Klezmer Starts Here: Music from Philadelphia

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Klezmer Starts Here: Music from Philadelphia

Klezmer Starts Here: Music from Philadelphia

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Doors: 6pm

Tickets: $20 advance, $25 doors, $15 SJCC Community

Advance tickets can only be purchased online-we do not sell advance tickets at the venue. Refunds are not available within 48 hours of the event. Tickets do not guarantee seating during shows at the Royal Room. 

We are now accepting reservations for diners! After purchasing tickets, please visit the Reservations page to book a table. Table reservations require advance tickets, and are only for guests who plan to dine at the Royal Room.  We do not take reservations over the phone.

Seating for non-diners is first come, first served. Please arrive early to guarantee a seat!

The Royal Room is All Ages until 10pm.

The Klein Party and Seattle’s brilliant klezmer brass band, Shpilkis, explore music from the influential and intense Philadelphia klezmer scene. In the early 20th century, “American klezmer” evolved not only in NYC, , but in regional centers such as Philadelphia, where kapelyes (klezmer ensembles) developed a rich body of work derived from deep family, community, and other shared traditions.

The Klein Party & Shpilkis will play tunes made famous by bandleaders Harry Kandel, Joseph Hoffman, Itzikl Kramtweiss, and others. The Klein Party will include tunes drawn from Berl Freedman’s original music notebooks shared by his grandson. Shpilkis will perform the legendary “Philadelphia Sher,” assisted by dancers who will demonstrate the traditional sher (“The Scissors Dance”). The Royal Room is opening up dance floor space for others who wish to join in.

Klezmer Starts Here! is a curated series at Seattle’s Royal Room presented by The Klein Party and the South Hudson Music Project focusing on different Yiddish music styles or practitioners. Each concert features guest artists and ensembles from within and from outside the tradition.

The Klein Party celebrates and plays “klezmerish music from All the Old Countries with a jazz sensibility and rock-and-roll exuberance.” The core of the repertoire are original arrangements of Ashkenazi Jewish music from the Old & New Worlds, as well as other music from around the world that shares the ecstatic joy and emotional intensity of the music we call “klezmer.”

Over the past seven years, the Klein Party has played to thousands of enthusiastic listeners and dancers at the Royal Room, Pink Door, Northwest Folklife Festival, Washington Performance Center, Kirkland Performance Center, Vashon Center for the Arts, and many farmers’ markets, holiday parties, picnics, International Ice Cream Day, and live streams.


Shpilkis is Seattle’s 8-piece klezmer brass band bringing you old-school Yiddish grooves with tuchus-shaking energy. Since forming in 2017, they continue to transform potential into kinetic energy on dance floors at simkhas, holiday events, and block parties. Each member arrives to this music from a hodgepodge of backgrounds: religious, spiritual, secular, pagan; east-coasters, midwesterners, and Pacific Northwesterners born & raised; Jews and gentiles; music-educated and self-taught, with foundations in jazz, punk, folk, classical, and pop. The resulting sound carries Yiddishkayt from many places and times, especially that of current-day Seattle.



Klezmer is an instrumental musical tradition of the Jews of Central and Eastern Europe going back hundreds of years. The word “klezmer” derives from two Hebrew words: klei, meaning “tools, utensils or instruments” and zemer — “melody,” leading to klezmer — “musical instruments.” Over time, the word began to refer to the musicians themselves. Only in the 20th century did klezmer identify a style of music. The main elements of the klezmer tradition include dance tunes, ritual melodies, and virtuosic improvisations played for listening. The klezmorim played primarily at weddings, as Jewish religious leaders had otherwise forbidden instrumental music since the destruction of the 2nd Temple, and non-Jewish authorities discouraged Jewish musicians from participating in the cultural life of most nations.

While klezmer began with melodies drawn from religious prayer, the klezmorim were itinerant, incorporating ideas from the other musicians with whom they played and the demands of the audiences in different communities. This included Ukrainian, Russian, and other Slavic folk songs, the music of the Roma (gypsies), Greek, Romanian, Ottoman, and Persian music, as well as the Western classical music of the times.


Date And Time

Sunday, May 12, 2024 @ 07:00 PM


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