lead vocals, accordion, guitar, piano), Frank London (trumpet, keyboards, vocals) and Paul Morrissett (bass, tsimbl, vocals) along with longtime members Matt Darriau (kavel, clarinet, saxophone, vocals), Lisa Gutkin (violin, vocals) and Richie Barshay (percussion).
"Klezmer has everything you want ethnically, and yet it's so intertwined with American culture," said Morrissett. "We want to make sure that we are part of a living tradition, and living traditions change; they don't stay in a pickled form."
The songs embrace the band members' political values, supporting issues such as gay rights, human rights and workers' rights.
"From early on, we decided that if we sang songs, they would be ones we believed in," said Sklamberg.
This Grammy Award-winning band has collaborated with a wide variety of artists including Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner, folk singer Arlo Guthrie, beat poet Allen Ginsberg, choreographer Twyla Tharp, pop music icon Neil Sedaka and Israeli singer Chava Alberstein. They have performed sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall as well as Washington D.C., Paris, London and Berlin and appeared on PBS' Emmy Award-winning special, Great Performances: In the Fiddler's House with violinist Itzhak Perlman.
The documentary, The Klezmatics: On Holy Ground, was released in 2010. In response to the film, Time Out New York Magazine proclaimed, "The Klezmatics aren't just the best band in the klezmer vanguard; on a good night, they rank among the greatest bands on the planet."
Tickets are $40-$60 and can be purchased at the Kean Stage Box Office in Wilkins Theatre, 1000 Morris Ave., Union, on Kean University's main campus, by phone at 908-737-7469 or online at keanstage.com.
Founded in 1855, Kean University is one of the largest metropolitan institutions of higher education in the region, with a richly diverse student, faculty and staff population. Kean continues to play a key role in the training of teachers and is a hub of educational, technological and cultural enrichment serving more than 16,000 students. The University's six undergraduate colleges offer more than 50 undergraduate degrees over a full range of academic subjects. The Nathan Weiss Graduate College offers six doctoral degree programs and more than 80 options for graduate study leading to master's degrees, professional diplomas or certifications. With campuses in Union, Toms River, Jefferson and Manahawkin, New Jersey, and Wenzhou, China, Kean University furthers its mission by providing an affordable and accessible world-class education. Visit www.kean.edu.
Kean Stage at Kean University educates, entertains and challenges audiences by presenting high-quality programs that reflect the diversity of the region and of the arts. These cultural offerings complement the intellectual life of the classroom for our students, increase opportunities for community engagement, and provide affordable access to the arts for New Jersey residents. Audiences of all ages are invited to enjoy a wide range of professional theatre, Broadway tours, dance performances, concerts, international films and family-friendly shows. In addition, Kean Stage encourages University students to attend events, and provides several opportunities to explore the performing arts through master classes, workshops, lectures, and employment opportunities as ushers, backstage technicians and box office staff. Visit www.keanstage.com.