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Eastern European Contra and Square Dance Music, Portland, OR

The "Eastern Squares" workshop is for musicians who want to incorporate eastern European repertoire into their contra and square dance sets; and for klezmer musicians who are interested in learning new repertoire and exploring the fundamentals of rhythmic accompaniment in several dance forms. Participants will learn tunes from Christina’s collection of Jewish and Moldavian tunes as the means to explore idiomatic approaches to eastern European dance music adapted for contemporary use in social dancing. Beyond simply squaring up tunes, discussion will focus on the ornamentation and elaboration of “modal” melodies for lead players; and ways to add idiomatic rhythm, harmony, and texture for rhythmic and chordal instruments. Participants will learn how to add a klezmer vibe to Jewish tunes, and how that is different from the Romanian/Moldavian/Lautar groove.

Musicians already familiar with klezmer music—and specifically American klezmer —will learn repertoire from the European sources, including recently discovered crossover tunes from Transnistria in Moldova.