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Giving klezmer their bestest
By BARRY DAVIS
05/04/2010
The Bester Quartet concert at Jerusalem’s Beit Shmuel this Thursday promises to be something of an eclectic musical experience.
The Bester Quartet concert at Jerusalem’s Beit Shmuel this Thursday (8:30 p.m.), under the auspices of Confederation House, promises to be something of an eclectic musical experience. The Cracow, Poland-based ensemble was founded in 1997 by accordionist and arranger Jaroslaw Bester. Known originally as Cracow Klezmer, the group started out as a traditional klezmer music act. Over the years, however, the foursome took a wide range of folk music influences on board that blended elements of traditional Jewish music, contemporary jazz, and Balkan music.

Bester and his cohorts – violinist Jaroslaw Tyrala , accordionist, clarinetist and percussionist Oleg Dyyag and double bass player Wojciech Front – began to fuse all these genres into a original, unique style. The band’s debut album, De Profundis, came out in September 2000 on John Zorn’s New-York-based Tzadik label, and it soon benefited from the global surge in interest in Jewish music.

A year later the group brought out its second CD with Tzadik, The Warriors, and there have been three more Zorn imprints thus far. In January 2007 the band officially took its current name. Over the years the quartet has appeared at dozens of world music events across the globe and has garnered plaudits, from critics and audiences alike, for the breadth of its repertoire and high quality musicianship. Unlike most klezmer bands, the Bester Quartet often plays dark and meditative, but soulful and dynamic, original virtuoso compositions in the klezmer form. Some songs could be considered dance pieces, but there are none of the traditional merry dance forms. 

For more information: www.confederationhouse.org.
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