Café Mouffe: The Klezmatics

Many thanks to Alex at augmented illusions for pointing me to Shnirele Perele by the Klezmatics. He writes:

I don’t like the “museum” approach to Klezmer music, and I think the Klezmatics are about the only band that can truly be called vessels of song for the present time. This clip is part of their European tour of a few years back and was recorded in Berlin. I’ve sung Shnirele Perele in sweat lodges as a first round song.

Alex’s blog has become a steady source of new and wondrous vessels of song for me. No radio station can match its eclecticism! Check out recent posts on chanson, the Mozart clarinet concerto, David Byrne playing the building, and — clearing the air — Diamanda Galás.

Encore: Mermaid Avenue was my point of entry into the Klezmatics. With lyrics by Woodie Guthrie, it’s an American flaneur’s anthem if ever there were one. Holy Ground is another Woody Guthrie lyric resurrected by the Klezmatics for their Grammy-winning Guthrie tribute, Wonder Wheel.

Café Mouffe has slipped into an irregular schedule for summer. Look for it on Friday afternoons or some enchanted evening. Please drop by for a listen and a chat. Sometimes the embedded videos don’t work here due to bandwidth constraints, but you’ll always find links to video sources in the notes. Try them. If you’re curious about the Mouffe, here’s the original idea behind it’s creation.

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4 Responses to Café Mouffe: The Klezmatics

  1. tomrobertstennessee says:

    Hi Mark,
    There’s a terrific klezmer band here in eastern tennessee–tennessee schmaltz. The leader/clarinet player, Rob Heller, used to come into our ice cream parlor with his family, and we’ve gone to hear a few of their performances. They mix bluegrass music with the traditional klezmer folk music, which is an entertaining combination. Check out their website at

  2. Mark Willis says:

    Thanks, Tom. I’ll check it out. If they have anything on YouTube, maybe they could make an appearance at the Mouffe.

    I was just thinking about you this morning as I carried plants home from the YS farmer’s market. How is your landscaping project going?

  3. tomrobertstennessee says:

    As with many projects that I do, the landscaping turned into an obsessive, grandiose work of personlized art: perennial gardens with monarda, snakeroot, anenome, delphiniums, larkspur, salvia, foxglove, etc.; annual gardens; azaleas and rhododendruns; stone borders and retaining walls made from 7 pickup truck loads of stone from nearby Crab Orchard; 2 full dumptruck loads of sandy topsoil; 5 trips to Monterrey Mushroom to pick up mushroom compost. I spent two full weeks building steps with flagstones descending a hill.
    But with this landscaping project, I have fewer grandiose illusions of its permanency. Two weeks ago, I drove by my old house in West Hills, which had become a 7 year landscaping obsession until I moved out via divorce in 1993. The past and current owners have not maintained any of the gardens I created. I realize that probably noone is ever going to treasure a “Tom Roberts” landscaping job except me. Hopefully, it will help sell the house, which goes on the market in August. A more direct answer to your question about, how’s it going, would be: having fun in my own obsessive, block-out-the-rest-of-the-world way.

  4. Mark Willis says:

    7 truckloads of stone sounds like fun to me!

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