The Book of Klezmer

The Book of Klezmer
The Book of Klezmer

The Book of Klezmer

The History, the Music, the Folklore
By Yale Strom


400 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Trade Paper, EPUB, Mobipocket, PDF

Trade Paper, $24.95 (CA $27.95) (US $24.95)

ISBN 9781613740637

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (Jun 2011)


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The entire history of Yiddish music, from the 14th century to the 21st
Klezmer is Yiddish music, the music of the Jews of Europe and America, a music of laughter and tears, of weddings and festivals, of dancing and prayer. Born in the Middle Ages, it came of age in the shtetl (the Eastern European Jewish country town), where "a wedding without klezmer is worse than a funeral without tears." Most of the European klezmorim (klezmer players) were murdered in the Holocaust; in the last 25 years, however, klezmer has been reborn, with dozens of groups, often mixing klezmer with jazz or rock, gaining large followings throughout the world.

The Book of Klezmer traces the music’s entire history, making use of extensive documentary material; interviews with forgotten klezmorim as well as luminaries such as Theodore Bikel, Leonard Nimoy, Joel Grey, Andy Statman, and John Zorn; and dozens of illuminating, stirring, and previously unpublished photographs.


“On the stage, on the screen, and now on the page, Yale Strom has made me tingle with the wonderful feel and poignant heritage of klezmer music. The emotional stories in this book will reach every heart, not just Jewish ones.” —Arthur Hiller

“A remarkably entertaining and carefully documented study.” —Choice

“Strom uses an artist’s hand . . . and shows that a history of art can be a work of art as well.” —Jewish Bulletin

“Few modern practitioners are better equipped to examine and celebrate klezmer's history than Yale Strom . . . Just about everything you could ever want to know about klezmer is supplied in the book.” —San Diego Union-Tribune

“Full of exciting facts . . a musical treasure full of never-before-published material.” —San Diego Jewish Times

“This very good book has an anecdotal, folkloric quality that makes for pleasant browsing. A valuable addition to klezmer literature.” —Theodore Bikel

“The best, most thorough, klezmer book on the market.” —Cleveland Jewish News

“By far, the best book on the history and folklore of instrumental Jewish music.” —RootsWorld

Author Biography

Yale Strom is the author of six books on Eastern European Jews and gypsies; has made four highly acclaimed documentaries, including The Last Klezmer, and a feature film; and is the leader of two klezmer bands, with nine records to his name. He lives in New York City.