The Klezmatics, one of the finest klezmer bands in the world for more than twenty-five years, show no signs of hanging up their horas. Virtuoso instrumentalists, singers, scholars, and inveterate collaborators, they've written, performed, or recorded with, among many others, Itzhak Perlman, Tony Kushner, and Allen Ginsberg. And with Woody Guthrie--the Okie Folkie himself! Turns out that in the 1940s Guthrie was married to Marjorie Mazia, a Jewish dancer in Martha Graham's company and, though he never converted, was for a time immersed in Jewish culture. And whatever Woody encountered, he wrote about. In the past few years Guthrie's daughter, Nora, has been unearthing hundreds of his unpublished song lyrics. When she came across some Hanuka-themed ones, she knew who best would breathe melodic life into them. The resulting music is a perfect pairing of Guthrie's effervescent creativity, wondrous wordplay (he created Honeyky--yet another spelling!), and social consciousness, with the can't-stay-in-my-seat beats and the must-listen-to-raptly music of the Klezmatics.
Their concert will be the best Chanukeh gelt I'll get this year.
[Originally published in December, 2012.]