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August 23, 2002 - Image 84

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-08-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Arts & Entertainment

CULTURE from page 82

Di Naye Kapele:
"We're trying to give
life to an authentic
style and not treat it
as a museum piece,"
says the klezmer
group's founder,
Bob Cohen.

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Authentic Style

Roots also are very important to Bob
Cohen, who settled in Hungary after
traveling from New York to explore his
mother's homeland and its music 13
years ago. Once involved with the
country, he formed Di Naye Kapelye
(The New Band), a klezmer group
that boasts a string orientation and
also is new to "Ashkenaz."
"The clarinet is there, but the violin
is the lead instrument in our band,"
says Cohen, 46, who combed the out-
skirts of Hungary and Romania to
find people who had played in bands
of the past and could teach him the
sounds.
"We're trying to give life to an
authentic style and not treat it as a
museum piece. We want to play happy
music and use some acoustic tricks so
that it all sounds the way people
dance."
Cohen's Saturday and Sunday per- ,
formances in Toronto will emphasize
the music he found in Romania and
recorded for his most recent CD,

Mazeldiker Yid.
Cohen traces his interest in music to
a blackout in New York during the
1960s. Left with lots of time and no
TV, he tried playing his father's har-
monica. Later, he went on to the man-
dolin and violin and performed world
music in Boston, where he was a lan-
guage researcher at Boston University.
"We'll be playing music that was
popular when the Jewish presence was
strong in Eastern Europe," says
Cohen, who has served as a musical
consultant and did arrangements for
the film Jacob the Liar. "Sixty years
after the Holocaust, I'm still looking
for something that was there."

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84

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This N' That

Among the other klezmer groups
appearing at Ashkenaz are the Cracow
Klezmer Band, Flying Bulgar Klezmer
Band and Khevrisa.

The theater program includes Seder,
which has teens looking for musical
heroes with the help of a star from the
Yiddish stage, and The Trials of John
Demjanjuk, which probes the fate of
an accused Nazi.
The Last Klezmer, a film produced
by former Detroiter Yale Strom, docu-
ments the life of a musician, while
Jewish Luck introduces audiences to a
Russian silent movie made in 1925.
Paint and photo artists, sing-along
programs, street entertainers and a
Fressers' Paradise at the World Cafe
round out the festival.
"I hope people leave the festival with
a broader understanding of what
Jewish culture is," Smolkin says. "I
want people to especially take note of
that through a multimedia installation
and the parade on Sunday." ❑

"Ashkenaz: A Festival of New
Yiddish Culture" runs Aug. 31-
Sept. 2 at the Harbourfront,
Centre in Toronto. Many per-
formances are free; althou g h some
do charge admission. Kurt and
Annette Bjorling will join Mitch
Smolkin 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept.
1, at Lakeside Terrace. Smolkin
reads from White Challah 2:30
p.m. Monday, Sept. 2, at the
Studio Theatre. Kaeja d'Dance
will appear noon Monday, Sept. 2,
at the Studio Theatre. Kaflea and
Son will be performed 8 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 31, and 7 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 1, at the Studio
Theatre. Di Naye Kapelye will
entertain 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug.
31, at the Harbourfront Centre
Concert Stage and 6 p.m. Sunday,
Sept. 1, at the Ann Tindal Stage.
For more information and a com-
plete schedule, call (416) 703-
6892 or go to the Web site at

-

www.ashkenazfestival.corn.

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