THE KLEZMORIM > Bongo > The Show > Career 

CONCEPTUALLY, THE SHOW DEMONSTRATED klezmer music's relation to Eastern European folk and Gypsy music, jazz, circus and military band music, early movie and cartoon soundtracks. We showed klezmer music's transformation from rural to urban, from Old World to New World. (And yes, I tell you, this required rubber chickens!)

Careerwise, The Show enabled us to break out of the moribund folk circuit and into major concert halls and music festivals, arts residencies, national TV, film soundtracks, Europe, rock and jazz venues. The Show was a media hook. It made us visually appealing. We weren't just six cats with horns; we were an event.

Creating The Show collectively was a bonding experience that reinforced our spirit of musical collaboration. (Klezmer music is ensemble music. The band is the instrument.) We never consciously compromised the music's authenticity. We honestly tried to penetrate the mindset of the old-time klezmer players — we tried to play as they played (or at least, the way they would have played if they'd been us). The Show was the frosting, the music was the cake. We were clear on that.

As a folk purist and amateur musicologist at heart, I might have wished for the music to succeed strictly on its own merits. But I honestly believe that without The Show, we would have died on the vine and never had the chance to spread our klezmer mushroom-spores across America and the world...

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