The Amsterdam Klezmer Band performs Eastern European Jewish music, influenced by Gypsy and Balkan music. Klezmer is dance and festival music which was played throughout the ages at weddings and parties all over Europe. And not just at Jewish weddings! The Klezmorim (travelling professional musicians) of old were appreciated by many for their beautiful performances and musical virtuosity. Klezmer music also has many things in common with Gypsy music and the music of the Balkans.
Foundation - Since its foundation in 1996 by saxophone player Job Chajes, the band has evolved rapidly. In no time the band became world-famous in Amsterdam for its many vibrant performances on the streets, in the parks and in the pubs. Soon the rest of The Netherlands followed: the band performed at the Oerol Festival in 1999, 2000 and 2001 to great acclaim and was invited to the Noorderslagfestival in January 2001 (the media describing their performance as 'the great surprise of the festival'), followed by the Lowlands Festival in August 2001. During the same period the band tours in Slovenia, Switzerland and Italy and has three succesful tours in Turkey.
The third CD of the Amsterdam Klezmerband, Limonchiki, was released on the New York label Knitting Factory label and the band had a grand tour of the Dutch club scene in the autumn of 2001, with as its highpoint the presentation of Limonchiki in Paradiso, Amsterdam.
Repertory - Nowadays only part of the Amsterdam Klezmer Band repertory consists of music from the Balkan and Klezmer tradition. A larger part of the AKB repertory has been created by the band members themselves, who all without exception contribute musically to an ever-growing melting-pot of infectious Balkan/Gypsy/Klezmer cross-overs. In this manner the band endeavours to breathe new life into the Eastern European dance music tradition.
Line-up - The members of the Amsterdam Klezmer Band are passionate musicians one and all, well-versed in a wide range of styles. They have made their musical mark on the Dutch club and festival scene and are well known for their parts in various other remarkable pop, jazz and world music projects in the Netherlands, past and present. (Jammah Tammah, De Jongens Driest, Mendoza Dance party, Parels en de Funky Reddingsbrigade, Traffic Jam, Allez mama, Noujoum Rai, Cousin-x, Bhedam).
The wind section of the AKB have participated in several studio projects, including ones by Arling en Cameron, Postmen, Normaal and Daryll Ann (two-meter sessions). Furthermore the AKB acquired fame as the resident band of the radio show of the NPS Culture Awards 2000, Club Lek (VPRO-radio 3). The Amsterdam Klezmer Band made an appearance at the North Sea Jazz Festival in July 2002.
The AKB has been in existence in its current composition for two and a half years. Rehearsals are weekly, usually in the Blasiusstraat in East Amsterdam, right in the living-room of clarinet player Janfie van Strien. The band normally will typically appear on stage twice a week, but at times it's more like six or seven times, sometimes resulting in the band members appearing rather fatigued.