• music

In an often-quoted story, Henry Sapoznik tells of travelling to Mount Airy, North Carolina during the 1970s to study old-time Appalachian music. His teacher, banjo player Tommy Jarrell, was puzzled by the interest that young, urban Jewish musicians took in his playing and asked,

      "Hank, don't your people got none of your own music?"

And so Sapoznik, a cantor's son, began studying Jewish music, eventually going on to found the klezmer band Kapelye and, in 1984, KlezKamp.

Sapoznik's story is so often quoted because it has given the contemporary klezmer revival a symbolic moment of origin, capturing the sense of surprise and delight that many musicians felt as they began to excavate a tradition that the mid-twentieth-century folk revival had largely passed by. For them, and for those who have followed them, the music of Yiddish culture offers an unsuspected affinity, even a tenuous continuity, as we delve into a vanished past that is and is not our own.

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