Profile - Metropolitan Klezmer


Photo of Metropolitan Klezmer
  Metropolitan Klezmer
Photos by Joannie M. Chen
 Artist: Metropolitan Klezmer
 Formed: 1994
 Active: 1994 onward
 Group Members: Eve Sicular (founder/bandleader/drums/dombek/frame drums), Ismail Butera (accordion, bendir), Michael Hess (violin, viola, kanun, ney flutes), Dave Hofstra (bass, tuba), Deborah Karpel (vocal), Debra Kreisberg (clarinet, alto sax), Steve Elson (clarinet, bass clarinet, saxophones, flute), Pam Fleming (trumpet, flugelhorn), Rick Faulkner (trombone)
 Genre/s: World | Jewish
 Sub-Genre/s: Klezmer, Yiddish, Contemporary, Other

 Date Info First Pub'd: 2003/03/30
   Based: New York City, NY, USA
   Contact: email
   Web Site:

Purchasing Info

Photo of Metropolitan Klezmer
  Metropolitan Klezmer


Bandleader and drummer extraordinaire Eve Sicular formed Metropolitan Klezmer for one of John Zorn's festivals at the renowned Knitting Factory in March 1994. In the process, she assembled a band with as varied musical backgrounds as one could possibly find.

Eve Sicular's own background includes zydeco/Cajun, rock, R&B, swing and klezmer, as well as Middle Eastern music. Multi-instrumentalist Michael Hess studied classical violin and viola, as well as qanun (also common is the Turkish spelling, kanun - the Middle Eastern zither) with the late Egyptian master, Mohammed El Akkad, and he is also an accomplished player of the Middle Eastern ney (reed flutes) and frame drums. He is also an eminent performer of Sephardi music. Ismail Butera, a virtuoso accordionist who also plays a variety of traditional Greek instruments as well as frame drums, is equally at home with Greek, Albanian, Turkish, Arabic, Persian and Sephardi music as well as klezmer. Bassist Dave Hofstra, who also doubles on tuba, was recruited next and has extensive experience in jazz, rock, blues, new music as well as klezmer. Vocalist Deborah Karpel's background is no less eclectic than the rest. It includes opera, art song, musical theatre, cabaret, jazz standards, as well as Yiddish song repertoire learned from her grandfather. Another multi-instrumentalist, playing clarinet, bass clarinet, saxophones and flute, Steve Elson is no longer with the band. Pam Fleming, trumpeter, flugelhornist and composer, has a musical background that includes jazz and from salsa to swing and funk, as well as reggae, soca, rock, pop, and klezmer. Altoist and clarinetist Debra Kreisberg has played swing, funk, rock, Latin jazz, musical theatre, and classical. Trombonist Rick Faulkner's musical roots extend deeply into jazz - from salsa and Latin jazz to Dixie and avantgarde, jazz-rock to classical - and Afro-Caribbean music, from ska to ska-jazz.

Varied? How much more varied could things get?! With such a bunch of talent with such wide-ranging experience, it's hardly surprising that Metropolitan Klezmer's music and sound are truly cosmopolitan in their eclecticism - a wonderful, elegant and subtle blend of traditional klezmer, Yiddish song, Balkan, Greek, Sephardi, Middle Eastern, and jazz. Genre-bending at its best. That the musicianship and technical excellence of Metropolitan Klezmer are of impeccable pedigree hardly needs mentioning. An incredibly versatile ensemble, they handle any mood and emotion with perfect mastery, and their music ranges from the hauntingly beautiful to the exhilarating.

As well as maintaining an ever busy concert schedule, Metropolitan Klezmer have also performed extensively and internationally on radio and TV. They also have two albums to their credit, including 2000's award-winning Mosaic Persuasion which featured members of The Isle Of Klezbos, another Eve Sicular-led band. A third album is scheduled for release this month and eagerly awaited.

Metropolitan Klezmer's recordings are distributed worldwide by Stern's Music Ltd.

© 2003 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore

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Album Cover - Yiddish For Travelers
  Yiddish for Travelers

Album Cover - Mosaic Persuasion
 Mosaic Persuasion
 Album Cover - Surprising Finds
  Surprising Finds



1998 Yiddish For Travelers (Rhythm Media)

2000 Mosaic Persuasion (Feat. The Isle of Klezbos) (Rhythm Media)

2003 Surprising Finds (Rhythm Media)




Appears on


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Other Info

See also separate profile of The Isle of Klezbos



Purchasing Info:

Metropolitan Klezmer's recordings can be purchased:
Direct from Metropolitan Klezmer

From Jewish Music Distribution JMD UK

From Hatikvah Music International (US)

Online from

Online from Tara Music/

From the UK and worldwide distributors, Stern's Music, 74/75 Warren Street, London, W1T 5PF, UK, Tel: (+44) 20 7387 5550 (email).
Offices in New York City and Brazil.

Also from CD Now and Amazon
and probably better general CD stores

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