Formed: Aug 1993 in Berlin, Germany
Styles: Klezmer, Gypsy, Ethnic Fusion, Tuvan Throat Singing
Members: Simon Jakob Drees (violin, viola, [kugnana] instrument, lead vocals), Tobias Dutschke (percussion, vocals), Jan Hermerschmidt (clarinet, bass clarinet, vocals), Katrin Pfeiffer (accordion, vocals, percussion), Georg Schwark (tuba, vocals)
Based in Berlin, Ahava Raba began when frontman Simon Jakob Drees penned Howe Leg Na Rogle in August 1993. Four months later, the group released their first CD. Drees then traveled for six months the following year through Turkmenistan, India, Tibet, China, Russia, Tuva and more, to learn and experience more musical cultures and influences. Named for the Jewish (specifically, Ashkenaz cantorial) harmonic/melodic mode of music, also known as Freygish, upon which much traditional Jewish music is based, Ahava Raba does not aim to be a synthesis of western and eastern cultures' musics, but instead to absorb them, even while becoming freed of playing 'traditionally.' Incorporating a variety of musical styles including Tuvan throat singing, the band released the excellent and eclectic Kete Kuf on Tzadik in 1999.
- Joslyn Layne (All Music Guide)