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 (no puns please) 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! (Geography, for those of you who don't know Grey Lynn)
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 lineup 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.
1996 Release of CD "The Jews Brothers Band...Live at Gerhard's Cafe"
1997 First New Zealand National Tour with support of Creative New Zealand
1997 WOMAD Aotearoa Festival, Auckland
1998 Lake Taupo Festival of the Arts
1998 Thredbo World Music Festival, New South Wales, Australia
1999 WOMAD NZ Festival, Auckland
1999 Second New Zealand National Tour
1999 Taranaki Festival of the Arts
1999 Thredbo World Music Festival, NSW, Australia
1999 Belligen Global Carnival, Australia
1999 Tauranga Arts Festival
Jan 2000 Release of 2nd CD "My Yiddish Swing"
April 2000 Third NZ National Tour
November 2000 Fourth Australian Tour: Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne
2001 Celebration of Performing Arts, Auckland
2001 Hawkes Bay Wine festival
2001 Wellington Jazz Festival
2001 Fifth Australian Tour: Sydney, Canberra
2002 Euro Tour
Neill Dunkin (saxophone, percussion)
Linn Lorkin (vocals, melodica)
Carmen Courtney (saxophone, trombone)
Nigel Gavin (mandolin, banjo, guitar)
Peter Scott (bass)
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