Unit 6: Klezmer Music with Dan

Melody now takes us on a journey from Harlem in New York City to Athens, Georgia to meet our next singer, Dan. Use SG40, SG41 and SG42 to meet Dan and prepare your students to learn about klezmer music.

Genre Overview

Klezmer music is the folk music of the Ashkenazi Jews of Eastern Europe. The Yiddish word “klezmer” originally meant “musician.” Klezmer music dates back to the 9th century and, although secular, is rooted in music sung by cantors in synagogues (Jewish congregations), as well as other folk musics of Eastern Europe. Originally it was played with whatever instruments were available, but now is most closely associated with the fiddle, clarinet, and accordion. It was most often played at joyful celebrations, such as weddings, and is now played around the world.

Meet Dan Horowitz

Based in Athens, Georgia, Dan has played bass for the rock band Five Eight since its inception in 1988, but klezmer music was a large part of his life and identity growing up in a Jewish household. In 2007, he wanted to expand his artistry, and began searching for musicians to form a klezmer band of his own. Klezmer Local 42 was formed in 2009 and incorporates classic rock, swing, hip hop, and many other influences into its music.

Lesson 1: Learning “Bulbes”

Students sing “Bulbes” in Yiddish and explore the Ahava raba mode through improvisation.
→ Go to Lesson 1: Learning “Bulbes”

Lesson 2: Exploring “Hob ikh mir a mantl”

Students learn to sing “Hob ikh mir a mantl” and explore the story of the song.
→ Go to Lesson 2: Exploring “Hob ikh mir a mantl”

Learn more!


Listening & Viewing:

  • Listen to SMF’s Klezmer playlist on Spotify

Additional Teaching Resources:

  • Klezmer Academy is an online resource for learning more about playing klezmer music, as well as sound files of historical recordings and links to further resources.

Unit 6: PDF Downloads

SG40 Let’s Explore Klezmer! ↓ Download File
SG41 Meet Dan! ↓ Download File
SG42 We asked Dan… ↓ Download File
SG43 My New Lyrics for “Bulbes” ↓ Download File
SG44 I Had A Little Overcoat ↓ Download File
SG45 “Hob ikh mir a…” ↓ Download File

Unit 6: Audio Tracks