Isle of Klezbos: About the band

Isle of Klezbos: about the band

“Isle of Klezbos is no novelty-concept act. The group, whose rambunctious sound mines classic swing and tango as well as traditional Eastern European Jewish klezmer, [is] one of the most acclaimed and esteemed klezmer units around today.” — Peter Aaron, Chronogram
...more quotes

The Story

NYC-based ISLE of KLEZBOS approaches tradition with playful irreverence and deepest respect. Now celebrating two decades together, the soulful, fun-loving powerhouse all-gal klezmer sextet has toured from Vienna to Vancouver since 1998. Band repertoire ranges from rambunctious to entrancing: Neo-traditional folk dance, mystical melodies, Yiddish swing & retro tango, late Soviet-era Jewish drinking song, re-grooved standards, and genre-defying originals. Broadcast credits include CBS Sunday Morning, The L Word, PBS, as well as over a dozen film soundtracks such as Grace Paley: Collected Shorts and Esther Broner: A Weave of Women. The band's acclaimed debut album GREETINGS FROM THE ISLE OF KLEZBOS was followed by latest CD, LIVE FROM BROOKLYN (named among New York Music Daily's "Top 50 Albums of the Year" in any genre). The group is noted for their tight yet adventurous sound, lush arrangements, luscious compositions, and solos that swing the Yiddish stratosphere.

ISLE of KLEZBOS ("Cutting Edge Klezmer" - New York Magazine) has graced both Porgy & Bess nightclub for Austria's KlezMORE Festival, and Feinstein's/54 Below -- the first klezmer group ever invited to that Broadway cabaret stage. Winning a spot at Chamber Music America’s annual conference, the ensemble performed in both Jazz and World Music genres. Formed by drummer/leader Eve Sicular, a Harvard-educated film historian as well as music maven, the group's outstanding lineup combines the creative talents of alumnae from Juilliard, Eastman, Manhattan and Berklee Schools of Music. Recent highlights: Denver debut at JAAMM Festival, headlining Oberlin Spring Folk Fest, and multi-media concert The Celluloid Closet of Yiddish Film at NYC's Center for Jewish History (YIVO Institute/American Jewish Historical Society/American Jewish Music Society, Pride Season event co-sponsors). Headlining both San Francisco's Yerba Buena Gardens Festival and Portland OR's Alberta Rose Theatre for West Coast 20th anniversary summer premieres, the band returns with sextet to California for Hanukah season tour from Sonoma to Palm Springs, then making a first-time Florida splash at The Arts Garage in February 2019. Repeat recipients of honors from Sparkplug Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, NYC’s Department of Cultural Affairs, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and OUTmusic, their latest Creative Engagement award supports the year-long series Isle of Klezbos: Isle of Manhattan! 20th Anniversary Sextet Concerts.

Special ISLE of KLEZBOS projects have included J.EDGAR KLEZMER: Songs from My Grandmother’s FBI Files, original musical documentary theater created by bandleader/composer and lyricist Sicular, praised by The New York Times for "lively score… smartly written;" the show sold out its Off-Off Broadway run at HERE Arts. Collaborating with the likes of Natalia Zukerman (The Women Who Rode Away), Jill Sobule (Music from Yentl at Joe's Pub & Lincoln Center), and glam rock Grammy-nominee Scissor Sisters (studio sessions), the sextet has also enjoyed guest artist MC's Jackie Hoffman, Lisa Kron, Jennifer 'Circus Amok' Miller, Deb Margolin and many more for their annual KlezBiGay Pride festivities. Recent special appearances: A Letter to Harvey Milk opening night party house band; World Science Festival surprise guest artists in honor of Alan Alda at Jazz at Lincoln Center gala; and Cinema Arts Centre featured music artists with SNL legend Alan Zweibel.

The band originated as spinoff of Metropolitan Klezmer, an octet also led by drummer Eve Sicular (now in its 24th year). ISLE of KLEZBOS' first recordings were cameos on the joint release Mosaic Persuasion, second of five Metropolitan Klezmer albums to date. The "sister sextet" made their first public appearance at CB's 313 Gallery, a more acoustically-oriented venue run by the same owner who had founded an iconic punk stage two doors down at 315 Bowery. Unbeknownst to the band at that time, the CBGB proprietor had grown up with Yiddish music royalty in his own family, and ISLE of KLEZBOS immediately became favorite performers for the legendary Hilly [Hillel] Kristal.

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Links for presenters & promoters: Band Member Bios | One-sheet | Reviews | Press-Quality Photos

Quotes

“Cutting Edge Klezmer” — New York Magazine
“One of New York’s most exciting groups in any style” — New York Music Daily
“These ladies are damned good musicians, period.” — Edge New York
“Six sexy women give a creative kick to classic klezmer music.” — New York Daily News
“These women will make you shake your tushies!” — Village Voice
“Isle of Klezbos tests the elasticity of the genre” — The New Yorker
“The absolute top of the klezmer genre” — RootsTown, Belgium
“One of the finest young klezmer bands ever to appear on the block” — Phat Planet, UK
“Paradigm-shifting, brilliantly tuneful klezmer group” — New York Music Daily
“Internationally acclaimed and much-loved... We’d make a joke, but they beat us to it.” — Time Out NY
“A supergroup... with an offbeat sense of humor and a relaxed sense of swing” — George Robinson, Jewish Week
“Love your music!” — Douglas W Smith, Producer: CBS News Sunday Morning
“Great ears and great hearts” — Der Pakn Treger, National Yiddish Book Center
“Talent as strong as its name is provocative. Isle of Klezbos is to Eastern European Jewish music what Cherish The Ladies is to Celtic” — Courier News NJ
“Klezmer goddesses the Isle of Klezbos” — Susan Van Dongen, US 1 Newspaper
“Isle of Klezbos is no novelty-concept act. The group, whose rambunctious sound mines classic swing and tango as well as traditional Eastern European Jewish klezmer, should win a prize for having one of the cheekiest band names of all time. But despite the cute moniker, the outfit is no joke ... The veteran New York musicians [give] an assuredly jubilant Pride Month performance... One of the most acclaimed and esteemed klezmer units around today.” — Peter Aaron, Chronogram
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PHOTO CREDIT Angela Jimenez