Saturday, April 27, 2019

Christmas Carols and Klezmer--people can always surprise you

Just this morning I was looking at a schedule of events for my area and I was surprised to see a klezmer band listed. I noted down the date and time, and remembered a conversation with my father several years ago, a few years before he died.

He wasn't doing well, either physically or mentally, and I was thinking about making him a music mix CD. I reasoned that he might not be able to play with his computer or get around much, but he could still listen to music. But what music would he enjoy?

I thought about all the music I could remember him enjoying during my childhood. Show tunes, maybe, or folk songs. Maybe Gilbert and Sullivan? The Firehouse Five?

So I asked him, "What kind of music do you like?"

I don't remember the first kind he listed, but the second was klezmer.

Klezmer? Not only did I not know he liked it, I didn't even know what it was.

"It's Jewish jazz," he said.

Eventually I made him a CD with selections of Christmas carols that he had always liked, and two klezmer pieces that I chose somewhat arbitrarily off iTunes. I played the CD for him once, and I don't know whether he ever listened to it again. He probably forgot that it existed. But it made me feel as though I'd done something for him.

It also reminded me that people are full of surprises. Always.

Rest in peace.

In case you are curious, here are the carols (not necessarily the same version) available on Youtube, and links to the klezmer pieces.

"Still, still, still"

"Suber die glocken nie klingen"

"Il est ne, le divin enfant" 

"Approchez mes enfants"

"Entre le boef et l'ane gris"

"Un flambeau, Jeanette, Isabella"

"Doina" (The Klezmorim)

"The People's Dance" (The Klezmorim) 30-second sample