klezmer band 88.
(photo credit: )
'In the old country, no one took klezmer musicians seriously," says Elena Geiko, administrative director of the Tapuach beDvash (Apple with Honey) klezmer ensemble. "They were seen as people who made music just for money, and they played not only at Jewish but also at Christian weddings. Good families would never allow their daughter to marry a klezmer musician."
Tapuach beDvash, founded in 2003 by accordionist Anatoly Geiko, does not play at wedding parties. While its members specialize in traditional Jewish music, their repertoire encompasses a variety of ethnic styles, as their upcoming concerts in Petah Tikva on Thursday October 19 and Ariel October 21 will demonstrate.
The members of the ensemble are professionals from the former USSR - Geiko (accordion, folk instruments, arrangements); Pavel Levin (violin); Ira Goifeld (clarinet); Alexey Yegorov (balalaika, sax); and Timur Saitov (guitar, oud).
"We started with the usual klezmer repertoire, but unlike many other ensembles we included instruments not immediately associated with klezmer, such as balalaikas and ethnic percussion instruments. Who knows, maybe klezmers of the past played balalaikas, too!"
Geiko explains that the klezmer pieces they perform are serious concert works based on klezmer themes. Feeling constrained by the limitations of pure klezmer music, the ensemble branched out, spicing their arrangements with Russian, Ukrainian and Romanian touches. They also make sallies into Latin American, Irish and Mizrachi cultures, working with singers and dancers.
Lately the ensemble, which has participated in various festivals in Israel and abroad, has recorded a program dedicated to the great Yiddish poet Izik Manger. A folklore theater group, also called Tapuach beDvash, was founded in 2005.
The current program - The Folklore Feast with Tapuach beDvash - features Russian vocal and instrumental music, as well as ethnic music from various parts of the world. Dancers Yulia Zaharova and Alex Mishak (Russian and Gypsy dance) and Andrey and Nathaly Balaban (Latin American), as well as singer Elana Karelina participate.
The concerts take place at Sharret Hall in Petah Tikva (October 19 at 7:30 p.m.) and at Payis Hall in Ariel (October 21 at 8 p.m.).