New York Jewish Travel Guide sat down with Anna Metaxa – singer of the famous KlezBanda group at the Bleibergs Café in Berlin, Germany.
Q and A with the New York Jewish Travel Guide (NYJTG) and Anna Metaxa of the KlezBanda group.
NYJTG: When did you form your band? What inspired you to make music together?
Anna: We formed our band in 2015. Jossif Gofenberg, the group leader is a specialist of Klezmer music, and I am proud to say, took the main prize at the International Klezmer Festival in Safad, Israel. The other band members, Eduard Scharlak and Vadim Borovinsky, played Klezmer for a few years together in the group KlezMärchen. I have worked as a singer with many musicians, singing different styles of music. After I met Jossif Gofenberg, I was amazed by his style of playing Klezmer and responded spontaneously with the song “Tumbalalaika.” The idea of a Klezmer group with him as a singer was born.
We all love Jewish music: Klezmer, Israeli songs and Russian songs of Odessa, the so called Russian chanson. We also love songs of the “Jewish shtetl.” We sing in Yiddish, Hebrew, Russian, English and other languages.
NYJTG: Describe your show, visually and musically.
Anna: We often call the audience to sing with us and to dance to our music.
Jossif will tell a few funny short stories (classical “Jewish anecdotes”) during the show.
And when I sing a sad song (usually with a great emotion) the audience gets sad in spite of fact that the song being performed in a foreign language such as Russian or Yiddish
NYJTG: Do you also write your own music?
Anna: Jossif Gofenberg writes the arrangements for our music and sometimes creates new melodies.
NYJTG: Why did you pick your band name? How did you form the group? Why did you decide to play the genre or genres that you do?
Anna: Klez means Klezmer and Banda means “a gang” in Russian. It alludes, with some irony, to the so- called “Russian chansons” music of the underground culture of the GULAG and other non-controlled songs from the Soviet era. Jewish music is our music. We all know it since we were children.
NYJTG: Where do you play and in which countries?
Anna: We play in Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic and we hope to come to the USA.
NYJTG: How would you describe your fans?
Anna: Berlin is a melting pot of people. And so our fans are of all ages and many nationalities.
NYJTG: Do you have any upcoming shows?
Anna: Yes, our upcoming shows can be found on our web-site
www.klezbanda.com. Soon we will have a CD and you can find some of our songs on You Tube.
NYJTG: Which songs do you perform most frequently?
Anna: Hava Nagila, Mashiakh, Ba Mir Bista Sheyn and Tumbalalaika.
NYJTG: Any last words?
Anna: We work hard to develop and improve our unique style of interpreting Klezmer and the Jewish music of Eastern Europe. We would like to play our music in many countries including the USA.
NYJTG: Anna, many thanks for your time and sharing your valuable insight about KlezBanda and I hope to see you soon with your band performing in New York City.
For more information, please call Jossif Gofenberg at +49 (0)173 – 930 78 70 or email Anna Metaxa at firstname.lastname@example.org
New York Jewish Travel Guide