Today we bring you Klezwoods! I had the awesome opportunity to see them in Harrisburg, PA several months ago and they rocked! They will be in Lancaster, PA on June 28th if there is anyway you can see them. I guarantee you’ll have a good time!
How would you describe your sound?
We play traditional and original music based on the Klezmer, Eastern European and Balkan styles with a modern twist.
Do you all write music for the group or is it just one or two of you?
We all collaborate for every song. A few of us write full original songs specifically for this band as well. Sometimes one member will have a very specific idea of what he or she wants and we follow their wishes as best we can. Other times we just start playing and see what comes up! It is a very interesting process and as long as we are all open and respectful, wonderful things happen.
Do you come up with the music or the words first?
Since most of our music is instrumental we don’t usually have to think of lyrics. We have some new tunes in the works that have vocals, which usually come after the melody is created.
Do you have a favorite song of yours?
My personal favorite song that we play right now is one of the guitar player’s original melodies, called Play To Win. Very intricate melodies and harmonies with some real fun improvisation break-downs. I also really like the classic Israeli dance tune, Harmonika. It’s a very joyful melody that is very easy to dance to.
Who would you consider an influence on your music?
We have many influences, which makes for our uniqie sound. Some notable influences are The Klezmer Conservatory Band, Balkan Beat Box, Slavic Soul Party, Neftule’s Dream, John Zorn, Shlomo Carlebach, Gogol Bordello and many more.
There is such enthusiasm and energy at your shows. How do you keep that going so often?
Every last member of our group loves the music we create. We also draw a lot of inspiration from playing, talking and hanging out with each other on the road and in the rehearsal room. There are some seriously talented players in this band that have such modesty and easy-going attitudes you would never guess where they have been and who they have played (and still play) with. We also are genuinely fun and nice people that really like each other…which in the history of bands is pretty rare!
I about fell over in joy when I saw you have a tuba player. That’s not always an onstage kind of thing. What made you decide that this instrument would be a good mix with your other horns?
How can you go wrong with a tuba? Seriously! Well…you can, but not with this guy. Our tuba player, Jim Gray, is one of those musicians I mentioned in the last answer. His playing, attitude, professionalism and maturity as a musician and person are second to none. As soon as he expressed interest we snagged him immediately!
I love that you often have belly dancers at the show. How did that come about?
I tour off and on with a Gypsy band from my hometown of Portland, OR called The Underscore Orkestra. We travel with some incredible belly dancers and I got to know the style and some of the dancers very well. One of the Orkestra’s dancers, Bevin Victoria (a.k.a. Hybrid), ended up moving out to Boston and we’ve never looked back. We also have worked with many local Boston-based dancers (Cassandra) and other performing artists over the years that add another element to the shows for special occasions.
What do you aim to make people feel when they listen to your music?
Joy! We hit a lot of different emotions at a Klezwoods show, and this is naturally my favorite. Whether you like dancing melodies, weaving and technically impressive runs, emotive improvisation or just like watching a group of people playing music and having a blast together, we got the show for you.
What’s next for you and when can I expect a new CD?
We have tours and one off performances all over The Northeast this Summer and Fall and some festivals in the works for the following year. The Lancaster City Festival on June 28th is the next local Central PA show, which we are really excited to play. We recently released our second album so no new one for at least another year. But this recent album (The 30th Meridian: From Cairo To St. Petersburg With Love) is our pride and joy, so check it out!
Do any of you sing in the shower?
I do…can’t speak for the others but I would imagine most likely
Link for audio: