Amsterdam Klezmer Band


With their talented musicians, the Amsterdam Klezmer Band (AKB) is an energetic and poetic stage act that charms international audiences. Their refreshing approach to Klezmer and Balkan music transcends the traditional aspects of this music and results in a very lively mix of Eastern-European sound. Their strength lies in their ability to appeal to a remarkably broad audience across all age groups; they play clubs or theatres, festivals, parties, weddings or formal functions. AKB can both fire up a crowd and create pure listening pleasure with the vibrancy of their playing. Their instrumental skills are complemented by the vocals of Alec Kopyt from Odessa and Job Chajes (also on saxophone).
Since its foundation in 1996 by saxophone player Job Chajes, the band has evolved rapidly. In no time the band became world-famous in Amsterdam for its many vibrant performances on the streets, in the parks and in the pubs. Soon the rest of The Netherlands followed: the band performed at the Oerol Festival in 1999, 2000 and 2001 to great acclaim and was invited to the Noorderslagfestival in January 2001 (the media describing their performance as ‘the great surprise of the festival’), followed by the Lowlands Festival in August 2001. During that period the band toured in Slovenia, Switzerland and Italy and completed three successful tours of Turkey. The third CD of the Amsterdam Klezmer Band, Limonchiki, was released on the New York label Knitting Factory label and the band had a grand tour of the Dutch club scene in the autumn of 2001, with as its highpoint the presentation of Limonchikiat the Paradiso, Amsterdam. In September 2003 the CD Katakoftiwas released. It’s the result of a collaborative effort of the Amsterdam Klezmer Band and the Galata Gypsy Band from Turkey. The CD was released on Turkish label Kalan Records. In January 2005 SON (Russian for ‘dream’) was released, containing a veritable treasure-trove of new Amsterdam Klezmer and Balkan music. The album received an enthusiastic reaction from the (international) press and led to a year of heavy touring and playing gigs in clubs and theatres including world famous Concertgebouw Amsterdam and venues in New York, Moscow, Paris and Hamburg.
Nowadays only part of the Amsterdam Klezmer Band repertory consists of traditionals of Balkan or Klezmer origin. Most of the AKB repertory has been created by the band members themselves, who all without exception contribute musically to an ever-growing melting-pot of infectious Balkan/Gypsy/Klezmer cross-over grooves. In this manner the band endeavours to breathe new life into the Eastern-European Balkan, Klezmer and Gypsy music tradition. Passionate performances, spectacular live shows and a good dose of street credibility form the ingredients of their cocktail.



Label: Essay Recordings
Release date: March 28, 2012

The MOKUM album contains 16 live tracks recently recorded in front of a select audience at Amsterdam’s renowned Studio 150. These recordings retrace the band’s history. Most of these tracks have not been available for years. The time was ripe to play and reshape them again, giving them a new edge – these rejuvenated songs are alive and kicking once again. According to Stan Rijven : « Mokum is the Yiddish word for ‘city.’ For hundreds of years it has also been slang and something of a pet name for Amsterdam as the free port and haven for dissidents from every corner of the globe. Mokum has offered religious, political and creative refuge to a host of Jews, Huguenots, artists and free thinkers, to which the likes of Descartes, Vivaldi, John Adams, Chet Baker and Dutch provo activist Roel van Duijn can attest. That special blend of longing for freedom and the desire to create a home where one is truly welcome is at the fundamental root of the Amsterdam Klezmer Band. » ‘Mokum’ is also the title of the CD that celebrates the septet’s fifteenth anniversary.

Amsterdam Klezmer Band  - Mokum


Label: Essay
Distribution in France: La Baleine
Release date: March 16, 2011

“Amsterdam Klezmer Band are my favourite group. They know what it’s like to play in bars. They sound like a Klezmer version of The Pogues. They are giving Klezmer music street credibility”. (Joann Sfar, French comic star, who recently invited them to perform the soundtrack for his animated movie “The Cat of the Rabbi”). AMSTERDAM KLEZMER BAND can both fire up a crowd and create pure listening pleasure with the vibrancy of their playing. Popular AMSTERDAM KLEZMER BAND tunes are being covered and AMSTERDAM KLEZMER BAND remixes are found in many clubs from Berlin to Sydney. Over the past few years the band has performed all around the world. Their years on the road have shaped this band into a strong and highly prolific collective.

Amsterdam Klezmer Band  - Katla


Label: Essay Recordings
Release date: January 28, 2009

Zaraza means infectious or contagious, in Polish it is the word for epidemic. Zaraza is indeed an infectious album from an extremely virulent and passionate band. The album contains 15 brand new tracks, all original compositions rooted in the Klezmer tradition and infused with Romanian, Turkish, Serbian, Russian and Macedonian sounds. With Zaraza the band has achieved the optimal CD recording of their unique sound and qualities. The AMSTERDAM KLEZMER BAND is showcased in its purest form, with virtuoso and provocative performances by the musicians. On Zaraza the musical fire so characteristic of the AMSTERDAM KLEZMER BAND is stoked to an even greater heat. “Not only do the horns play the signature Klezmer parts like they could do it in their sleep, but also the cool sounds of Dutch hip-hop. Could this be the future sound of Klezmer?” Franz Zipperer/Clarino

Amsterdam Klezmer Band  - ZARAZA