AUTHENTIC SZECHUAN COOKING
Music Of My People
Detroit-born Yale Strom's latest book
is a window into the world of klezmer.
for Jewish Research, even for words
that have crossed into everyday
English usage, such as matse for
ela Bartok did it. So did
matzah and Toyre for Torah.
Zoltan Kodaly and, in
Fortunately, the book includes a
America, so did the
Yiddish glossary and an appendix
of klezmer loshn (klezmer lan-
Each of these musicians went
out into indigenous populations to
Many klezmer musicians
gather folk songs which they later
spent all or part of their careers
incorporated into their own work or
in family kapelyes, or music bands.
transcribed just as they heard them.
Strom provides photos of several kape-
So it was with Yale Strom, violin-
lyes, photos that are especially wrench-
playing leader of the klezmer bands
ing when one learns that most of the
Hot Pstromi and Klazzj.
band members were slaughtered dur-
In the introduction to his newly
ing the Holocaust.
published The Book ofKlezmer: The
Strom also investigates the evolution
History, The Music, The
of Jewish festive music in
Folklore (A Capella Books;
America, and its acceptance
$28), the Detroit-born
as a legitimate art form.
author — he attended
He `vividly describes the
Vernor School and went
Feb. 26, 1983, appearance
with his father to the
by the Klezmorim —
Stoliner Synagogue on
formed by a group of Bay-
Linwood and Elmhurst —
area musicians in 1975 —
describes how he came to
at that bastion of musical
travel the back roads of
respectability, New York's
Central and Eastern Europe
in search of melodies and
"I was singing quietly to
stories handed down from
myself in khasidic nign
as early as the 14th century.
[Chasidic melody] style to
"The American musicians Yale Strom I7* aces the the various tunes while
who rediscovered klezmer
bouncing in my chair and
history of kle zmer
in the mid-to-late 1970s set from the 14 t h
tapping my feet," Strom
the example for us to fol-
writes. 'An older woman
century to th e 21st.
low," he writes. "But none
turned around and sternly
of them had gone outside
the country to build their repertoires
"I promptly said, 'Lady, klezmer
and educate themselves about klezmer's ain't shush music, it's dance music. If
relevance to Jewish culture."
you want shush music, go to the
Instead of "recycling these already
recycled klezmer tunes," Strom decid-
The Book of Klezmer is an engrossing
ed to go to the source.
account for those who, like Strom,
On his first trip, which began in
want to know more about the art form
1981, he spent 10 months working his than "bidi-bim, bidi-bum."
way from Central Europe to the
And, for those who want a real
Ukraine, recording songs and stories,
hands-on approach, the author
performing with klezmer and Rom
includes a dozen of the little-known
(Gypsy) musicians. He's since returned klezmer melodies he collected on his
to the area more than 50 times,
journeys, all ready to arrange for your
recording music and conversations
own kapelye. 111
with musicians of all kinds and ages,
as well as with survivors of the shtetls
Yale Strom speaks 3:30 p.m.
where music was a constant accompa-
Sunday, Nov. 17, at the Jewish
niment to every life-cycle event.
Community Center in West
Because a Yiddish background is
Bloomfield, preceded by a 3:15
inherent to the world he describes,
performance by the Kidz Klez
Strom uses the spelling established by
the New York-based YIVO Institute
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