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Ashkenazi music home page

'Ashkenazi' (Hebrew for 'Germany') refers to the Jews who settled in the Rhineland of South West Germany and Northern France from about the third century CE. They developed a distinct culture and spread out eastwards through Central Europe into Slavic lands. Ashkenazi cantorial song reached a very high level of sophistication and ornamentation. The vernacular language was Yiddish, based on medieval German with Slavic and Hebrew words and written in Hebrew script. Yiddish language influenced their popular music. Yiddish language and music travelled with Ashkenazi Jews as they moved to the new world. A musician was called a 'klezmer' and 'klezmer music' and Yiddish song are popular genres taught by JMI today.

Click here to find out about Klezmer in the Park 2011.

To read about Klezmer in the Park 2010 click here. For 2009, click here.

Click the links on the right for more information about Klezmer and Yiddish and related activities.

Learn Klezmer and Yiddish.

last modified: November 30, 2010


Ashkenazi Links

Ashkenazi music home page

What is Klezmer?

What is Yiddish?

KlezFest London

Ot Azoy - Yiddish Crash Course

Klezmer and Yiddish Events

Workshops, courses and classes

Yiddish and Klezmer Articles

Request a Klezmer Teacher

The Jim Marcovitch Klezmer Fund


The International Forum for Yiddish Culture (IFYC)




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The Jewish Music Institute is an independent Arts organisation based at SOAS, University of London. It is an international focus bringing the ancient yet contemporary musical culture of the Jews to the mainstream British cultural, academic and social life. Its programmes of education, performance and information highlight many aspects of Jewish music throughout the ages and across the globe for people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures.