Lovers of traditional music with a twist are in for a treat when the band Klezmer Local 42 appears as part of the Atlanta Jewish Music Festival on Sunday, March 13 at Congregation Beth Jacob.
The gig will include a diverse mix of styles, according to bandleader Daniel Horowitz. “We are not purists or reverent reproducers of some genre,” he said on the phone from Athens, where the group is based. “We definitely stretch out in different directions. A lot bands do that but I guess we take it further than some. It’s traditional Klezmer but then we’ll work in classic rock and strange things.”
Klezmer is Jewish music with Eastern European roots, Horowitz explained. “Those scales and chord structures are strange. What seems major is minor and vice versa. That crazy Freygish scale I love so much – it’s like a magic scale that’s in a lot of tunes.”
Horowitz formed the band in 2009 after failing to find the right musicians for his own wedding. He has been listening to traditional Jewish music all his life and first discovered Klezmer through his father’s records.
“Klezmer has been a personal journey for me, discovering what it’s all about,” he said. “Actually figuring how to play it is very different from just listening to it, and it’s fascinating. It’s like learning about jazz. It was so mysterious before I started. How do you actually do it, man? That’s a journey in itself.”
Horowitz also plays in Five Eight, a longtime Athens rock band known for its intense live shows.
“I’ve always wanted to play totally different types of music, and I’ve never wanted to join any other rock band; Five Eight pushes me to the rock limit in a really good way. I play electric bass for them and I rock out and it’s loud,” he said.
Klezmer Local 42’s line-up tends to vary, and Horowitz is not sure how many members will be at the Atlanta concert. “We are seven usually,” he said. “Very occasionally we are eight and sometimes we’re five or six. I made the band big so if someone can’t make it it’s not that big a deal.”
The ones that do turn up will be playing tracks from the new album ‘Fear of a Yiddish Planet’ and merchandise on the night will include cans of Jittery Jews, the band’s own coffee brand.
“I chose a lovely blend of three kinds of dark roasted coffee beans,” he said. “It really is good.”