KASBEK - KLEZMER À LA RUSSE
> Jewish music from Eastern Europe
Frieder Breitkreutz, violin and vocals
Andreas Karpen, balalaïka, domra and vocals
Christian Müller, bass balalaïka and vocals
Uwe Sauerwein, vocals and guitar
In 1984, the renaissance of klezmer music in the United States had its first effects in Europe, notably in West Germany where it soon became highly popular. The word klezmer describes the traditional, mainly instrumental music of the Jews of Eastern Europe and thus refers to a culture that no longer exists in the place in which it came into being. The fact that it was precisely in Germany that a particular interest developed for Jewish as well as Yiddish music is undoubtedly due to the desire of young people to overcome an historic sense of guilt. But this phenomenon is also explained by the vitality of klezmer and the fascination it exercised, all the more since there was no obligation for musicians to have Jewish roots.
The Kasbek ensemble was one of the first in Germany to become aware of the value of klezmer music and its long experience in the setting of the music of Eastern Europe meant that this ensemble could add to its repertory of klezmer readily and continuously. The balalaika is certainly not to be taken as the instrument typical of klezmer. Nevertheless, it was timidly introduced into the United States, just like the clarinet which today has become almost indispensable.