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by World Music Network February 01, 2012


What Makes a European?

other europeansThe Other Europeans are an outstanding big-band with a refreshing take on the klezmer scene. The name 'The Other Europeans' refers to the Jews and Roma who have been marginalised by the nations of Europe.

The release of new album Splendorhas made quite the stir. Their music is a vehicle for highly sensitive political and identity issues. We often ponder, what makes a European? Somehow, there is this idea that a European is someone who has their own culture but also moves across cultural boundaries. This notion is wholly found in Splendor. Behind the album is a project that brings together outstanding musicians playing Yiddish klezmer and Roma lautari musics largely from Bessarabia (now Moldova). This eight-piece klezmer group and six-piece lautari group were assembled by pianist and accordion player Alan Bern, the leader of the project. Both parts of this relationship have strong identities that are clearly portrayed in the musics. This is undoubtedly one of the most important klezmer releases in years.