Klezmer (from Yiddish כּלי־זמיר) is a musical tradition of the Ashkenazic Jews of Eastern Europe. Played by professional musicians called klezmorim, the genre consists largely of dance tunes and instrumental display pieces for weddings and other celebrations-Wikipedia
My main experience of Klezmer is from Fiddler on the Roof and The Who’s Teenage Wasteland. I have listened to a bit of random Klezmer online from time to time. So I was a bit surprised when I ran across Katzenjammer‘s Tea With Cinnamon from their album Le Pop. There is a bit of Klezmer here-makes me want to dance with a wine bottle on my head. I don’t often listen to new music any more, but I liked this one. There’s just something about a woman with a guitar-or whatever-the size of small car. Like I said I don’t like most new music, but then, this isn’t really new is it? I like it anyway.
The all-female Norwegian quartet. Katzenjammer first stormed the States with their circus of a live show in Austin at SXSW last year, where they commanded the attention of industry types and music lovers alike with their raucous set consisting of the rotation of up to 29 instruments on which the women are self-taught.
They ended their US run with a stop by Summerfest where they opened for Elvis Costello. One Norwegian reviewer described the ladies as ”a mix between Eastern European Folk music, B-52s, the sisters Kate & Anna McGarrigle, seasick Bluegrass, Country Blues and a carnival orchestra on the run.”
The band members are Anne Marit Bergheim, Marianne Sveen, Solveig Heilo and Turid Jørgensen. Their music mixes genres such as folk music, pop, rock, country and balkan music. The four members switch instruments often and have a stated goal of playing instruments they haven’t played before. They play more than 29 different instruments, including some which are quite unusual in a band setting, such as accordion, bass balalaika, flute, ukulele and melodica. The band collaborates with Mats Rybø who has written several of the band’s songs.
I like the album Le Pop because it is a bit different and at the same time it sounds vaguely familiar. I love the whole story telling aspect, I am reminded of both Marty Robbins and Weird Al. And then there is that whole circus aspect. This is the kind of music that is often used in soundtracks to add that slightly otherworldly feeling.
I will definitely have to find some more Katzenjammer to listen to.