Orange County Klezmers

Orange County may not sound like a klezmer hotspot, but the Orange County Klezmers are bringing the sounds of Eastern Europe to sunny Southern California. This week, the Orange County Weekly has a brief interview with their founder/accordionist, Barry Friedland, who gives an overview of klezmer and its history, along with a testimonial to the accordion’s power to impress:

“Accordion has never been the cool instrument to play. But I stayed with it and remember playing at the school talent show in high school… I blew everybody away. It was really exciting… People had never heard an instrument do what an accordion can do. It’s a very versatile machine.”

The Orange County Klezmers’ album, Echoes of Vilna: Songs of Remembrance from the Ghettos, is a collection of klezmer music written in World War II-era ghettos. Even when played as instrumentals (Friedland worried that most people would be unable to handle the emotional lyrics), the music is moving, haunting, and captivating. The Orange County Klezmers do an excellent job of keeping this music alive.

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