Band brings klezmer tunes Upstairs

The Klez performs Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Upstairs Lounge at Oak Bay Recreation Centre

The Klez brings traditional klezmer music to the Upstairs Lounge at Oak Bay Rec Centre Friday.

The Klez returns to Upstairs Lounge at Oak Bay Recreation Centre Friday night, bringing its rhythmical klezmer music, ballads and traditional Hebrew, Yiddish and Ladino songs.

“(It’s) the celebratory music of Jewish community,” said Alex Olson, who inspired the name change from The Klez Galz to simply The Klez when he joined a couple of years ago.

Alongside Olson, The Klez includes his wife, Martina Peladeau, Barbara Pedrick, Lucila Nerenberg and Kate Rhodes.

Klezmer music includes the haunting qualities of Jewish, Balkan, Turkish, Eastern European, Greek and Gypsy music.

“It’s modally different than the music that we’re used to. It’s modally and harmonically a little bit exotic. It’s definitely different than, say, bluegrass, which has harmony and melody and chords that we’re familiar with. The klezmer music draws on a different modal system,” Olson said. “That’s what interested me as a musician and a listener. And I’m not Jewish, I just craved exotic things.”

Now 61 and a mandolin and doumbek (a drum) player, the former Victoria Symphony double bass player for 35 years joined The Klez a few years ago.

“I took up mandolin about 10 years ago so I could sit in a chair. It’s just easy to sit in a comfortable chair and play the mandolin,” he said with a chuckle. “I came from a bluegrass and country music background, I was a player of acoustic music, an acoustic purist.”

In his late teens, Olson went south of the border to study music, and the classical musician discovered klezmer and other Eastern European music when he returned north. He played 15 years with the Original Balkan Jam, who had a following around Victoria, in the early 1980s.

“That was the band that I first played klezmer music in,” Olson said. “The music is heavily influenced by the old countries in Europe where people came from … Some of the music known as klezmer has roots known in Eastern Europe like Romania, Ukraine, Poland and places like that. Some klezmer is also composed in the United States during a period when immigrants wanted to remember the old country and they wanted to hang out with old expatriates. You can hear the influences in the music, it coloured the music.”

Alluring rhythms and exotic modes can change several times, even within one song. The melodies often combine happy and sad themes that reflect the nature of life.

The Klez performs Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Upstairs Lounge at Oak Bay Recreation Centre, 1975 Bee St. Tickets are $15 in advance (recommended), available at the centre, Ivy’s Books and online through beaconridgeproductions.com or $20 at the door.

 

Just Posted

Vancouver measles outbreak prompts vaccine vigilance on Island

Island health authorities push measles vaccinations - and not just for kids

Flu season could last until May — Greater Victoria clinics offer flu shots

Vaccines are available through public health clinics, pharmacies and doctor’s offices

Remembering Nirvana in Victoria on Cobain’s 52 birthday

Nirvana played one show in Victoria on March 8, 1991 at the Forge

Watershed concerns prompt opposition to alternate Malahat routes

Motion submitted to Regional Water Supply Commission opposing highway in watershed

UPDATED: Langford homes evacuated after water main break

Break at the corner of Goldstream Avenue and Strathmore Road, several homes without water

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of Feb. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Searchers return to avalanche-prone peak in Vancouver to look for snowshoer

North Shore Rescue, Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog teams and personnel will be on Mt. Seymour

Market volatility, mortgages loom over upcoming earnings of Canada’s big banks

Central bank interest hikes have padded the banks’ net interest margins

Hearings into SNC-Lavalin affair start today, but not with Wilson-Raybould

She has repeatedly cited solicitor-client privilege to refuse all comment

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

Tilray to acquire hemp food company Manitoba Harvest for up to $419 million

Tilray will pay $150 million in cash and $127.5 million in stock.

Tears, flowers at impromptu memorial for Syrian children killed in Halifax fire

The family had only lived in the Quartz Drive home for a few months

NDP candidates push for stronger climate action as Singh supports LNG Canada

Singh has tried to project unity in the party while facing internal criticism for poor fundraising and low support in the polls

Most Read