Friday, December 17, 2010

Oy Klezmer!

Today I've been finding respite from the bottleneck of professional and personal deadlines in klezmer music, of all things. This was unintentional, of course. I was just looking for something different in the way of sounds to carry me through the morning as I pushed through reports and emails, and was wholly expecting it to be a passing fancy before reverting to something more familiar.

Instead, I was stopped in my tracks by Yiddish musicians performing melodic and rhythmic cartwheels, and by instruments that are doubled over in laughter one song, and then choked with tears the next. If given a chance, this is music that enters your bloodstream and then demands to be expressed by its host through tapping feet, flailing limbs and someone's grandmother hoisted above the crowd, chair and all.

I'm not musically-astute enough to identify the scales or time signatures, and I don't understand anything they're saying beyond the occasional shout of "Oy!", but that hardly seems to matter. While some may say that music is a drug, I can tell you more specifically, with a smile of amusement and gratitude, that it can also be medicine.