The Jews Brothers Band was formed by Hershal, Nigel Gavin and Linn Lorkin and some musician friends (who all played in various groups) while sitting around Gerhard's Cafe on a gloomy winter Sunday in late 1994, wondering where the next gig would come from.
Except for Hershal, none of the "brothers", not even Nigel who's also a New York Yid, had really heard of Klezmer or Yiddish music (other than some vague rumor that there was a "new" kind of music surfacing from the States).
Hershal said, "Hey you guys wanna hear some of the music my grandfather used to play?" and began playing. The boys (and girl) joined in and suddenly everyone in the cafe turned their heads to listen to this strange music. The next Sunday they began playing weekly and for those first early gigs, the cafe would suddenly fill with people. A buzz was going around Grey Lynn and the rest is history!
New Zealand, being small and isolated from the rest of the world, is a place where people have always had to work with what they got - so the odd-for-klezmer instrumental line-up of the JBB is somewhat of a New Zealand phenomenon. There are also other cultural and musical influences in the JBB version; Celtic, Fresian, jazz, blues, rock and so on but this melding of other musical streams is nothing new for Klezmer which has its roots in a vast area now called Eastern Europe where Slavic,Gypsy,Germanic,Turkish,Romanian, Russian,Greek and Arabic flavours have always met in an exotic melting pot. Later on, Afro-American jazz influences would also lend their ingredients to the stew - a delicious mish-mash of sounds of many cultures.
So this New Zealand version fits right in with the tradition of Klezmer music. It's no surprise then that the fanatical followers of the group come from every age-group, and any and all religious and ethnic backgrounds imaginable.
Neill Dunkin (saxophone, percussion)
Linn Lorkin (vocals, melodica)
Carmen Courtney (saxophone, trombone)
Nigel Gavin (mandolin, banjo, guitar)
Peter Scott (bass)
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