Flying Bulgars

Flying Bulgars


The oft-JUNO nominated Flying Bulgars are a long-standing Toronto-based Klezmer sextet that has recently undertaken a reinvention of its musical identity. Their new release and current show Tumbling Into Light is "... wild and inspiring...pop/klezmer agitprop." -Jason Collett, Broken Social Scene


The Flying Bulgars (formerly the Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band) is a Toronto-based ensemble that plays original music rooted in the soul sound of the Jews. For twenty years the band has been recognized as being “at the forefront of progressive klezmer and Yiddish music, firmly rooted in tradition yet fully engaged with the immediate present” (Sing Out). Formed by trumpeter and composer David Buchbinder in 1987, and now co-lead with singer Dave Wall, the Flying Bulgars have consistently charted a course between the calm waters of tradition and the exciting, uncertain seas of innovation.

Now the band has taken a sharp turn away from that neo-Yiddish path and is about to release a CD all new, original songs written exclusively by Buchbinder & Wall in English and dressed in a contemporary folk/alternative sound. Tumbling Into Light -- the band’s sixth CD -- is full of darkness and hope, mixing poetry, anger and longing in a heady mix of Jewish-inspired melodies. The songs are dramatic, funny, contemplative, rousing and very topical, engaging with questions of power and peace, control and humanity, asking whether we will be able to rise above our anger born of fear and find the light. With a fully-orchestrated alt-pop sound recorded with the help of producer Dave Newfeld (the mastermind behind the recordings of the Broken Social Scene), the Bulgars are ready to meet a whole new audience.

After many years of touring in Canada, the United States and Europe, the Flying Bulgars have taken the last few years off to discover and develop this new musical approach. And now that they have it, they are ready to run with it, creating not only a concert performance, but developing a full scale, multi-media show including film (created by Canadian indie icon Bruce McDonald) and contemporary movement. This full-scale Tumbling Into Light will have its debut in early 2010 and has already been booked into several festivals in the United States.

Through twenty years, six CDs (and three JUNO nominations), three music videos, and hundreds of shows -- from Folk on the Rocks to WOMAD (English version) to the Tollwood Festival in Munich, to the Bell Atlantic Jazz Festival in New York to Klezmermania in San Francisco, to festivals in Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Frankfurt, Hamburg and more -- this band knows how to take an audience on an electric ride. And now they will be doing it in a language and telling a story that all audiences will understand.



Written By: Dave Wall

We stayed up all night
wrestling with an angel
we put up one hell of a fight
and when the sun turned over the horizon
he said let me go into the light

We said ok angel
but only if you bless us
and give us some new hope for the dawn
and so he rose above us
and sweetly he caressed us
and before he knew what hit us he was gone

Lately I've been thinking
maybe we got hustled
maybe we got cheated, taken in
cause you would be amazed
how an angel might falter
just to keep his shiny wings
and save his skin

When we find that angel
we are gonna wrestle
until we make that blessing turn out right
then we won't have to wander
and keep our spirits under
and maybe we'll start sleeping through the night


Written By: Dave Wall

until the fire is hungry
until the band isn't dead
until the world is a laughing thing
I'm gonna bury my head

Until the banks are all empty
until the moment is past
until the truth is a welcome friend
We'll have to just make it last

And we'll keep warming our shivering souls
With dying embers
and we'll keep working these tired coals
until the love grows cold
until the love grows cold

Until the graves stop their whispering
until the oceans unwind
until the crisis is conquered
I'm gonna lower the blinds

Until the colours aren't empty
until the stars settle down
until the hypocrites stop up their mouths
we'll have to heat up the town

The Poets, They're All Yids

Written By: Dave Wall

shouted at the poet
are you one of us
one of us

no one's rose
opening for no one
he is banished, blooming
red as rust

leaning out on the edge of life
living in a cloud of language dust

shouted at the poet
are you one them
or one of us
or one of us

feed him black milk at night
scoop him out a grave from endless sky

he finds solace in the crash of words
he shoots bullets from a gentle eye

with his books he stands outside


Written By: Dave Wall

Out in the wild
Looking all around
Everywhere is hallowed ground
Two walls in the sand
One is for the heart
And one is carving up the land

Shield the wall
Wail at the wall
Pray at the wall

Blow at the wall
Shout at the wall
Shatter the wall
Shatter the wall

Sky is turning black
God takes a cigarette
And taps it into ash
Landscape like a skin
Cracking into dust
And sucking all the anger in

Shield the wall...

Down in the dark
listening all around
listening to the future drown
walls beneath the moon
one is for the heart
And one will jail the people soon


Written By: Dave Wall

The soldier told the man in the village square
You'd better join the chorus and sing
And don't you worry if you've never heard the word
Cause it's easy and it doesn't mean a thing

The man joined the chorus with a weary voice
And thought about a world on the brink
And looking out across the ever rising smoke
He learned the tune and didn't have to think
Every day we sing a folk song
And it's gentle as the breeze that blows
(And it's empty as a beggar's old coat)
(You can find 'em like the grass that grows)
Wunder iber wunder, all we need is one word
now it's coming up on you
and this is how it goes

Die die die die die
Always die die die
Die die die die die and die die die
Can't we maybe think of something
else to sing
Cause we're all getting sick to death of Die-ing
The president said to the quiet child
You're gonna get the back of my hand
unless you care to fall in with the righteous cause
so learn the word and listen for the band

Black and white and sweet and sour
why mess with any in between
oh the song is played so don't be afraid
And poetry
vanishes like steam

The drummer told the writer in the prison cell
The choir needs a new baritone
But if you're getting clever with your tumbling verse
you'll be serenading us with your moans

Rise Above

Written By: Dave Wall

While we celebrate the power in our veins
We're celebrating someone else's rain
And all of this wicked celebrating
makes me want to blame, to purify my name
Maybe the desert sand got in our eyes and ears
Now we cultivate the wilderness
With someone's blood and tears

Rise above
Rise above
Are you telling me that fear has conquered love
Rise above
Rise above
Raise our darkness into monuments
And rise above

I looked over Jordan
And what did I see
Coming for to carry me home
A big bulldozer coming after me
Coming for to carry me home

While we emulate the crashing of the waves
We're turning all these beaches into graves
And watching all this life eroding
Makes me want to save, it makes me want to save
Rise up beyond the sky and look down at the years
And all this rationality
Will crumble into tears

Rise above...

Swing low sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home
Find a soul to keep and carry it
Coming for to carry you home

Gold in the hills and salt in the sea
There's plenty of good things
For you and for me
We keep holding back our light
Like it's precious and it's rare
While there's misery to hand out
And sorrow still to share

Rise above..


"Tumbling Into Light" 2009
"Sweet Return" 2005
"Tsirkus" 2000
"Fire" 1998
"Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band" 1993
"Agada" 1989

Set List

The Flying Bulgars current set is focused on their new suite of English songs - Tumbling Into Light - although the band's repertoire spans many hours worth of material, with an extensive back-catalogue of Yiddish, English and instrumentals.