The Klezmatics Keep the Faith -- and Question It - in New CD Apikorsim/Heretics

November 4 Release on World Village/harmonia mundi [PIAS] Launches 2016/17 Tour;

New CD Caps 30-Year Career for Jewish Music Legends;

Debut Concert on Thursday, December 1 at the Town Hall in New York City

"As joyously melancholic as ever" - FINANCIAL TIMES

"They rank among the best bands on the planet" - TIME OUT NEW YORK


Thurs Dec 1 New York, NY The Town Hall

Fri Dec 16 Phoenix, AZ Musical Instrument Museum

Sat & Sun Dec 17 & 18 Mercer Island, WA Stroum Jewish Community Center

Mon Dec 19 Los Angeles, CA Pico Union Project

Wed Dec 21 Berkeley, CA Freight and Salvage

Thurs Dec 22 Costa Mesa, CA Segerstrom Center for the Arts

What do you do next when you've already spent the past 30 years transforming an entire genre of music? If you are the Klezmatics you take it even further.

Apikorsim/Heretics, the Klezmatics' new album on World Village/harmonia mundi [PIAS] , is the sound of the band's six musicians playing their own brand of klezmer-the 19th-century Eastern European Yiddish party music that has undergone a revival in recent decades, in large part because of the band's tireless efforts. It's the true sound of the band that changed the course of Jewish music history, the sound of the only Jewish music group to win a GRAMMY award, a band that has consistently electrified audiences around the world.

The overriding goal going into the first new release of the Klezmatics' fourth decade was simple, says co-founder Frank London: "to make a great recording of Yiddish and klezmer music, as only the Klezmatics can."

The provocative and gleefully line-blurring title track, "Apikorsim (Heretics)," is the album's centerpiece. "It's seriously irreverent," says original group member, Lorin Sklamberg. "It says, if you're going to do something that some people might find unkosher, enjoy it as much as possible. It's definitely our kind of song."

"We called the new album Apikorsim/Heretics for many reasons: political, philosophical and philological," says London. "Apikorsim-heretics, rebels, questioners-are people who do not conform to established attitudes and challenge orthodox opinions. And the Klezmatics are decidedly unorthodox."

From the beginning of their career the Klezmatics have demonstrated that klezmer is a vital part of the spectrum of world dance music and culture. Approaching their fourth decade together, the Klezmatics continue their redefinition of the music that they have utilized as a voice for social justice, change, the underdogs and oppressed; as the sound of "heretical" behavior, of questioning, of going against accepted beliefs and dissenting from established dogma.

The Klezmatics- Richie Barshay (percussion, vocals), Matt Darriau (alto sax, clarinet, vocals), Lisa Gutkin (violin, vocals), Frank London (trumpet, horn, vocals), Paul Morrissett (bass, tsimbl, vocals), and Lorin Sklamberg (lead vocals, accordion, guitar, piano) will officially celebrate the release of Apikorsim with a huge party on December 1st at The Town Hall - a famed New York venue with its own impressive history of challenging the artistic and political establishment - celebrating their 30-year career and kicking off the group's 2016-17 tour.

For the Klezmatics, this is a time both to look ahead and to reflect so, for their first recording of all-new material since their 2016 GRAMMY-winning Woody Guthrie project, Wonder Wheel, they chose to call upon the recording studio expertise of producer/engineer Danny Blume, who produced Wonder Wheel. The album exhibits a pared-down approach in comparison to the group's most recent releases, far-ranging collections that engulfed multiple musical styles from gospel (Brother Moses Smote the Water, 2005) to jazz ( Live at Town Hall, 2013).

About Apikorsim, Sklamberg says, "It continues in the tradition that we last visited with Rise Up! Shteyt Oyf! in 2003. It's a great collection of songs and instrumentals that could only have come from us. It is also unique in our history in that everything you hear on the recording is played or sung by members of the band. It's our 'roots record', a return to the anarchic nature of some of our earlier music."

Apikorsim displays, says violinist Gutkin, "a magical juxtaposition of simplicity and intricacy. It was simple to make because we know each other really well, and we know Danny well, too. And it was intricate and rich because we know how to stretch each other. It was very exciting to make it with only the core band and no guests. It was like our tribute to ourselves. I imagine it was like a couple growing up together and finally getting to take a vacation alone without the kids or the grandparents!"

Each of the band members recognizes the special place that the Klezmatics hold. As the years have unfolded, their role as the prime purveyors of modern klezmer has only strengthened. Says percussionist Richie Barshay, "The Klezmatics have a vital sound that is culturally relevant inside the Jewish communal heritage. Though we play mainly in concert settings, having the experience of propelling hundreds of people's feet as they dance in a circle or a hora connects my Jewish roots to music in a very powerful way."

The album's 15 tracks-original compositions and unearthed Yiddish gems -present a wide range of klezmer styles, as well as several different lyrical points of view. There are simple, universal tales and direct messages in songs such as "Der mames shpigl (My Mother's Mirror)," "Der yokh (L'estaca)" (The Yoke) and "Shtetl M.O.," a tribute to great Yiddish singer Moishe Oysher. The songs seem at once timeless and archetypal yet wholly original and contemporary.

"This is the Klezmatics now, constantly growing," London says proudly, "redefining klezmer, setting the bar higher for those who play this music, keeping Yiddish music on the world music stage. We are at the top of our game."

"Universally regarded as the genre's most innovative band" - WALL STREET JOURNAL

The Klezmatics: Apikorsim/Heretics

World Village/harmonia mundi [PIAS] 450031

Release date November 4, 2016

Label Contact:

Sarah Folger


Klezmatics Discography:

1989 Shvaygn = toyt (Piranha/Rounder)

1990 Rhythm and Jews (Piranha/Rounder)

1995 Jews with Horns (Piranha/Rounder)

1997 Possessed (Piranha/Rounder)

1998 The Well - with Chava Alberstein (Rounder/NMC)

2002 Rise Up! Shteyt oyf! (Piranha/Rounder)

2004 Brother Moses Smote the Water - with Joshua Nelson & Kathryn Farmer (Piranha)

2006 Wonder Wheel: Lyrics by Woody Guthrie (JMG/Fréa)

2006 Woody Guthrie's Happy Joyous Hanukkah (JMG)

2011 Live at Town Hall (Klezmatics Disc)