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Klezmer is a traditional style of wedding music played by Eastern European Ashkenazi Jews. Part of Yiddish heritage, modern klezmer integrates different influences, such as Roma music and jazz.
The term "klezmer" derives from Yiddish, meaning "vessels of song," or music instruments. Traditionally played at weddings by itinerant Jewish musicians, it is a celebratory music with a strong Rom influence. The genre evolved after the arrival of Yiddish-speaking Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe in the US in the late 19th and early 20th century, building on early jazz and international influences. In the 1970s, klezmer went through a revival led by Giora Feidman, The Klezmorim, Zev Feldman, Andy Statman, and the Klezmer Conservatory Band.
Avi Avital plays Bach, Klezmer and contemporary music on mandolin. And because the repetoire for this instrument is so limited, he also composes. The engaging and talented 36-year old Israeli has had great success in popularizing the mandolin. He gives concerts the world over and has won numerous awards. We visited him in his Berlin apartment.