Amsterdam Klezmer Band
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Amsterdam Klezmer Band

Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands | INDIE

Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands | INDIE
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Amsterdam Klezmer Band @ Werner Richard Saal

Hardecke, None, Germany

Hardecke, None, Germany

Amsterdam Klezmer Band @ Concordia Kunst

Enschede, None, Netherlands

Enschede, None, Netherlands

Amsterdam Klezmer Band @ To be announced

Muhlheim (D), None, Germany

Muhlheim (D), None, Germany

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Out of all the myriad groups taking apart and then rebuilding new repertoire out of klezmer and Balkan music, there can be no doubt that the Amsterdam Klezmer Band are one of the most accomplished bands around. Famed for their cooking live shows and ultra-tight horn section, it was 2007's Remixed album that really set them apart,
pairing their dance floor- friendly licks with top DJs and producers, and allowing Yiddish music to really let loose in the global Gypsy dub revolution.
Now they are back with Zaraza, their fifth original studio album and the second for groundbreaking Frankfurt label Essay. Their recipe of new compositions with sparkling c1arinet, sax and brass melodies,
and infectious accordion- propelled grooves, is as tasty as ever.
The ace in their pack is
undoubtedly singer Alec kopyt
an iconic Odessa born raconteur whose early recordings as Poza
are essential. Here, his trademark sweet-as-sugar but trough as-sandpaper voice is on
typically fine form, lamenting about life on 'Takaj Zhizn’ - although on the intricate, Balkan-sounding 'Gde’ the vocals feel like something of an afterthought, for Kopyt's voice isn't allowed enough space to shine above the densely layered instrumentation.

There's a plethora of act ion- packed
instrumentals, but the best track on the album is 'Op Een Goppe" sung in Dutch. I have no idea what it means, but the rhythm of the language works a treat, somehow giving the band a higher, more organic feel.
All in all, this is another solid, impressive release from one of the best in the business.
- Review Songlines UK [March 2009]

ZARAZA (Essay Aecordings)

Dans sa BD Klezmer, Joann Sfar irnagine que ce que joue son Baron de mes fesses à I'harmonica ressemble à certains airs de l'Amsterdam Klezmer Band, son groupe préféré pour leur expérience des bars et des rues. " On dir-ait les Pogues en Klezmer » ècrit-iI. Sauf que cette forrnatioll originale et dynamique vient de "Mokum”' , Amsterdam en Yiddish, la Jérusalen du Nord. Depuis la chute du Mur Dam et son hareng mariné a attité une galaxle de rnusicîens d'Europe de l'Est, dont Alec Kopyl, chanteur, percussionn;ste . et ex -rockeur ukrainten. qui s'est associé à quelques musiciens ]uifs tlollandais en quête de leurs raclnes pour monter des concerts. Dix albums plus tard, voici leur Zaraza. un élïxir contagieux, a base de compositions originales. suaves, slaves et SI soul.. E.M.

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Amsterdam KlezmerBand
Zaraza [Essay Recordings]

Twee jaar na de sterke balkan beat van Remixed slaat de Amsterdam Klezmer
Band keihard akoestisch terug. Zaraza is een plaat die er vanaf het begin vol inhakt, zoveel mogen we hier wel vast verklappen.
Het grotendeels instrumentale album kwam wederom uit op het Duitse 'dance' label Essay.
Die beats, da's leuk voor even, maar waar het uiteindelijk om draaft is muzikaliteit en pure rock 'n' roll, moet ook platenbaas Shantel hebben gedacht.
En wat beide betreft zit het wel snor bij de AKB, met in de gelederen vakmensen als Janfie van Strien (klarinet), Gijs Levelt (trompet) en Theo van Tol (accordeon).
Klezmer voert (gelukkig) lang niet altijd de boventoon, maar is geïntegreerd in een jazzy pan-balkanmix.
Met de juiste grooves op de juiste plek en vol folky uitspattingen op accordeon, banjo en koperblazers.
Suf wordt het nergens.
Integendeel: Zaraza is de stoerste AKB-plaat aller tijden.
Dat wordt rocken op de releaseparty, 16 januari in Paradiso.
- Dieter van den Bergh

Klezmer die ver buiten de paden treedt
Amsterdam Klezmer Band

AKB is op een speelde manier ontregeld.
UTRECHT In de acht jaar van haar bestaan heeft de Amsterdam Klezmer Band een stevige reputatie opgebouwd. Niet alleen in eigen land maar ook over de grens; binnen de wereldmuziek is dat een opmerkelijke prestatie. Tijdens de eerste Dutch Blend Meeting, vorig jaar in Rotterdam, bleek dat Nederland buiten de grenzen nauwelijks bekend is als leverancier van bijvoorbeeld topklasse latin ofbalkanmuziek, die bovendien vaak vernieuwend is.
En vernieuwend zijn ze, de zeven mannen van de AKB, Hun concert in Vredenburg Leeuwenbergh, donderdag, bestond ondanks duidelijke stijlverwijzingen geheel uit zelfgecomponeerd repertoire. De argeloze luisteraar hoort er misschien vooral klezmer ofbalkan in, stukken als Al/es kan beter en Kesikköprü zijn op een speelse en subtiele manier omregelend en treden ver buiten de geijkte paden,
Saxofonist, woordvoerder en gangmaker lob Chajes staat ervoor garant dat het nooit pretentieus wordt, want een 'moeilijk' stuk wordt steevast gevolgd door een snedige opmerking oLzelfs een regelrechte muzikale dijenkletser, voorzien van een aanstekelijke 'rap' in onvervalst jiddisch .
Een swingend blaasorkestje in een galmende kerkruimte is niet per definitie een goed idee, maar mede dankzij een behoedzaam opererende geluidsman pakte het verrassend positief uit. De verschillende timbres geleerden fraai met elkaar, waardoor janfie van Strien een klarinetsoio bijna ongemerkt kon laten opstijgen vanuit een melodie uit Gijs Levelts trompet.
Een enkele keer werd je als luisteraar door Chajes' ironie op het verkeerde been gezet, want nadat hij een 'heel persoonlijk nummer' had aangekondigd dat trombonist loop van der Linden speciaal had geschreven voor zijn moeder, volgde het lyrische en aangrijpende Netty, bevlogen hoogtepum van de avond.

Ton Maas
Amsterdam Klezmer Band. Vredenburg Leeuwenbergh, Utrecht 15/1

- Ton Maas

Amongst Record bosses the idea exists that the street is not the best step towards stage. A penny will probably never become a pound. This must be the reason why even successful Street musicians are not very likely to sign record contracts. The Amsterdam Klezmerband seems to have proven the contrary. Even though they are
still to be enjoyed on the streets once in a while, their concert at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw next week is already sold out. On top of that, their beautifully produced new Cd 'SON' will be available from today.

Their gig in Paradiso (Amsterdam) last Wednesday proved that Klezmer actually does have a bright future. At least for the Klezmer the Akb deals with. This means a farewell to the old standard klezmer repertoire that accompanied the genre's incredible gain in popularity since the early nineties.

The AKB plays mainly original music, loosely attached to the jiddisj tradition, especially rooted at the Balkan. This also happens to be the place where the ancient Klezmorim found their musical blessings!Hearing the AKB reminds one of the steaming and swirling Boban Markovic horn orchestra from Serbia- especially when the band is cooking, as it was last Wednesday in Paradiso. Eyes closed one could imagine a Bulgarian wedding, as fierce and sharp was the band's playing.

Actually the only thing that the band didn't get lose from their street life is the rather awkward stage presentation and Job Chajes' slightly too familiar ad-libs. The AKB appears to be the perfect vehicle for the band member's compository qualities. Gijs Levelt's (on trumpet) ingenious South Indian Karnatic influenced pieces in particular will serve even the most spoiled listener.

'Although we like parties, we are not a party Band', says Job Chajes halfway the evening. And with his piece Trieste Dromen, a funeral march, dedicated to the victims of the tsunami in Asia the band made this clear. Beautifully modest and slow-paced, it was a much needed interruption to the rushing tempo of the concert.
- Ton Maas, Volkskrant

James brown was the hardest man in showbusiness, once. This title should be rewarded to somebody else by now. But to who? I plea for the members of the AKB.
Sure,their last release Limonchiki is already four years ago. Since then a lot of projects have been taking place amongst band names like Herb spectacles, Bernie’s Lounge, Bhedam en de Jongens Driest.Other groups the akb members play in. And than there’s the tour schedule, which fits more days than a year counts at least for normal people. And then there’s the fact that these gigs make the crowd move, including the roof that usually flies off. Just because of that.

Is there anything negativ to be said? One could accuse the band of lack of progress. This might seem to be true, but it is not, because the band is virtuoso now in playing and mixing genres. (klezmer and traditional eastern European Music)
Could we have some more songs with comical Amsterdam-style singing and rapping? On the other hand there are thrilling songs in Russian now. Also the argument that no Studio recording could ever come close to the live work has become useless from now on. Maybe they beat up their women? Ok, could be.
But that wouldn’t take that title away from them - Roger Teeling


2009 � Zaraza
2006 � Amsterdam Klezmer Band Remixed
2005 � Son
2004 - Man Bites Dog eats AKB
2003 - Katakofti
2003 � Amsterdam Klezmer Band
2003 � AKB and Bob Fosko
2001 - Limonchiki
2000 � Malaloka
1997 � Leib in de Pijp




Songlines magazine said about the latest album: "this is another solid, impressive release from one of the best in the business". The band is together for 13 years now and build themselves an incredible live reputation. They played in many different circumstances as they started in the streets and ended up at festivals like Sziget and Lowlands, did an almost sold out theater tour in the Netherlands last year and as the bandmembers are highly skilled they are also invited by the jazz festivals around Europe. Yiddish music mixed with Balkan, Gypsy and Russian played in an unique line-up with self made compositions.

Here�s what the renowned Dutch daily paper NRC has to say about the AMSTERDAM KLEZMER BAND:�This group has very little to offer to �Klezmer-purists� since Klezmer was never meant to be polished and perfected for concert halls. With their festive approach they take the music out of the conservatory corridors into the street.� It is 2008 and the AKB has been blessed with many enthusiastic fans both in the Netherlands and abroad. Other bands are covering AKB songs and remixes of their tracks are found worldwide. Over the past few years they have performed at many prestigious venues around the world, including the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, and at important festivals such as North Sea Jazz, Ashkenaz, Sziget and Lowlands. The Amsterdam Klezmer bug is spreading...

Hence the title of AMSTERDAM KLEZMER BAND�s latest release ZARAZA. In Slavic languages zaraza means infectious or contagious, in Polish it is the word for epidemic. Zaraza is indeed an infectious album from an extremely virulent and passionate band. The album contains 15 brand new tracks, all original compositions rooted in the Klezmer tradition and infused with Romanian, Turkish, Serbian, Russian and Macedonian sounds. With Zaraza the band has achieved the optimal CD recording of their unique sound and qualities. The AMSTERDAM KLEZMER BAND is showcased in its purest form, with virtuoso and provocative performances by the musicians. On Zaraza the musical fire so characteristic of the AMSTERDAM KLEZMER BAND is stoked to an even greater heat. "Not only do the horns play the signature Klezmer parts like they could do it in their sleep, but also the cool sounds of Dutch hip-hop. Could this be the future sound of Klezmer?" Franz Zipperer/Clarino
The AMSTERDAM KLEZMER BAND story began in 1996. A few Amsterdam boys with Jewish backgrounds became inspired by the catchy sounds of Klezmer music and started busking. Since that time the band has evolved into a seven-member formation which is now the Klezmer and Balkan music pride of the Netherlands. Their lengthy time on the road and extensive experience are now paying off spectacularly. The band just keeps getting better and better and has again reached a new level with Zaraza.

JOANN SFAR All started with a dedication in his comic best seller �Klezmer�. Joann Sfar wrote: �At the beginning of the book, I'm not too sure what tune the Baron of My Backside plays with his harmonica. But I imagine that when it heats up it must sound like some pieces by the Amsterdam Klezmer Band. They're my favorite group. They know what it's like to play in bars. They sound like a Klezmer version of The Pogues. They are giving Klezmer music a street credibility". We are outmost happy that this star of the French comic scene did the cover for this CD. In his work Sfar expresses a pleasantly unorthodox perspective on his Jewish background, something he has in common with the AMSTERDAM KLEZMER BAND.

AMSTERDAM KLEZMER BAND & Essay Recordings Zaraza is released on the German label Essay Recordings, continuing their earlier collaboration. The 2006 release of AMSTERDAM KLEZMER BAND �Remixed!� resulted in good sales and reviews worldwide. The track �Sadagora Hot Dub�, Shantel's remix of the track Son became a genuine club hit. The accompanying tour and collaborative project with the prodigious producer duo C-mon and Kypski in the Netherlands, Germany and France were a great success and proved that Klezmer music and Beats are going together very well.

With their talented musicians, the Amsterdam Klezmer Band (AKB) is an energetic and poetic stage act that charms international audiences. Their refreshing approach to Klezmer and Balkan music transcends the traditional aspects of this music and results in a very lively mix of Eastern-European sound. Their strength lies in their ability to appeal to a remarkably broad audience across all age groups; they play clubs or theatres, festivals, parties, weddings or formal functions. AKB can both fire up a crowd and create pure listening pleasure with the vibrancy of their playing. Their instrumental skills are complemented by the vocals of Alec Kopyt from Odessa and Job Chajes (also on saxophone).