Emil Bruh

Klezmer Violinist & Instrumental Ensemble
For those that don’t know Klezmer is a extremely interesting music of Jewish origin. I believe the word Klezmer itself simply means “musician” in Yiddish. Klezmer doesn’t have a huge following in western culture. I’ve heard music nerds saying that it as something to do with it’s use of keys and keys changes not common in Western culture. Those embedded in Western culture are used to hearing major/minor keys in their music and Klezmer can be all over the place. Switching keys mid song is the norm. Klezmer is typically violin driven and it really puts the instrument through it’s paces but because of the violin’s versatility capos and multiple tunings aren’t needed, especially in the hands of a virtuoso like Emil Bruh.

I’m quite fond of Eastern European music because of the sheer emotion that comes through. Some of the most dramatic music can be found in the Eastern European world. Adversely some of the happiest as well. The main forms of Eastern European music would be Klezmer, Gypsy and regional folk music from the many areas such as Turkey or Ukraine. Like many forms of folk music they are each rich with history and talented performers. I’d say of the three the one most accessible to people in the United States would be Klezmer, mainly because of the large Jewish population here. While the three subsets have completely different origins they can be quite similar in sound. It’s not uncommon to hear Klezmer musicians playing Gypsy tunes and vice versa. This goes to show the versatility of the region and how open it’s people really were and are to other cultures.

One particular Klezmer recording that I really enjoy is by Emil Bruh. While any information on the recording and Emil Bruh himself is lacking it’s still a very nice listen. What I do know about Emil is that he played violin from at least 1930 to 1959. He was big in the European theater scene and he didn’t just play Klezmer music but jazz as well. I can also say that the fella had some chops. I find Emil’s approach to Klezmer to have a slightly classical angle, no vocals and you never get the feeling that he’s playing from the hip in any of the songs. These tunes were practiced, rehearsed and recorded. There’s nothing wrong with that and they are executed with a almost surgical precision. Judging by his playing I’d say Emil’s education on the violin is more scholarly then the grass roots learnin-from-grandpa approach that some of his colleagues have taken. Never the less the album in discussion is called “Klezmer Violinist & Instrumental Ensemble”, pretty generic name huh? You should check it out though.

I can’t seem to find any mp3 samples on Amazon but they do have the album on there with samples. It can be found here.

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