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Klezmer Rebs are an 8 piece Wellington band formed in 2002 that plays (mostly) klezmer music, an engaging style of world/folk music born out of the Yiddish/Jewish culture of eastern Europe in the 1800s and 1900s. Klezmer then went to America and in the early 1900s began to fuse with jazz and swing. There has been a worldwide revival of klezmer music since the 1980s.
Klezmer Rebs instrumentation includes guitar, mandolin, clarinet, violin, accordion, keyboards, trombone, helicon (like a tuba), string bass and vocals. Together the Klezmer Rebs capture the true klezmer spirit with songs of joy, sorrow and rebellion.
Klezmer Rebs have been shaking ‘tuchases’ (Yiddish for ‘bums’) in Wellington and places north and south since 2002. Over the years crowds danced to klezmer music in Palmerston North, Greytown, Whanganui, New Plymouth, Nelson, Golden Bay, Christchurch, Dunedin and across the Wellington city and region.
Recently the Rebs performed at the 2019 Luminate Festival in Takaka and at the 2018 Auckland Folk Festival.
In February 2010 the Rebs where honoured to perform for dignitaries at the opening of the Anne Frank Exhibition at Te Papa.
Hearing Klezmer Rebs live expect a big band and vocal arrangements of genuine old klezmer tunes – from the lively genuine Yiddish wedding music (freylachs and bulgars) to the delicate slice of life stories from the east European shtetl (ghettos).
The Rebs world music appeals to everyone. While many of songs are sung in Yiddish (that mostly-Germanic and very onomatopoeic language), they also perform partisan songs from Italy, Russian folk tunes, French chansons, Latin cowboy love songs, Argentine Yiddish Tangos and 1940s swing vocal songs. Their own quirky, politically charged multi-lingual originals are some of the most popular crowd tunes.
The Rebs will perform in the Fairfield Coutyard – expect a night full of story. songs and dance.