Klezmer for Everyone at the JCC
New Mexico Jewish Link Magazine, April 2010
Everyone nowadays knows what Klezmer is, but back in 1983, when Terran Doehrer founded the Ensemble M’chaiya (tm), the style of music had basically died out in America.
“One of the amazing things about Klezmer is how many ways folks have shaped if and reshaped it since those early days of the revival,” says Doehrer. “We have taken a vary dance-oriented approach with a strong dose of Balkan coloration. We want folks to dance and have a life-giving cathartic experience.”
On Wednesday, May 5, New Mexicans will get a chance to hear the Ensemble M’chaiya during its first tour to the state. Solomon Schechter Day School and the Jewish Community Center are co-hosting and sponsoring two events featuring the trio. Both events will be held at the JCC.
In the morning, from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., there will be a Klezmer edu-tainment event. The group will play and teach traditional Klezmer dances and exotic Ladino songs to the multi-generational audience of the JCC’s “Wonderful Wednesday” seniors and SSDS students.
Ensemble M’chaiya will perform again at an outdoor dinner concert, “Klezmer in the Kourtyard,” at 5:30 p.m. for the general public. The concert will include Klezmer melodies, bitter-sweet Yiddish songs, exotic Sephardic songs in Ladino and French, as well as rhythmic Israeli dance songs. The band’s members will lead willing audience members in line and circle dances.
“For the Ensemble M’chaiya, the bridge between the past and the present is the dance impulse — Klezmer’s ability then and now to make people get up and groove to the music,” said Doehrer. “It was dance music back in its original heyday and it still is today, so we put emphasis on that.” Which makes sense: the band’s name means “a life-giving pleasure / joy.”
The energetic band shapes its distinctive sound with mandolin, violin, Balkan flute, guitar, and trumpet. M’chaiya has pleased audiences in concert, at festivals, schools, and universities, synagogues, clubs, and parties. Engagements have included three tours of Denmark, Chicago’s P.O.C.E.T. Jewish Festival, National Public Radio, as well as opening a concert for Israel’s famous singer Yehoram Gaon. Visit their Web site to take a listen at http:// www . mchaiya . com.
Admission to Klezmer in the Kourtyard is $7.50 / adults; $5 / seniors and students; $2.50 children (2-11). Audience may bring their own picnic supper or purchase grilled kosher hot dogs, chips, beverage, and cookie for $5.
For more information or tickets, contact Phyllis Wolf at 505-348-4500 or visit www . jccabq . org.