Bivolița usually performs as a trio or quartet, but we have lots of flexibility in how we program for different kinds events. The information here gives and overview of how we approach concerts, educational programs, lectures, workshops, dances, and other programming for private and public events.
Concerts, House Concerts & Fundraisers
Bivolița usually performs concerts as an instrumental trio or quartet. Informative, creative and exuberant, our art concerts marry a serious chamber music aesthetic with a very un-stuffy approach to audience interaction and repertoire selection.
We also program lighter "pops" concerts that include familiar selections from the Yiddish theater, Hebrew favorites, and delectable tangos and waltzes.
Christina is available for house concerts and workshop programming. Albuquerque house concert, May 2016.
B'nai Mitzvah, Weddings & Simchas
Bivolița offers a vocal program with “Seltzer Sister” Jackie Sidle taking the microphone. Concerts feature a lighthearted mix of 20th-century Jewish and American music ranging from dramatic Yiddish theater tangos to Jazz standards—with the occasional French chanson or a daring Jewish rumba thrown in to keep things lively. Audiences willfollow Jackie and the band on a musical tour of Jewish-American musical history with beautiful Yiddish songs about the old country, childhood memory, and the eternal questions of love. Not too wrapped in nostalgia, though, the program also features comic songs from singers such as Benny Bell, and other “Yinglish” comedians. The band rounds out the program with some classic mid-century bulgars guaranteed to get toes tapping and there’s always a few seasonal sing-along tunes that everyone can join.
From an elegant prelude and a stately wedding march to a kickin' dance set, Bivolița will add a healthy dose of "Yiddishkeit" to your Simcha. We can help to select traditional and contemporary melodies that will set just the right mood for each phase of the party, and know how to integrate our music seamlessly to help you create a special and memorable event.
We can also work with you to add some other musical flavors to your party, including: light classical; gypsy swing (think Django Reinhardt); jazz standards; Yiddish and Hebrew songs, and tango. We have our own sound system, or can coordinate with your DJ or venue to use theirs. We can also bring a dance leader to lead the "hora" and to teach fun dance games to both kids and adults.
Dance Parties & the Klezmer Hoedown with "Eastern Squares"
The Eastern Squares dance band is Bivolița with different instruments in our hands. It turns out that in addition to our love of klezmer and Moldavian dance music, we all have a deep passion of Appalachian old time fiddle and banjo music. A dance party with Eastern Squares will feature the same contra and square dances you're used to dancing with your local caller, or we can bring along a caller who can also teach the Jewish contra dance sher. For music we'll bring our specially selected clutch of "square," danceable tunes from the lively end of the klezmer and Moldavian repertoire. Some will feature our usual lineup of instruments (fiddle, viola, and accordion) but we have also adapted a bunch of these groovy modal tunes for fiddles and banjos (and of course we'll play some wicked hot Appalachian tunes while we're at it too). We'd ordinarily bring along a bass player to round out the group, and can add a guitar depending on the size of band required.
Hands-On Workshops & Educational Programming
All of the members of Bivolița are experienced teachers with different areas of expertise. See our workshops page for descriptions of past workshops and additional programming ideas.
Christina (accordion) has been performing and studying klezmer and Moldavian music for over twenty years both in Europe and in the US, and is an experienced lecturer and workshop instructor. In particular, she likes to lead ensemble workshops that help participants "think like a klezmer" and find an authentic, idiomatic voice on their specific instrument within the group.
Gretchen (viola, violin) is an experienced Suzuki teacher and is particularly adept and working with younger players to help them find the fun in the funny klezmer scales, and keeping an eye on good technique while learning by ear and exploring new musical territory.
Brian (violin) has spent many years learning how to distinguish between the klezmer and lăutar (Moldavian gypsy) approach to playing and ornamenting what is often the same music. And, between his classical background, and exceptional old time fiddling, is able to help string players find the idiomatic ticks that add the verve and spice to klezmer and moldavian playing.
Keryn (violin) has developed a soulful yet extraordinarily restrained klezmer violin style that is both spot-on within the tradition, and technically refined in the execution of the ornamentation, timing, and elaboration of the "classic" European klezmer melodies. Keryn works with string players to examine the minutiae of technique to achieve the specific ornaments and bowing relevant to the klezmer style of playing.