(Photo, Paul Teeling)
Well here's a wonderful treat! Peace & Rhythm and Klezperanto team up to bring you the official world premiere of the brand new Klezperanto video for "Arroz Con Coco", a tribute to the great Lucho Bermúdez of Colombia.
Clarinetist Ilene Stahl is a veteran of the Klezmer Conservatory Band (often with violinist Itzhak Perlman) and she formed the Boston-based six-piece ensemble Klezperanto in 1999 to stretch into other styles of dance music. "We formed Klezperanto to play everything BUT traditional klezmer music!” she says. Indeed, the mix includes Balkan & Mediterranean styles, Eastern European, cumbia, danzas, ballads, zydeco, surf, samba, funk and "1970's cop show music", which is a fond memory of Ilene's childhood. The group displays a lot of "flash & dazzle" as she calls it. They often feature electric guitar as well.
Stahl and I first met several years ago due to mutual love for cumbia, which she heard me blasting on a boombox from the back room of a natural foods co-op I used to slave in. She showed up at the door trying to listen in to the sound:
“I really love Latin dance music, most particularly the cumbia tradition,” said Stahl. “There was a golden age of big band dance music from Colombia in the 1950s and 1960s, and those big bands often featured clarinet and the other instruments we have in Klezperanto, so it’s a really good fit.”
This featured song was inspired by Lucho Bermúdez, who created the original recording of it as a gaita/cumbia. This arrangement is by Klezperanto's trombonist Mark Hamilton.
The video was directed by Los Angeles-based Matt Eskew and features dancers Anastasia Christie and Crisen Mckenzie. It was shot in the historic art-deco style Pushkin building in Greenfield MA. We're pleased to present the video's debut here at Peace & Rhythm! Let's dance!:
Ilene Stahl, clarinet
Mark Hamilton, arranger, trombone
Roberto Cassan, accordion (RIP)
Andrew Stern, banjo
Andrew Blickenderfer, bass
Grant Smith, drums and percussion
Audio recorded by Klezperanto at The Rotary Records, West Springfield, MA, in May 2015, Warren Amerman, engineer. Mixed by Mark Wessel and mastered by Toby Mountain.
"A dance mix so potent it should carry a warning label" - The Boston Globe
(Special thanks to Sheryl Hunter, who conducted the interview with Ilene)
***And for Western Mass dancers, the band is making a rare concert appearance at The Arts Block in Greenfield MA on Sunday, Feb 19.!
For the first time since their sold-out, standing-room-only show over a year ago, Klezperanto returns to The Arts Block with solid klezmer roots, technical virtuosity, and a wry sense of humor. Clarinetist Ilene Stahl and Boston's best musicians re-groove traditional klezmer and Mediterranean melodies, rip up Romanian surf tunes, cover cop show themes and cumbias, slay a few standards, and burnish it all to a funky finish. In addition to hot dancing and cold drinks, the venue will be offering sizzling potato latkes, and chilled vodka-spiked borscht "belts" Leave your expectations at the door; this is one of Greenfield's wildest parties of the year, and advance tickets are recommended. Purchase tickets to the concert here.
(Poster by Thom Dudley / Sightlab)
And here's a general promo clip of the band:
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(Below photo: Trish Crapo)