New World Klez

Photo by Fletcher Oakes. Click for full-res version.


Hailing from the San Francisco Bay Area, the Red Hot Chachkas create new American klezmer from Old World roots, with their original compositions, arrangements, and improvisations. Their contagious musical performances inspire and transform audiences. At concerts and dances, from Toronto's Ashkenaz Festival to San Francisco's Davies Symphony Hall, favorite clubs, theaters, galleries, community centers, schools, and Jewish congregations, as well as private parties and simchas ranging from orthodox to outlandish, their hot sound and uptempo beat has folks up dancing. Led by bandleader, dance leader, and classical violinist Julie Egger, the seasoned musicians draw on disparate influences and backgrounds, including soulful Barbara Speed (clarinet), balkanic Diana Strong (accordion), oldtimey Tony Phillips (mandolin), jazzy Breck Diebel (bass), and worldly Aharon Wheels Bolsta (drums). Their CD "Beats Without Borders" (2010) presents all original tunes composed by band members, and follows "Spice It Up!" (2007), and "Family Album" (2002).


Live performance of "Who Let the Cat Out?," at the Art House Gallery, Berkeley (2010)

Videos by Leonard Levy

Making a bas mitzvah into a Dance Party


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