“Isle of Klezbos’ previous New York show was a deliriously fun, free outdoor performance in a 12th Street community garden right before the Fourth of July weekend [with] Shoko Nagai adding sepulchral swirls, pointillistic punches and jaunty chords on accordion. How has Isle of Klezbos changed over the years? They’re doing psychedelic cumbias now, really fun ones, like an acoustic, horn-driven Chicha Libre. [Trumpeter Pam] Fleming introduced one of those tunes as a brooding reggae song, more or less, then the band took it in more Colombian direction before taking a spin back toward Jamaica. The other was a gorgeously ominous number that built suspensefully to a long, joyous [Debra] Kreisberg clarinet solo.” – New York Music Daily, August 15, 2014, Alan Young (pseudonym: delarue)
Isle of Klezbos is a soulful, fun-loving powerhouse all-gal klezmer sextet, formed in 1998 by Metropolitan Klezmer drummer/bandleader Eve Sicular, touring festivals from Vienna to Vancouver, with broadcast credits from The L Word to CBS Sunday Morning. Their individual experiences, in genres from boogie-woogie to baroque and far beyond, enhance their approach to Yiddish traditions: playful irreverence and deep respect. They would perform music from our own eclectically exuberant repertoire and welcome singer/songwriter Jill Sobule, with whom they’ve recently collaborated for her original musical adaptation of YENTL for theater – reviving playwright Lea Napolin’s stage version – in song-cycle performance at Joe’s Pub/May 2014 (Lincoln Center Atrium/Jan 2015). This material explores gender and Jewish identity issues in Isaac Bashevis Singer’s original Yiddish text. The band’s and Jill’s many other overlapping cultural interests also allow for enthusiastic audience participation, such as joint performance of tunes by Yiddish-inflected pop culture parodist Allan Sherman, whose work Jill recently covered by invitation of legendary producer Hal Wilner. El Sol Garden has hosted Isle of Klezbos’ annual KlezBiGay Pride show the last six years, each featuring special guest /MC (e.g. Lisa Kron, Jennifer Miller, Deb Margolin).
Featured Image Photo Credit: Hank Gans