Hello, Buna Ziua, Sholem Aleykhem!
My name is Jake Shulman-Ment, and I am a klezmer violinist from New York City. I've been spending the past several years traveling around the world playing Jewish music for people, as well as traveling to various Eastern European countries to learn about their languages and folk music traditions. This year I am living in northeastern Romania on a Fulbright grant studying Romanian violin styles. Why am I doing this, you ask? Well, because Romanian music is probably the non-Jewish music that had the strongest influence on klezmer music as we now know it when it was still alive in Eastern Europe.
Here's what I want to do:
I have already put together a band composed of myself, Benjy Fox-Rosen (a fabulous Yiddish singer and bassist also based in NYC), Adrian Receanu (one of the top clarinettists in Europe playing traditional Romanian music, from Moldova), and an amazing accordionist from Romania who is still to be determined, but there definitely is no lack of amazing accordionists in this country. We are going to collaborate to create a new concert program which reflects our common musical heritages while also pushing the boundaries of the two genres, thus creating a new, original sound. We will then embark on a two week long tour of concerts throughout Romania in rural and urban music clubs and performance spaces, Jewish community centers, and synagogues.
Romania is an amazing place to perform klezmer music. Due to years of severe cultural and informational repression under the communist regime of Ceausescu directly following the horrors of the second world war, the majority of Romanians are unaware of the richness of the Jewish history that exists here. I've found music to be one of the best ways to communicate this. Every time I play a klezmer tune for people here, they look surprised and ask me, "Where did you learn that Romanian music?" My response is, "Well, it's also my music, and I learned it in New York!" I want to take this conversation to another level where people literally listen to it happening musically in a concert setting.
Here's where you and your money come in:
Finding venues in Romania that are interested in this kind of concert is easy. Finding one that can pay us is very, very difficult. Also, I want these concerts to be as close to free as possible for the public. I am going to use part of my Fulbright grant to cover some of the costs, but I need to save some to eat, so I'm turning to you! Here's what the funds I raise on Kickstarter will go towards:
- Van rental
-Food on the road
-Upright Bass rental (I'm looking for an in-kind donation on this front, but not sure that will happen)
-If anything is left over, paying the three other guys a bit for their hard work!
*Note: the minimum amount to make this project possible is $2,000 but in reality we will need a good deal more than that! So don't feel shy to put us over the funding goal!
Our tour will take place in the first two weeks of this coming June. We already have concerts booked in fantastic places in the cities of Oradea and Bucharest, and I will be working on more in the months to come! I'm confident that we could do about 10 concerts all across the country over the course of two weeks.
Give a listen to more of my music on:
I hope you enjoy my music, and also feel free to check out Benjy and Adrian at the following links:
Thanks so much for reading, and I hope I've inspired you enough to become a backer for this project. I promise, you won't be disappointed, and neither will all the people in Romania who will get to hear our music thanks to you!
- (60 days)