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Music & Words | Klezmokum

Klezmokum was formed in 1989 by composer, pianist, arranger Burton Greene together with clarinetist Marcel Salomon—who has been “steeped lifelong” in Jewish cultural music. Klezmokum comes from klezmer music, combined with the word “Mokum”, which means ‘place’ and is the old Jewish name for Amsterdam. Quite early tuba player Larry Fishkind joined the band and North African percussionist Roberto Haliffi. After Marcel Salomon left to pursue more traditional directions with his duo, clarinettist Perry Robinson and Hans Mekel on tarragot, alto sax and clarinet joined the band. For several years Klezmokum worked with either Akos Laki or Stanislav Mitrovic from Hungary and former Yugoslavia on clarinet and saxes. Most recently they added the talented Lior Kuperberg from Tel Aviv, Israel, on soprano and tenor saxophones. And to complete the ensemble there are two multi-talented vocalists: Patricia Beysens and Marek Balata. Patricia also plays flügelhorn and often does the band's artwork. Marek has over a 3 octave vocal range and can sound like a synagogue cantor one moment, and scat like Bobbie McFerrin the next! To listen to Klezmokum is to travel around the globe through traditional Jewish cultures, to enter a past world and then return through the rhythmic vitality and spontaneity of improvised jazz into present time reality. “We are not trying to recreate the museum.”
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