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Since 1987, the Ventura Klezmer Band has been performing traditional Jewish party music at weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, concerts, festivals, and other simchas throughout Ventura, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles counties.

We play (and sing!) eastern European klezmer music such as freylekhs and horas as well as music from the golden age of Yiddish theater and film. Interested in folk dancing? The Ventura Klezmer Band knows most of the common songs for Israeli dancing. We also play classic American songs including selections from Gershwin, Porter, and many others. Please see our songlists and sample recordings. No matter the size of your event, we'll tailor the sound to fit your needs.

Band Manager Marty Flam:
klez18@sbcglobal.net  
phone: (805) 647-3839

What We Do
Song Lists
Sound Samples
Customer Testimonials
Instrumentation
About Weddings
Bar/Bat Mitzvah Facts
Contact and Booking the Band
WHAT WE DO
Whether you're looking for a band for your upcoming wedding, anniversary, bar or bat mitzvah, simply want to add a touch of tradition to a small family simcha, or looking for fun, off-beat entertainment for your next corporate event, the Band stands ready to work for you. (We've also done our share of concerts, fund-raisers, and festivals, so don't hesitate to contact us for events small or large.)
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SONG LISTS:
(Just a sample of what we do...let us know if there's a special tune you'd like us to play.)

Klezmer
Sher
Oy,  Mame, Bin Ich Farleibtt
Triple Freylichs
Bei Mir Bistu Schein
Libidich un Freylich
Greene Cousine
Tumbelalaika
Abi Gezunt
Heiser Bulgar
Nach in Gan Eden
Yid'l mitn Fidl
Roshinkes mit Mandlen

Israeli Dance
Zemer Attik
Ma Navu
Miserlou
Tzadik Katamar
Hora Agadati

Great American Songbook
Moon River
Summertime
Our Love is Here to Stay
What a Wonderful World
Over the Rainbow
This Masquerade
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SOUND SAMPLES:
These songs are available in either Windows Media Format or as MP3s

Yid'l mitn Fidl Windows Media MP3
Greene Cousine Windows Media MP3
Tzadik Katamar Windows Media MP3
Bei Mir Bistu Schein Windows Media MP3

TESTIMONIALS:
"Oy!  Such soul you brought to our simcha!  Dancing an everlasting Hora surrounded by honest-to-G-d Klezmer was a highlight for our Bat Mitzvah and all her mishpocha!  Give us a few years, then play at the wedding?"
---Cheri and Bill Steinkellner, Montecito, CA

"I have had the privilege of celebrating innumerable simchas with the Ventura Klezmer Band, over many, many years. What never changes is their enthusiasm, dedication, musicality, and the Yiddish connection that the band helps create.

Real, uniquely Jewish experiences are few and far between. This is the real deal, and a mechiyeh."
---Cantor Michael Anatole, Temple Beth Torah, Ventura, CA

"We had a great time and your band helped us get our evening off to the right  
start!  Can't tell you how many of the guests made a point of  appreciating that we provide the authentic klezmer music as part of  our celebration."
---Robin Himovitz, Santa Barbara, CA

"The power of your band to bring all those at the bar mitzvah to a place of memories through the beautiful presentation of traditional Klezmer music as well as to bring all of us to our feet to do Israeli dancing made our simcha even more joyous.  In brief, all of us were touched and deeply moved by your musical selection, the obvious skill  of very gifted musicians, and the enchanting voice of your lead singer.  Thank you, thank you for adding so much to our simcha."
--- Rabbi Arthur Gross-Schaefer, Santa Barbara, CA

"Thank you again for a wonderful program of music presented at our wedding... the guests kept complimenting us on our selection of band and musicians for the event. Your playing was terrific! And your singer was wonderful. 
---Dorie & Len Kirtman, Santa Barbara, CA

"The band was great and added so much to the occasion. You really followed my wishes to the letter and helped make the atmosphere as I wanted it to be: soft at the right moments and loud and raucous when we wanted lively dancing. I loved your attention to detail and the warmth of your playing. I could not have picked a better group"
---Mashey Bernstein, Santa Barbara, CA

"WOW! You guys are hot! I just received your CD "West Coast Klezmer" and I've already used three tracks on the air. My listeners on WNWR and wnwr.com in Philadelphia love your sound, and I'll be playing a lot more of it. Thanks for a wonderful new addition to my daily klezmer show."
---Barry Reisman,  Philadelphia, PA

"You guys were TERRIFIC! Nothing but compliments from everybody. You helped make the dinner a roaring success, and we all thank you for a wonderful performance. I hope we can do it again next year."
---Jon Greenleaf, Co-producer, Santa Barbara Jewish Film Festival

"The Partners for Hope Chapter of the City of Hope had hired the Ventura Klezmer Band for a major fund-raising event. It was very successful, and we had many requests for a repeat performance. Recently we hired this group again, and again we had great success. We would recommend them without hesitation. They put on a wonderful show."
---Joel Zneimer, Partners for Hope, Pasadena, CA
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INSTRUMENTATION:
The VKB has a wide variety of instruments at our disposal, which allows us to give you a gentle, intimate sound, or a big and boisterous one---or anything in between. Possible instrumentation includes  clarinet, bass clarinet, trombone, euphonium, accordion, piano, mandolin, guitar, bass, and drums. We also have two lead vocalists---female and male, as well as other background singers. We frequently play smaller parties and can easily scale down the volume and texture to fit the size and mood of your event. Don't hesitate to ask for suggestions from band manager Marty Flam.
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ABOUT WEDDINGS:
Live musicians make weddings special in a way almost nothing else can. We are happy to bring our experience of more than fifteen years of playing Jewish weddings to make your day exactly as you want it.  And if you're not sure quite what you want, then we're ready to sit down with you and discuss all possibilities, and make suggestions.

The Ventura Klezmer Band offers:

  • In-depth consultation and planning with the band leader
  • MCing and running your party
  • The warmth, soulfulness, and personality that comes from our commitment to carrying on Jewish culture.

There are two main parts of a wedding to consider---the ceremony and the party. The ceremony is usually played by just two or three musicians. We can play quietly as your guests gather, and then do special music for the entrance of the bride and groom. We also have led the wedding party to the chupa, which can be tremendously festive.

Our band can serve two different functions at a wedding party. For those who mainly want a DJ  playing current hits for dancing, we can start the celebration off with a suite of traditional Jewish dance tunes. People love gathering for a hora, and the twenty minutes or so of exuberant music makes guests really feel like they're taking part in an authentic Jewish event. We can make suggestions regarding lofting the couple on chairs, having guests dance for their pleasure, and other traditional practices.

For couples who prefer live music for the whole evening, then we're delighted to stay and play into the night. Our repertoire focuses on the traditional sounds of eastern European Jews, but we can play classic American songs from Gershwin, Porter, and others. Want anything in particular? Just let us know. Our skilled musicians will learn anything you'd like them to play for you.

We can arrange for a CD player to be connected to the sound system to keep the music going when the band takes a break.
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BAR/BAT MITZVAH FACTS
Nothing defines the party as being a truly Jewish event like Klezmer music. In an age when kids expect huge extravaganzas with little to suggest what the event being celebrated is, live musicians playing traditional tunes becomes incredibly special.

We often play during an after-ceremony kiddish lunch, or as guests gather before an evening affair. The mood is celebratory and completely haimish. We're happy to play  an exuberant hora set, which can be followed or preceded by Israeli dance music.

Please contact  band manager Marty Flam if you have questions.
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CONTACT and BOOK THE BAND

We play in Ventura, Los Angeles, and  Santa Barbara counties, as well as the very occasional gig in San Luis Obispo.

The Band encourages you to contact us; we'd like to make your party, festival, or fund-raising concert a huge success. Our rates are reasonable, but our calendar does fill up, so please call as early as possible.

Band Manager Marty Flam:
klez18@sbcglobal.net  
phone: (805) 647-3839

 

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