Watch the Klezmer Tune online guitar lesson by Tim Sparks from Roots, Rags & Blues
At the beginning of the 20th Century, a wave of immigrants from Russia and Eastern Europe established large Jewish communities with a vibrant cultural life in cities like New York, Philadelphia and Chicago. Among this immigrant population were many great musicians. For example, Naftule Brandwien, Dave Tarras, Abe Schwartz, and Harry Kandel led Klezmer Bands and left a rich legacy in Edison Cylinders and 78 rpm recordings. Tanst, Tanst Yidelekh was originally recorded by the Abe Schwartz Orchestra. Strains of this song can be heard in a number of recordings, all with different titles. The earliest is "Ma Yofis", recorded in Bucharest circa 1908-1910 by Belf's Rumanian Orchestra. The Klezmorim recorded a version titled "Yashke Yashke". A more recent rendition is called "Der Rabbe", by Andy Statman and David Grisman. (When playing this piece on a concert tour of Provence a couple of years ago, I was surprised to learn this melody had been set to words and was a big pop tune in France in the 60's!). There's a bit of each of these in this incantation, which I recorded for Tzadik Records, Tanz, released in 2000.