About Di Naye
Di Naye Kapelye plays old
time Jewish music the way we imagine it was played in eastern Europe both
before and after the Holocaust. Learning from Jewish people still living in the
region, and from Gypsy musicians who played for them, DNK carries on a living
tradition of music.
Yiddish culture in east Europe
today is but a dim shadow of its history and legacy, but it is not dead. Jewish
communities exist in diminished numbers and Jewish life
continues, not the least in the memories of an older generation who remember a
world which spoke Yiddish. Di Naye Kapelye means "The New Band" in Yiddish. We
play old-time Yiddish music from not so long ago.
This is music for
dancing, for singing, for celebrating, and for remembering. Di Naye Kapelye
approaches klezmer music as a living east European folk music tradition, not as
nostalgia. Performances are both energetic and informative, with dance music
from east Europe -- particularly Hungary, Romania and Moldova, Yiddish folk
song, and more recently, reinventions of Hasidic traditional song, all played
with attention to each particular regional style.
Formed in 1994
through a number of fortuitous circumstances, many involving liberal quantities
of palinka Hungarian plum brandy at marathon Hungarian folk
dances, founding member Bob Cohen assembled an international group of musicians
devoted to digging for the roots of Yiddish music in the Carpathian region. But
they didnt go looking in museums. Fragments turned up in old recordings,
were learned from gypsy fiddlers, and confirmed by Jewish folk still living
here. Is this how this goes? What instruments would have been used? How did
people dance? What did people sing?
A Naye Kapelye concert is a tour
of the places, moods, emotions, tastes and smells of a Jewish celebration. It
brings you to the rabbi's table, it speaks of forbidden dancing with Moldavian
"sharletankes", it speaks of whiskey and the misery of life in the Russian
Cohen himself began collecting Jewish music in Hungary and
Romania in the 1980s as an extension of his involvement in the Hungarian
tanchaz or "dance house" movement. Based on field recordings, interviews, and
historic recordings, Di Naye Kapelye recreates the sound of the many
non-commercial Jewish bands who served Jewish communities in Europe as late as
the 1970s. In Hungary, and particularly in Transylvania, Gyspies commonly
played music for Jewish communities, and members of Di Naye Kapelye continue to
do extensive field research among elderly Gypsy and Jewish musicians, recording
and often playing with their teachers, carrying this living tradition into the
But tradition does not imply stuffiness: Di Naye
Kapelye sees tradition as a viable, alternative aesthetic for today. Di Naye
Kapelye is as at home playing in alternative music clubs as they are playing
for Jewish weddings and Jewish old-age homes in Hungary.
Kapelye is available for concerts, festivals, weddings and other simchas, as
well as other collaborations.