I’m going to break away from my usual subject just this once, to bow before true artistic greatness.
Last night, I was fortunate enough to watch THE Klezmer performance of a lifetime. The remarkable Klezmer band Millie & the Mentshn are in town for only 2 days, and their first performance in Minneapolis was truly not to be missed.
Now I did not grow up with Klezmer – it was something that wasn’t really big in my family. But last night’s show ROCKED! This is definitely not your mother’s Klezmer! This was Klezmer for people who don’t even like Klezmer!
How many times have you seen a Klezmer singer with belly dancing-style coin belts jingling on her skirt? This is Klezmer complete with cowboy hats, and a violinist jumping and running around the stage!
And it was not just the usual fast wedding-style dances (which were superb!), but also Turkish melodies, swing, waltzes, tangoes – even “Ghost Riders in the Sky”!
Apparently, you haven’t really lived until you’ve heard “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in Yiddish!
And the singing! Vocalist Millie Johnson (a native of St Paul, incidentally!) sounds good enough for the opera stage, and there she is, belting out traditional classics and some not-so-traditional pieces alike, all to the audience’s extreme delight.
Speaking of the audience, the band was so good that they nearly filled the Sabes JCC auditorium on a Monday night! There was so much clapping, stomping, screaming, and whistling (people were actually whistling in the JCC auditorium!), that the band was forced to do THREE encores! They actually had to try to convince the audience to leave at the end, and we still wouldn’t. I heard a friend remark that when they play, you feet just start to tap themselves!
So today is your lucky day. Millie & the Mentshn will play only one more show in the Twin Cities. Tonight. In Saint Paul.
This concert will feature even faster, even more danceable tunes – and our very own Shira Schwartz will lead the dancing! So you know it will be awesome! (The way they play, and the way we dance – it’s a perfect match!)
So you know you want to be there. I don’t care what you have going on. Drop it. Come to Saint Paul. And hear this band play. Take my word for it – once they start playing, you will not regret it – I guarantee it![Photos: Sabes JCC, Alex Safonov]