The Other Europeans
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The Other Europeans

Weimar, Thuringia, Germany | SELF

Weimar, Thuringia, Germany | SELF
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"Umjubelter Auftakt beim Klezmer-Festival Fürth"

Soviel Andrang war nie: Mit ausverkauften Konzerten, großem Gedränge und einem begeisterten Publikum startete am Wochenende das 12. Internationale Klezmer-Festival in Fürth.

Alan Bern ließ keinen Zweifel offen: «Das ist das beste Festival, das ich kenne.« Ein Lob aus berufenem Munde, das man in Fürth gern hörte. Man kann das Kompliment aber auch zurückgeben: Denn Bern selbst trug freilich nicht unwesentlich dazu bei.

Brachte der seit Jahrzehnten in Berlin lebende Amerikaner – der mit seinen langen grauen Haaren wie eine Art Independent-Version von Steven Spielberg wirkt – dieses Jahr doch ein ganz besonderes Projekt mit. «The Other Europeans« (Die anderen Europäer) nennt es sich und erforscht seit nun zwei Jahren am Beispiel des kleinen, momentan doch eher gottverlassenen Landes Moldawiens, wie Juden und Zigeuner früher gemeinsam musizierten.

Das gibt – in der Praxis, im Konzert – eine hochexplosive Mischung mit herrlichen alten Melodien und unaufdringlich politischer Mission. Auf der reliefschmalen Bühne des Fürther Kulturforums haben die versammelten dreizehn Musiker aus aller Welt (Nummer 14 durfte nicht aus Frankreich ausreisen!) kaum genügend Platz. Und beweisen doch, wie gut sich die beiden Fraktionen – hier die Klezmer-Musiker, dort die östlichen «lautari« – ergänzen.

Klarinette und Hackbrett, Geige und Saxofon: auf, auf zum nächsten fröhlichen Hochzeitstanz! Mit Gästen wie dem US-Trompeter Paul Brody oder dem Flötisten Matt Darriau (von den Klezmatics) hat Berns bunte Truppe sogar prominente Unterstützer zu bieten, aber die Musiker aus dem Balkan stehen ihnen in nichts nach. - Wolf Ebersberger, 08.03.2010, NÜRNBERGER ZEITUNG


"No empty seats (translation)"

There were no empty seats in the culture center Mon Ami. The crossover project with 14 renowned players of Yiddish and Roma music promised a captivating musical experience. The concert featured ever-changing ensembles with frequent solo introductions that created a mood of breathless anticipation, carried along by a symbiosis of virtuosity and driving rhythms. Each instrument announced the entrance of the next one. The large hall was cooking, and those seated who still had room to swing their legs a little were lucky indeed. The music created a feeling of something beyond words, between entreaty and joy. - Dr. Ursula Mielke, Thüringer Allgemeine Zeitung


"...like in a Hitchcock film (translation)"

“It began like in a Hitchcock film – with an earthquake. Last night the temperature rose even higher – their (The Other Europeans) concert turned out to be an explosion – of artistic nature, of course.”

“Playing together made it possible for the musicians to search for common elements in two separate musical worlds, while remaining true to their own identities.”

“After a long standing ovation and 30 minutes of encores, Janusz Makuch, Director of the Krakow Festival, shouted: OUR Europeans!”
- Jerzy Armata, Gazeta Wyborcza, Krakow, July 4th, 2009


"Joy in Common Creation (translation)"

„The quality of this performance wasn't determined by individual solos by the musicians, but by their ability to play as an ensemble, by their communication and most of all, by their joy in common creation."

“Their art is based first of all on emotions. During their concert, the emotions reached a fever pitch – both onstage and among the audience.”
- Gazeta Wyborcza, Krakow, July 4th, 2008


"Swept away (translation)"

TLZ 7.7.2009
Swept away by the festival's opening concert

An extraodinary musical experience awaited the audience in mon ami on Sunday evening when The Other Europeans took the stage after a year of rehearsing to develop a common repertoire and style. The music, combining Yiddish and Roma elements, was presented by a 14-piece band and in smaller sub-ensembles, and opened the Yiddish Summer 2009 festival in Weimar. The artistic director of the festival, Dr. Alan Bern, brought the musicians together from Hungary, England, the USA, France, the Republic of Moldova, and Germany in intensive rehearsal periods to explore the similarities and differences between Yiddish and Roma music. The 14 musicians in the project have grown together to form a virtuosic, unified ensemble. Each one is a brilliant artist; together on stage they create an art that swept away every listener.
- Thüringer Landeszeitung, 07.07.2009


"EU Projects in favour of the ROMA community"

The Other Europeans was a two-year cultural project that explored the historical and contemporary relationships between the Ashkenazi Jewish (Yiddish) and Roma cultures through music. In 2008 and 2009, three participating cultural festivals, e.V. (Germany), the KlezMORE Festival in Vienna (Austria), and the Jewish Culture Festival of Krakow (Poland), presented a range of activities to promote intercultural understanding about the Yiddish and Roma cultures through the arts.

The core activity of the project was the creation and presentation of two new bands, one Yiddish and one Roma, made up of 14 outstanding Yiddish (Klezmer) and Roma (Lautari) musicians from seven countries, now based in Europe. In 2008, each band developed and performed separate repertoires and, in 2009, the two bands fused to become a super-group known as The Other Europeans. Together, they combined their different
styles to create a crossover genre of music. In addition to performances, the festivals also comprised symposia, workshops on instrumental music, vocal music, dance and language, and a film series on the two cultures.

For many centuries, the Jewish and the Roma have played important but ambivalent economic, political, and cultural roles within European societies. Subordinate to and only provisionally accepted by the dominant cultures among which they lived, both developed complex cultural identities. While
they maintained their own traditions, they also had to constantly adapt to and interact with those of their neighbours. European Jews and Roma were involved in a successful intercultural exchange across linguistic,
political and cultural borders. Following the Nazi extermination of European Jews, it was often Roma musicians, who had played in pre-war Jewish ensembles, who preserved and performed Yiddish music repertoires that would otherwise have been lost forever.
Although Jews and Roma are transcultural, there are profound differences between the cultures. These are anchored in their separate histories and traditions, and in the politics, economies, histories and cultures of the different societies with which they interacted.

One of the main research focuses of this project was to explore the fascinating similarities between the roles played by professional musicians in both cultures, particularly in places in which they lived
side by side. The Other Europeans examined Roma and Yiddish cultural crossroads from past to present. It set out to discover the deeper relationship between the two types of music and the cultures from which they
blossomed. It explored the common roots of Yiddish and Roma music in Moldavia, Walachia, and as far as Istanbul in the early 20th century.
- http://www.roma-conference.eu/web/10173/38


Discography

"Almost Bootleg" to be released on the Kikiyon label in 2011

Track 14 on the 2011 The Rough Guide to Klezmer

Photos

Bio

The Other Europeans is 14 international klezmer & lautari stars from Moldova, Hungary, Bulgaria, Germany, France, England & the USA. Its roots are the unique, multi-ethnic Yiddish/Roma music of pre-war Bessarabia. A rare marriage of ethnography, virtuosity & creativity, founded in 2008 with EU support, the band has headlined festivals in Europe & America, including Krakow, Vienna, Copenhagen, Toronto & Montreal. Creator/director Alan Bern is joined by Petar Ralchev, Kalman Balogh, Matt Darriau, Paul Brody and more, winner of the EC Best Practice in Favor of the Roma Community Award, 1st prize for intercultural music, German Music Council.