Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Story of End of Era, Told in Music

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Story of End of Era, Told in Music

Article excerpt

"THE LAST KLEZMER"

No MPAA rating. Running time: 1:24.

KLEZMER refers both to a style of music and the people who play it. Sometimes called Jewish soul music, it has Gypsy, Middle Eastern and Yiddish roots and usually is bright and festive - the happy swirl of a clarinet combining with the singing strings of a violin or two, the plink of a banjo and the bright zing of an accordion. Klezmer groups play mainly at happy occasions, like weddings or bar mitzvahs, but there also are sad and mournful songs, songs of memory, in the repertory.

There's a revival of the style in this country, but Yale Strom's movie, "The Last Klezmer," this weekend's offering at the Webster University Film Series, is a mostly sad view of the end of an era in Eastern Europe.

Leopold Kozlowski, born Poldek Kleinman, may well be the last of the line. Now 71, he was trained in the klezmer tradition before World War II. As his fortunes changed during the war, he played it for Partisan guerrillas hidden in Polish forests and for Nazi guards in concentration camps. …

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