Exploration of family roots leads local author to book on klezmer

September 22, 2022

Book Reviews

Klezmer for the Joyful Soul

Debbie Burke

Queen Esther Publishing LLC

206 pages; 2021

Debbie Burke, a local author who has written several books on jazz and two novels, published a book last year on klezmer music. In Klezmer for the Joyful Soul, she interviews 30 klezmer musicians, scholars, historians, and cantors about the fascinating art form.

Burke has a great introduction where she discusses her connection to the music through learning about her paternal grandfather and other family members from Lviv. In this book, she sheds light on the creative process, what draws these individuals to klezmer, and how they connect to their Jewishness through the music.

The book is an eye-opener written in a very engaging and conversational style. Readers learn about the use of klezmer in the movies and that the music is not only a phenomenon in Eastern Europe or the U.S.—but rather that it’s performed worldwide and by Jewish and non-Jewish musicians alike. Klezmer for the Joyful Soul is an entertaining and highly recommended read.

For more information, visit https://bit.ly/DebbieBurkeAmazon.

-Reviewed by Terri Denison



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