Brief history

The Preßburger Klezmer Band is a unique musical body which has attracted quite a number of fans since it was established in 1995. It is the first Slovak band to take its inspiration from the emotive dance music of Central and Eastern Europe known as klezmer. At the same time, it is also the highest rated among similar bands within the region of the former Czechoslovakia. The band serves up an energetic musical cocktail: a charming mix of Jewish, Balkan and Oriental music, complemented by Slovak and Gipsy folk elements – all combined with a unique essence of contemporary styles, including jazz, rock, reggae and Latino. The Preßburger Klezmer Band is a well-established part of the European World music scene.

Since its inception, the Preßburger Klezmer Band has performed on a variety of occasions both in Slovakia and abroad, ranging from multi-genre music festivals, and concerts in clubs and classical music halls to entertainment at balls, celebrations and company events. The band’s repertoire offers a captivating interpretation of unique and well-known songs — usually sung in Yiddish, but also in Slovak, English and Balkan languages — expressing enthralling emotion and a “music-to-dance to” quality. To date, the Preßburger Klezmer Band has released five albums and participated in several film, theatre and other projects.

History in detail

At the beginning of the last century, as simple wandering minstrels, klezmer musicians would play at folk entertainment gatherings, weddings or funerals – and these were not necessarily Jewish. In the same manner today we can hear the emotional Preßburger Klezmer Band music on a variety of occasions on stages all over Slovakia and abroad. The band has also accepted invitations to numerous world festivals and appeals to listeners from different cultures. It has performed in almost all European countries as well as overseas. ThePreßburger Klezmer Band plays from the heart – you can dance or simply listen.

The Preßburger Klezmer Band has released five albums to date: [Lajv] (2002),Ot azoy! (2004), Mit libe… S láskou… (2006), Preßburger Special (2010) and Tants mit mir (2012). Since 2004 it has also been collaborating with the renowned Polish interpreter of Jewish songs André Ochodlo on a joint project Shalom which has been published on a CD under the same name. In 2008 the band produced the soundtrack for a drama-documentary Optimista (An Optimist; directed by Dušan Trančík) depicting the life of Lajos Winter – the founder of the famous Piešťany Spa. One year later this film was awarded a prestigious award of Slovak cinematography – Igric. We can also find the Preßburger Klezmer Band’s music in productions of Činohra SND (Slovak National Theatre Drama) – in a comedyKrajčírky (Seamstresses, directed by Peter Mikulík, 2002) and in an unconventional Hviezdoslav’s drama Herodes a Herodias (Herodes and Herodias, directed by Roman Polák, 2009). The band has also participated on several other musical projects for STV (Slovak Television) such as Genius loci (directed by Alois Ditrich, 2007) and Osudom skúšaní: Zomrieť doma (Tried by Fate: To Die at Home, directed by Albert Vlk, 2007).

Since 2000 the Preßburger Klezmer Band has participated in organizing regular world music concerts in Bratislava’s "Klub Za Zrkadlom“ (Behind the Mirror Club). Several prominent representatives of this genre have performed on this stage, including The Amsterdam Klezmer Band (NL), Timna Brauer & Elias Meiri Ensemble (A/ISR), Iva Bittová (CZ), Ghymes (SK/H), dancer Leon Blank (SWE) and many others.

Since 2006 the Preßburger Klezmer Band has collaborated with a phenomenal Armenian singer, pianist and composer Karine Sarkisjan, whose artistic qualities were highly praised by klezmer legends Lorin Sklamberg and Michael Alpert during their co-operation at KlezFest in Sankt Peterburg. In addition, in 2008 the band started to organize concerts accompanied by the teaching of klezmer dances. The concert visitors are invited to learn basic klezmer, Balkan and other folk dances under the supervision of a dance instructor in an entertaining and natural way.

Former members

Daniel Sloboda – saxophone  (1995 – 1997, founding member)

Tomáš Kaiser – viola (1995 – 1997, founding member)

Erik Rothenstein – clarinet, saxophone (1995 – 1998, founding member)

Daniel Alexander – violin, viola (1995 – 2003, founding member)

Silvia Krausová-Nürnberger – lead vocals (1997 – 2000)

Linda Ballová – lead vocals (1999 – 2004)

Martin Oros – drums, percussion (2000 – 2004)

Viktor Schramek – drums, percussion (2005 – 2008)

Pavol Šuška – piano, vocals (1995 – 2012)