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August 16, 2013

Klezmer group to perform in Stamford

The Daily Star

---- — Big Galut(e) will perform at 3 p.m. Sunday in Stamford in the fifth installment of the Friends of Music of Stamford’s 27th season. The concert, at the Cyr Center, will feature lively klezmer instrumentals, Middle Eastern/Levantine dances, short chamber works by the Jewish Baroque composer Salamone Rossi and traditional Yiddish songs.

According to a media release, “klezmer is a Jewish tradition of mainly dance and celebration music that originated in Eastern Europe. As immigrants from that region settled in the United States klezmer further evolved under the influence of American jazz.”

Clarinetist Robin Seletsky previously performed for a Friends of Music concert in 1999 with her group the Catskill Klezmorim. Big Galut(e) was formed in Cooperstown in 2010 at the Glimmerglass Festival, where the artists play in the orchestra. Seletsky and violinist Sasha Margolis each grew up in musical households and learned traditional klezmer melodies from their fathers, and the group is a natural progression of that shared history. The group’s five musicians boast widely varied musical backgrounds that include klezmer, classical, jazz and popular music, with international- and Grammy-nominated performances. For more information about the group and to hear examples of their work, please visit their Web site at

According to the release, the group takes its name from the Yiddish or Hebrew word “galute” or “galoot,” which has entered the vernacular as a term for a big, clumsy, not-too-smart person, often used affectionaly. According to the group’s website, “In Hebrew, ‘Galut’ means diaspora, the wide world of places where Jewish people settled, over thousands of years, on every continent: in short, a big place.” This wider definition reflects the wide-ranging influences of Big Galut(e). The group’s performances generally include jokes told both in Yiddish and in English and “original comic songs.”

This concert is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Harvey Slatin, longtime board member and vice president of Friends of Music for several years, who died in February. Refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the concert. Parking is available at the Cyr Center, which is also handicapped-accessible. Suggested donation is $12 per person, and $6 for senior citizens and students. There is no charge for those younger than 13.

For more information about Friends of Music, including a complete listing of concerts for the season, visit