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The Klezmatics: A Happy Joyous Hanukkah

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The Klezmatics aren’t just the best band in the klezmer vanguard, they rank among the best bands on the planet. Jewish traditional music is just the starting point for songs that jump, rock and swing—sometimes all at the same time.

Time Out New York

The Klezmatics transcend genres, blending klezmer with aching shtetl melodies, raucous Latin stomps, wild jazz riffs, and provocative Arabic, African, American, and Balkan rhythms. The Klezmatics will be presenting a contagious celebration of Hanukkah, marrying their soulful and ebullient Jewish roots to Woody Guthrie’s poignantly mesmerizing lyrics.

In 1942, Woody Guthrie moved to Brooklyn, New York, and soon, through his mother-in-law (the renowned Yiddish poet Aliza Greenblatt), he became involved with the Coney Island Jewish community. He wrote songs about Hanukkah, about Jewish history, and about spiritual life. After his death in 1967, these songs sat forgotten in archives. “Lost” for almost thirty years, Guthrie’s Hanukkah lyrics were discovered in 1998 by Woody’s daughter, Nora Guthrie. She was so inspired by what she found, she asked the Klezmatics to write new music for the lyrics.

This delightful collection of songs, including “Hanuka’s Flame,” “Hanuka Gelt,” “Spin Dreydl Spin,” “(Do the) Latke Flip-Flip,” and others, is among the best of Guthrie’s work, and the Klezmatics’ playful renditions cast a new light on the Hanukkah tradition.

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