Real Music & Real Estate . . .

Yiddishe Cup’s bandleader, Bert Stratton, is Klezmer Guy.
 

He knows about the band biz and – check this out – the real estate biz too. So maybe he’s really Klezmer Landlord.
 

You may not care about the real estate biz. Hey, you may not care about the band biz.  (See you.)
 

This is a blog with a gamy twist. It features tenants with snakes and skunks, and musicians with smoked fish in their pockets.
 

Stratton is an occasional contributor to the New York Times, the Times of Israel, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and City Journal. He won two Hopwood Awards.


 
 

KLEZMER GOY

I’m a German klezmer musician. Hold your questions. Here are the answers:

I live in Berlin. My aunt once told me — she was drunk — “Why do you play that crap? You’re German!”

I play every year Kristallnacht commemorations, where there is always at least one Jew who comes up to me and says, “Are you Jewish?”  I say no, and he’s says, “You have to be!”  Sometimes I tell the person my grandfather was Romanian,  just to move on.

I also play jazz and funk (Vulfpeck).  I have played even for Orthodox Jews in the States, but they don’t thrill too much to my jazz music.

klezgoyI play reeds — saxophone and clarinet.  I don’t try to be Jewish.  I never wanted to be Jewish or not Jewish. Somebody said, “You’re not really a Jew unless at one point in your life you didn’t want to be a Jew.”   I don’t know about such things.

In the Middle West, in Ohio, an old Jew called me a “poseur.”  I had to look that  up.  He was a klezmer musician.  Maybe he was a poseur.  The middle of the United States is very red, I think.  Only he could play klezmer, I think he means. If people think I’m a bad person for playing music from somewhere else, then they know damn little about music.

I’m a klezmer musician.  Forget about the German part for a second.

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Check out Magdalena Waligorska‘s nonfiction book Klezmer’s Afterlife, about the klezmer scene in Berlin and Cracow. Forty-three percent of this post is lifted from the book.

File this under KlezFiction and Fake Profiles.

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2 comments

1 Mark Schilling { 10.09.14 at 12:25 am }

In a blindfold test, most Japanese couldn’t tell a native shamisen/koto/shakuhachi player from one raised in Frankurt — but minus the blindfold, they’d more likely than not make a “good for a gaijin (foreigner)” comment about the non-J. It’s a funny old world.

2 Dave Rowe { 10.10.14 at 6:07 am }

Off-subject:

Don’t know anything about his spiritual beliefs or disbeliefs, but I do know a cat who is one heck of a good pianist – he’s from east suburbs of Cleveland, he may or may not still be on the local scene – last I heard he was living on Coventry making his living with music.

Got to know him as a roommate at Cedar Point summer of 1978. He worked playing at the Red Garter Saloon; I flipped burgers. George (who was called “Quince” due to his affinity for Quincy Jones) one morning showed me how to make french toast. unfortunately I’ve forgotten it.

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