May 7, 2005

MARGOT LEVERETT and the Klezmer Mountain Boys

MARGOT LEVERETT and the Klezmer Mountain Boys

Margot Leverett
and the Klezmer Mountain Boys

onight, klezmer clarinetist Margot Leverett joined forces with today's stars of klezmer and bluegrass to explore the shared musical spirit of two genres literally worlds apart, and delighted our full house. Appalachian and southern fiddle tunes by Bill Monroe meet klezmer melodies from pre-war Russia and Eastern Europe, some newly discovered; the resulting medleys and improvisations were at once raw, funny, melancholic and footstomping.

hile Barry Mitterhoff plays a Bill Monroe mandolin, Leverett plays a Sid Beckerman clarinet a cool and captivating kvetching clarinet that flutters and soars, pokes and prods, whistles and wails. The two worlds collide in a seamless and highly enjoyable fusion of elegant, soulful playing that sounds completely natural and leaves audiences in awe.

magine a shotgun marriage between the music from "O Brother Where Art Thou" and that band from your cousin's wedding and that will only begin to describe the Klezmer Mountain Boys a common ground between the high, lonesome sound of bluegrass and the poignant cry of klezmer.

MARGOT LEVERETT argot Leverett, (bandleader, clarinet) is one of the foremost of the new generation of klezmer clarinetists. Classically trained at Indiana University School of Music, she was involved in avant-garde music when she first heard klezmer, the dynamic East European music traditionally played at Jewish weddings. Leverett was a founding member of the Klezmatics in 1985 before moving on to launch a solo career. Her first CD, "The Art of Klezmer Clarinet," is a tribute to classic Klezmer of the 20's and 30's, and was released in 2001 on Traditional Crossroads (CD4296) to glowing reviews. She tours nationally and has performed and taught traditional and original klezmer music at festivals and workshops around the world.

n addition to founding and directing the Klezmer Mountain Boys, Margot Leverett collaborates with Udi Bar-David and the artists of Intercultural Journeys, a concert and cultural organization to promote intercultural dialogue. She tours internationally with The New York Ragtime Orchestra and is the clarinetist for the Off-Broadway production of Picon Pie. She was a featured performer and instructor at this year's Klezmerquerque festival in New Mexico, and KlezKanada, and she leads a monthly klezmer jam session at her synagogue in Astoria, Queens.

arty Confurius (bass) has appeared with virtually all the top people in both bluegrass and klezmer music. His credits include work with Vassar Clements, Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Andy Statman, and klezmer legend Dave Tarras.

oe Selly (guitar) has appeared with Phoebe Snow, Vassar Clements, Barbara Eden, Melissa Manchester and Tex Logan and toured nationally with the Lombardo Orchestra. He is featured on countless recordings and is in demand as both performer and instructor in bluegrass, jazz and swing.

enny Kosek (fiddle) has appeared with Jerry Garcia, John Denver, James Taylor, David Byrne, and his own Angelwood bluegrass band. He appears on numerous recordings, and has published dozens of instructional books. He is the bluegrass instructor for Homespun videos and is well known in Bluegrass, Irish, country western, and rock and roll violin.

arry Mitterhoff (mandolin/guitar) is a leading figure in bluegrass music as well as klezmer. He has played with Tony Trischka and Skyline, John Gorka, Jorma Kaukonen and Hazel Dickens. He has been a featured performer at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall, the White House, the Library of Congress, and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival as well as bluegrass festivals across the country and Canada.