Shpil - The Art of Playing Klezmer : Edited by Yale Strom (Scarecrow Press 2012)

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Shpil: The Art of Playing Klezmer is both a history of this popular form of traditional Jewish music and an instructional book for professional and amateur musicians. Since the revival of klezmer music in the United States in the mid-1970s, klezmer and Yiddish song now serve as the soundtrack for the resurgence of interest in European Jewish culture across the globe. Its high energy, emotionally-driven sound and evocative Yiddish lyrics have found audiences everywhere.

Shpil offers an expansive history of klezmer, from its medieval origins to the present era. Individual chapters concentrate on the most common instruments found in a typical klezmer ensemble: violin, clarinet, accordion, bass, percussion, and even voice.

Contributors include a cast of musicians who have recorded, performed, and studied klezmer for years and have performed throughout the world.. They are Norbert Stachel (clarinet), Peter Stan (accordion), Jeff Pekarek (bass), David Licht (drums), Elizabeth Schwartz (vocals) and Yale Strom (violin). They are all members of the klezmer ensemble HOT PSTROMI. Each chapter concludes with a selection of three songs that illustrate and exemplify the history and techniques already described. Shpil includes a “klezmer glossary” of mostly musical terms and a discography of both classic and new klezmer and Yiddish recordings, all designed to guide readers in the appreciation of this remarkable musical genre and the art of playing and singing klezmer tunes.

Shpil: The Art of Playing Klezmer is ideal for students, amateur enthusiasts, musical scholars, beginning artists, and professional musicians—anyone who wants to experience the joy of listening to and playing this thousand-year-old folk genre.

Yale Strom is one of the world’s leading ethnographers of klezmer culture. He has been doing field research among the Jews and Roma in Central and Eastern Europe on the topic since 1981. He is a graduate of San Diego State University and New York University and currently is artist-in-residence in the Jewish Studies Program at SDSU.


... Shpil: The Art of Playing Klezmer, a slim yet information-rich volume edited by accomplished klezmer violinist and ethnographer Yale Strom. Filled with historical details, practical advice, technical instruction, musical examples and illustrative anecdotes, this all-in-one book gathers the wisdom of renowned klezmer performers, specifically Peter Stan (accordion), Jeff Pekarek (bass), Norbert Stachel (clarinet), David Licht (drums), Yale Strom (violin) and Elizabeth Schwartz (vocals).

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By Jonathan L, Friedmann, Ph.D., THINKING ON MUSIC

DAVE TARRAS - The King of Klezmer (Or-Tav 2010)

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Hailed as "The Benny Goodman of klezmer," Dave Tarras is considered the most influential klezmer musician of the Twentieth Century. Scion of a musical family in Ternovke, Ukraine, Tarras played at weddings for Jews and non-Jews even playing in the Czarist army up to World War One. He immigrated to America and after a brief stint as a furrier, began to make a living with his clarinet. From 1925 until his death in 1989, Dave Tarras set the standard for klezmer musicianship and virtuosity. Even the great be-bop artists Charlie Parker and Miles Davis travelled to the Catskills to study the technique of this complex and compelling virtuoso.

CLICK HERE to listen to description presented by Ukranian Roots Radio

Author Yale Strom spent months interviewing the people who knew Tarras best: his musical collaborators and family members. The first biography authorized by the Tarras familythis book includes newly discovered personal and historical facts about Dave Tarras and the world in which he lived and played, and priceless photographs from the family archives.

Twenty-eight of Tarras' melodies as written by Tarras and discovered in his manuscripts are presented in arrangements for C and B-flat instruments. An essential book for anyone interested in klezmer or Jewish cultural history.

.. it is full of scholarly historical and cultural information about the lives of klezmorim and their music both in the 'old country' and in the United States. "  >> Read More Association of Jewish LibrariesMay/June 2011
...recently published an oral history titled “Dave Tarras: The King of Klezmer,” beginning with Tarras’s birth into a family of klezmorim in czarist Russia and ending with his death at age 92 in 1989. The book also includes rare photos of Tarras, his family and colleagues, as well as sheet music for 28 of Tarras’s melodies, arranged by Strom and Jeff Pekarek. " >> Read More Crowning the 'King of Klezmer' by Renee Ghert-Zand 5/4/2011
Though it is a bit surprising that it has taken so long for a biography of Dave Tarras to appear in print, Strom’s book was certainly worth the wait."  >> Read More Cantor Johnathan L. Friedman: The Daily Rabbi Sunday, June 26, 2011

KLEZMER - WORLD MUSIC: PLAY - ALONG (Universal Edition 2004)

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4 books are avilable - Violin, Clarinet, Saxophone, Flute (Each book comes with CD)

One book contains all parts for Violin, Clarinet, Saxophone, Flute, Accordion, Bass and Percussion and a CD.

Quilted Landscape:Conversations with Young Immigrants (Simon and Schuster 1996)

In Yale Strom's book: "Quilted Landscape: Conversations with Young Immigrants" he spoke to young newcomers in schools in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Michigan, and California. Several find American classes easy. They might struggle with English, but they can't believe Americans would know only one language. Some like it here; some want to go back. Many have been through a lot, and they feel more mature than their American peers. Nearly all are teased because of their differences and feel the hurt of anti-immigration prejudice. The young immigrant voices come from Bangladesh, Mexico, Kuwait, Romania, Yemen and other countries that will grab readers with their candor, sophistication, and diversity. There's a good world map and a bibliography. Photographs, interviews and thumbnail sketches of the countries from which the immigrant children (6-17) came to the U.S. Ideal for elementary and intermediate schools, libraries and social studies programs.

The Wedding That Saved a Town 2008

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Yiske and his band of klezmer musicians must find a groom to participate in averyunconventional wedding. An unusual folktale based on the old European Jewish custom of holding a wedding in a cemetery to ward off a cholera epidemic. Join Yiske, his fellow musicians and his clever horse Fairdy in this ghoulishly delightful tale.forewords

Written by famed klezmer musician and ethnographer Yale Strom. Illustrated by Jenya Prosmitsky

ISBN: 978-0-8225-7376-0

Ages 5-10, Grades K-4

32 pages, 9 1/4 x 11


"With his village beleaguered by an outbreak of cholera, Pinsk’s learned Rabbi Yamferd decides, as legend dictates, to initiate a miracle by officiating at a “black wedding” of two orphans in a cemetery" KIRKUS REVIEW arrowRead More

"This is a lovely story that combines Jewish tradition, endearing illustrations, and common sense that all children will enjoy." School Library Journal, 5/6/2009 arrowRead More

"In retelling the happy-ending story for children, "I took some liberties," creating a klezmer musician character by name of Yiske" Donald H. Harrison arrowRead More

"The book is valuable for children and educators alike. For children, it is a hopeful and animated tale. For educators, the book can be used to enhance multiculturalism in the classroom" Kaitlyn Moore, ForeWord Magazine arrowRead More

A sense of worthy values is stressed while offering a flavor of the marriage rituals in a nontraditional setting." Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2008 arrowRead More

The Book of Klezmer: The History, The Music, The Folklore from the 14th Century to the 21st” A Cappella Books, Chicago 2002

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This book traces klezmer music's entire history, making use of extensive documentary material, interviews with forgotten klezmorim, as well as luminaries such as Theodore Bikel, Leonard Nimoy, Joel Grey, Andy Statman, Alicia Svigals, Tony Kushner and John Zorn: and dozens of illuminating, stirring and previously unpublished photographs and never before printed music from Strom's field recordings. Ideal for all klezmer and world musicians, students of Jewish culture and the Holocaust, ethnographers and ethnomusicologists.

"An annotated 700-year history, previously unpublished photos, newly compiled and translated Holocaust memory book reminiscences, the secret klezmer language revealed, and new musical scores from the author's field recordings enable the scholar and neophyte to gain a better understanding of klezmer's cultural and musical aspects."  Read More Review by Elliott Simon 

Uncertain Roads: Searching for the Gypsies" Four Winds Books (McMillan) New York 1993

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Interviews and photographs of the Rom (or Gypsy) communities in Europe and Eastern Europe. These candid insights into an often-misunderstood culture and world community are remarkable for their humor, honesty, insight and the degree to which Strom is accepted and trusted. Considered "Romani Rai" - not Rom himself, but deserving of their respect - Strom's unusual degree of acceptance by the Rom provides a rare glimpse into an amazing people. Includes rare interviews, a history section and four Gypsy melodies. Ideal for all ages

THE HASIDIM OF BROOKLYN: A PHOTO ESSAY by Yale Strom (Jason Aronson)  1993

This book is a pictorial look at Hasidic life in Brooklyn (Wiiliamsburg, Boro Park, Crown Heights) from secular to religious life. Because the author has Stoliner Hasidic roots he was able to befriend and be trusted by the Hasidim who generally do not like to have their pictures taken. These intimate and candid photos are a testament to the trust the author had between himself and his informants. The book also has a historical section in the begining of the book about the history of the Hasidim and specific historical essays on these Hasidic sects: Belz, Bobov, Ger, Lubavitch, Satmar, Spinka and Stolin.

THE EXPULSION OF THE JEWS: 500 YEARS OF EXODUS by Yale Strom (S.P.I. Books)  1992

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To commemorate the five-hundredth anniversary of their expulsion, Yale Strom represents a memorable portrait of the subsequent Jewish existence in these secluded exilic lands - their sorrows, their courage and the awe-inspiring attributes that have kept them religiously and culturally whole for half a millenium. The book includes black and white photos, interviews and historical essays about the Sephardic Jews that lived and still live in Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria (former) Yugoslavia, Spain and Portugal.


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Yale Strom spent tweleve weeks interviewing and photographingseveral hundred Eastern European Jewish youth, ages seven to twenty. He traveled from East Germany, to (former) Czechoslovakia, from Poland to Romania, from Bulgaria to (former) Yugoslavia and Hungary. He visited Jewish youth in cities and in rural areas asking them questions on the eve of the dismantliing of the Berlin Wall about their religion, their government, their families, their history and their images of America. Along with the interviews are the portraits of the young informants, thumbnail historical sketches on the Jewish history of each country and a map. This book is wonderful for schools (ages 6 - 18 yrs.) and as a gift for Bar and Bas Mitsves.

THE LAST JEWS OF EASTERN EUROPE by Yale Strom & Brian Blue (Philosophical Library) 1987

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This moving (coffee-table) photo-documentary was the first book depicting the everyday lives of the Jewish people in the former East Bloc countries since Dr. Roman Vishniac's historic photo-documentary book "A Vanished World"was published in 1947. During the winter of 1984-85 Yale Strom and Brian Blue traveled behing the Iron Curtain to discover these diminishing yet thriving Jewish communities. Along with these moving black and white photographs there are historical and personal essays about the Jews living in each of the 28 communities the authors visited. This is a wonderful book for anyone interested in knowing what life was like for the Jews during the last years of the Iron Curtain and for all who like to travel to these fascinating places via the comfort and safety of their armchair.