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by Tom Maas

Klezmer band original in fierce and sharp concert

Amongst Record bosses the idea exists that the street is not the best step towards stage. A penny will probably never become a pound. This must be the reason why even successful Street musicians are not very likely to sign record contracts. The Amsterdam Klezmerband seems to have proven the contrary. Even though they are still to be enjoyed on the streets once in a while, their concert at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw next week is already sold out. On top of that, their beautifully produced new Cd 'SON' will be available from today.

Their gig in Paradiso (Amsterdam) last Wednesday proved that Klezmer actually does have a bright future. At least for the Klezmer the Akb deals with. This means a farewell to the old standard klezmer repertoire that accompanied the genre's incredible gain in popularity since the early nineties.

The AKB plays mainly original music, loosely attached to the jiddisj tradition, especially rooted at the Balkan. This also happens to be the place where the ancient Klezmorim found their musical blessings! Hearing the AKB reminds one of the steaming and swirling Boban Markovic horn orchestra from Serbia - especially when the band is cooking, as it was last Wednesday in Paradiso. Eyes closed one could imagine a Bulgarian wedding, as fierce and sharp was the band's playing.

Actually the only thing that the band didn't get lose from their street life is the rather awkward stage presentation and Job Chajes' slightly too familiar ad-libs. The AKB appears to be the perfect vehicle for the band member's compository qualities. Gijs Levelt's (on trumpet) ingenious South Indian Karnatic influenced pieces in particular will serve even the most spoiled listener.

'Although we like parties, we are not a party Band', says Job Chajes halfway the evening. And with his piece Trieste Dromen, a funeral march, dedicated to the victims of the tsunami in Asia the band made this clear. Beautifully modest and slow-paced, it was a much needed interruption to the rushing tempo of the concert.
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