On Saturday October 3rd, award-winning cellist Elad Kabilio of 12th Night Klezmer and MusicTalks will present a concert of Klezmer music for Sukkot at The Theater at the 14th Street Y – MusicTalks: Klezmer Celebration. We sat down with Elad to talk all things Klezmer and bringing classical music to modern audiences.
Tell us a little about your experience with Klezmer and Gypsy music.
12th Night Klezmer‘s musicians are coming from all sorts of musical backgrounds – Classical, Jazz, Pop, World Music – but none of us had actually dealt with Klemzer. Moreover, in Israel where all of our musicians are originally from, Klezmer music has a hassidic-only connotation and is not that popular at all. We were curious to explore this genre of music which is the closest to us by identity as Jewish/Israeli artists. We have had such a great ride with exploring the roots of Klezmer music, understanding it, and finding our own expression in it.
What is the history of MusicTalks and 12th Night Klezmer?
MusicTalks was founded five years ago with the mission to bring more people into the world of Classical music. We all know nowadays that the world of Classical music is shrinking and we are losing lots of people. Instead of blaming the audience for not being interested in Classical music, we tried to understand what might draw people back. Our concerts are very intimate and personal. Each piece of music gets an introduction so you (the audience) can understand it better and our artists always share anecdotes about their personal reactions to the music. The reaction to MusicTalks was so great that we decided to do the same with other music styles. We recognize that people don’t know much about Jazz, Klezmer, and many other styles and would love to be exposed to exciting music.
What are you hoping audiences will take away from the concert?
The fantastic story of Klezmer music its essence combining joy and sorrow – which is so Jewish. We would love for the audience to get to know our musicians and maybe get inspired by this incredible music just like we did when we embarked on this journey.
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
I was interviewed by the Jewish Week in 2014 abut 12th Night Klezmer – check it our here!
MusicTalks: Klezmer Celebration
Saturday October 3rd at 7:30pm at The Theater at the 14th Street Y.
What excites you most about teaching Intro to Jewish Music?
Uri: It is always exciting for me to teach music, and to teach a hands-on class is what I enjoy the most. I am looking forward to have a group of people who have never played together before, and some of whom haven’t touched their instrument for a while, and help them sound good! I will teach various styles and genres within Jewish music and focus on building practical performance skills the students can continue developing and using beyond the class. This program is geared toward performance, and we will have a few of my colleagues join us and enrich our perspective on performance throughout the semester.
Tell us about your experience with Jewish music.
Uri: I have been involved in the Jewish music world in New York for many years. This summer only I was in Mexico playing Moroccan Jewish music with the master Emil Zerihan, and the following week, teaching up at KlezKanada. I went from a van in the Mexican desert where everybody but me spoke Moroccan to a camp where pretty much everybody is interested in Yiddish…
How did this idea come about?
Uri: For the past few years I have been running the Tikun Leil Shavuot jam session at the 14th Street Y. It is one of my favorite nights here in the city, where musicians meet and create a new piece of music together, in the middle of the night, with the support of amazing crowds of all backgrounds. More than once I had people approach me and say something like – ‘I used to play the accordion, but never like that…how do you guys do it?’ Well, this class is all about that. Ronit (Ronit Muszkatblit, Artistic Director of LABA) was always very supportive of my music and so the class was a natural collaboration for us.
What do you hope to accomplish with the class?
The main goal is to get students of all levels who are playing an instrument, even if not professionally, to gain deeper insight into Jewish music and ensemble playing. We will explore a different genre every week or two. The level of the class, the chosen repertoire, and the demands from the students will be based on the level of the student and their participation. We will do everything possible to accommodate students of all levels and instruments.