So some songs on Brother Moses are klezmer, and others are straight-up gospel. "But," London continues, "we don't try to expand the definition of klezmer and say, 'This is all klezmer now.' The floodgates really started to open working with Joshua, because we just wanted to have a real honest collaboration between people and styles and music and narrative. And we did."
Looking back at Wonder Wheel, he elaborates, "Honestly, from a straight-up analysis, there is maybe five minutes of klezmer on it. But it's clearly a Klezmatics album. It's all in our way of using all sorts of folk musics and integrating them and walking the line between tradition and modernity. The main difference is that instead of the focus being on Yiddish culture, it's Woody Guthrie's texts."
He recalls playing gospel numbers backstage at a show with the Demolition String Band. "In the American gospel industry, they always draw distinctions in old Southern gospel between black and white. But you realize it's not separated like that. Hearing Joshua's voice with acoustic guitar and mandolin and banjo, you realize that there is an American sound. So if someone called the Klezmatics an American klezmer band, I guess that would be right."
THE BOSTON JEWISH MUSIC FESTIVAL | March 6-14 | 781.883.2091 orwww.bostonjewishmusicfestival.org | THE KLEZMATICS, Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square, Somerville | March 13 at 8 pm | $28 | 617.876.4275 o rwww.worldmusic.org
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