Klezmer and more 


Minsker Kapelye is an ensemble from Minsk, Belarus, with deep roots in Eastern European culture. Led by ethnomusicologist Dmitri Slepovitch, the group's music is inspired by the Jewish wedding bands popular in the early 20th century. Its compositions, a blend of original and traditional numbers, range from jaunty and celebratory to elegiac and mournful, sometimes within the same song. Slepovitch's chants, which occasionally ring out over the ensemble's instrumentation, have an equally wide range, and can sound satiric, joyful and tragic all at once.

Led by music director Boris Spector, Minsker Kapelye is the chief attraction of this year's Hanukkah events at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta. The activities begin with a patron concert, "From the Classics to Klezmer: A Taste of Minsk," featuring Minsker Kapelye and double bass player Mark Bernat in a chamber and klezmer music performance Dec. 24.

Dec. 25 brings the Family Hanukkah Concert, for which Minsker Kapelye will lead morning and early afternoon family sing-alongs. Finally, to commemorate the official start of Hanukkah, there will be a lighting of the first Hanukkah candle near the MJCCA's courtyard fountain and a hootenanny led by -- you guessed it -- Minsker Kapelye.

By hearkening to a diaspora that thrived for centuries before nearly being destroyed by the Holocaust, the music of Minsker Kapelye should be an appropriate soundtrack for MJCC's Hanukkah festivities.


Live from Minsk: A Hanukkah Celebration! runs Dec. 24-25 at Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Patron concert is Sat., 8 p.m. $100. Family sing-along is Sun., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. $7-$10. Jam session and candle-lighting is Sun., 6 p.m. Free. 770-395-2654. www.atlantajcc.org.



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