Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A traditionally itinerant Jewish folk musician of eastern Europe performing in a small band, as at weddings.
  • n. The Jewish folk music played by small, traditionally itinerant bands.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A Jewish folk musician.
  • n. A type of popular Jewish folk music especially associated with Ashkenazi cultures.

Etymologies

Yiddish, from Mishnaic Hebrew kəlê zemer, musical instruments : kəlê, pl. bound form of kəlî, instrument; see kll in Semitic roots + zemer, music, song; see zmr in Semitic roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Yiddish כּלי־זמיר (klezmer), from Hebrew כְּלֵי זֶֽמֶר (k’lê zémer, "musical instruments"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Their music ranges from the sweet and mournful to the highly expressive sounds of Eastern European klezmer, which is best described as jazz mixed with traditional Eastern European music.

    Anderson Independent Mail Stories

  • One of the most conspicuous examples of such transmission is klezmer, which is recognizable at least back to the nineteenth century and possibly a great deal farther.

    PopMatters

  • Feb. 27 by Abraham Inc., an all-star ensemble fusing funk, jazz, hip-hop and klezmer, which is led by virtuoso clarinetist David Krakauer, trombonist Fred Wesley and "beat architect" Josh Dolgin, aka Socalled.

    BroadwayWorld.com Featured Content

  • But for me, the best kind of klezmer is already headnoddingly funky.

    Jewschool

  • In Mahler's time the word 'klezmer' wasn't used, they'd have just called it something like 'Yiddish racket'.

    BBC Blog Network

  • As for the tune itself: It sounds a light rock holiday note, complete with singing children and a bit of a klezmer vibe.

    Orrin Hatch does Hanukkah

  • I was entranced by the music, the solo guitar and the lively fiddle tunes, which for some reason reminded me of Jewish klezmer music from the shtels of Eastern Europe and Russia.

    La Hacienda Ci�naga del Carmen

  • To the comment that the Orientalist composer's intoxicating minor mode—based on what is called the ahava-rabba mode in Hebrew cantillation and klezmer music—is virtually the same as the mode Liszt called the "Hungarian Minor" in his rhapsodies, Mr. Botstein says that "many scholars have pointed out that the same musical gestures end up as ethnic signals for any number of cultures."

    Go East, Monsieur

  • He played with an aggressive tone, like a Sonny Rollins calypso, but never completely stole the spotlight, instead blending in with the unusual ensemble and an equally individual tune, which felt like a Cuban samba, a Rio choro, and a klezmer bulger all at once.

    Ringing in the American Revolution

  • The hidden gem is Wilmoth Houdin's "Black But Sweet," a klezmer calypso jam that would be immortalized by Shantel's numerous renderings of his most beloved track, "Bucovina."

    Derek Beres: Global Beat Fusion: Buzzing Cicadas and Jewish Gangsters

Comments

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  • I suspect they hear it as sounding like other birds and are trying to communicate with it, so they sing back. You should hear what happens when the teakettle whistles! :-)

    July 17, 2007

  • They do!

    I wonder if they hear something we don't.

    July 17, 2007

  • Zebra finches--which sound like little horns themselves.

    July 17, 2007

  • What kinds of birds do you have?

    July 17, 2007

  • My birds love this music. I think it's the clarinet. :-)

    July 17, 2007

  • Heard a story about this type of Jewish music that is in a revival in the U.S. - on NPR today

    December 18, 2006