Some of the world's best klezmer musicians gathered Friday in the neighborhood that was once home to poor immigrant Jews for a 10-day festival of the music rooted in their Eastern European cultures.
"This is more klezmer musicians in one place than I've ever seen!" said an excited Theodor Bikel, the 83-year-old folk singer and film, television and Broadway actor.
Bikel joined more than 100 musicans from the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Ukraine, Canada and elsewhere in a parade that kicked off at the historic Eldridge Street Synagogue.
"Klezmer has become an umbrella for all different styles of Jewish music," said Yale Strom, a leading klezmer ethnographer, violinist and composer who organized the festival with a $150,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.