ABOUT THE TITLE- This 10th anniversary "Streets of Gold" CD is distinctive because of its variety of Klezmer songs. It includes Jewish music from Eastern Europe long ago, music recently composed in the U.S., traditional "Ashkenazi" tunes, Hasidic, Russian and Oriental melodies. It even includes music sometimes sung today in Jewish houses of worship.
The "Streetsof Gold" theme refers to the influx of Jewish musicians from Europe during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, having heard that money was easy to make in the United States. How difficult it must have been for them to find that there was little or no market for Klezmer music. A few became symphony members, others turned to jazz. But for many, the "streets of gold" became "streets of disappointment".
ABOUT KLEZMER- The word , klezmer comes from the combination of two Hebrew words..."kle", which means a vessel or tool; and "zmer", which means music. Put together , kle-zmer literally means a musical tool or instrument.
However, the meaning of "Klezmer" has changed over time. In the Middle Ages, it became the description of the musician. So, a person who played an instrument in a Jewish band was called a "Klezmer" and the several musicians who made up the band were called "Klezmorim"
It is only since this music was revived in the U.S. in the 1960's that the word "Klezmer" became a musical genre.
Klezmer music is hard to define. It has a fundamentally Jewish character, influenced by the Eastern European synagogues and Chasidic music. Its development resulted from the Rabbinic prohibition of instrumental music in the synagogue after the destructioin of the 2nd Temple in 70 A.D. What was banned in the synagogue became the popular Jewish music of its time. Thus, since it was born in the synagogue, it is not surprising to find a definite spirituality in traditional Klezmer music