Building Klez-munity: The Diverse Klezmer Music Scene in the Pioneer Valley (2017)


Building Klez-munity: The Diverse Klezmer Music Scene in the Pioneer Valley focuses on three musicians who are deeply involved in the klezmer music scene around the valley and the bands they work with. Adrianne Greenbaum is a music professor at Mount Holyoke College and directs the MHC klezmer band. Brian Bender directs the klezmer group at the Jewish Community of Amherst and is also a member of several other performing bands, including the klezmer fusion group Little Shop of Horas. Yosl (Joe) Kurland is a knowledgeable Yiddish instructor and a klezmer musician who has been involved in the klezmer scene since the first klezmer band was established in the valley.

This documentary reveals a diverse klezmer music scene. There is the Mount Holyoke klezmer band that emphasizes improving musical ability. There is the JCA klezmer group that brings musicians from all kinds of musical backgrounds together in a community. The fusion band Little Shop of Horas mixes klezmer tunes with rhythms from other music traditions while the Wholesale Klezmer Band embraces the most traditional form of the music.

Klezmer music plays a significant role in the Jewish community and is treated as a medium for Jewish culture, but at the same time, it interacts with other cultures and welcomes anyone who wants to join. In this joyous dance music, a harmonious “Klez-munity” arises.

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