Resources: Genres and Performers: KlezmerEastern European Jews have used klezmer music in weddings and other events since the 1500s. The word klezmer comes from the Hebrew words for instrument song: "kley," and, "zemer." The word refers to music that has descended from European adaptations of early Jewish music, especially the adaptations made from the influences of eastern European cultures. The music began as prayers chanted in synagogue and the music of cantors who sung on High Holy Days.
With exposure to the cultures of the countries where Jews immigrated, Slavic influences began to permeate the language, customs, food and music of the people. And, the Jewish immigrants similarly inflenced the language, customs, food and music in their new countries. Jewish musicians who played for slavic audiences introduced their audiences to jewish musical traditions and also learned local repertoire and introduced it their own people. The instruments include accordian, clarinet, flute, violin, and brass instruments.
This melded music, now known as Klezmer is still played as dance music at weddings and is now sometimes played atbas and bar mitzves. Also, klezmer concerts are now given on the concert stage as part of a surge in interest in Klesmer in the United States and Europe. In the US, baby boomers began to seek their roots and found a new appreciation for klezmer music. These Jewish Americans and a growing number of non-Jews have such strong interest in the music that a number of performers have very active calandars.