THE KLEZMORIM > Bio > Band Members > Kenny Wollesen 

Kenny Wollesen. [Photo © 1996 James Adams]

a/k/a:  Hen Ra

Band member:  1987–88

Instruments:  Drums, percussion

Albums:  Like fools, we didn't record a studio album while Kenny Wollesen was in the band. What a loss!

Subsequent gigs:  John Zorn, Tom Waits, Harvey Wainapel, Killer Joey, Michael Blake's Slow Poke, Dawn Thomson, New Klezmer Trio, Brooklyn Klezmer Trio, JunkGenius, Dred Scott Trio, Rinde Eckert, Frank Carlberg, Trevor Dunn's Trio-Convulsant, Curlew, Sean Lennon, Andrea Parkins, Mitchell Froom, Sex Mob, Wayne Horvitz, Bill Frisell, Joseph Arthur Band, Marc Ribot, Dmitri Matheny Group, Club Foot Orchestra, Jessica Williams, Steve Beresford, Ilhan Ersahin, Dim Sum Clip Job, Kathy Acker, Crash Test Dummies, Norah Jones, Kamikaze Ground Crew

Profile:  Hipster Kenny Wollesen, better than anybody before or since, blended a modern percussionist's drive and eclecticism with an insider's respect for the nineteenth-century klezmer vocabulary. With Kenny on the sticks in 1987 and '88, The Klezmorim had the chops to achieve a funky 1910 street-band groove, and the confidence to fuse klezmer with rock and jazz.

Wollesen stands out as a drummer's drummer -- playing masterfully but loose, peppering the beat with a mulligatawney stew of musical ideas. Ready for anything, gawking at Paris like a hayseed... I remember Kenny as the most cheerful, easygoing, can-do percussionist The Klezmorim ever had. And I still marvel at how, twenty minutes after he checked into a hotel room, it would look like he'd been living there for months.