Charlotte Folk Society logo celebrating 30 years

Dedicated to promoting the ongoing enjoyment and preservation of traditional and contemporary folk music, dance, crafts and lore in the Carolinas Piedmont,
since 1982.

Viva Klezmer Band
Viva Klezmer

June 8th Folk Society Gathering

Viva Klezmer!

Our next Charlotte Folk Society Gathering concert features Viva Klezmer! This program is presented in partnership with the Levine Museum of the New South in conjunction with the exhibit Down Home: Jewish Life in North Carolina, and honors the long history and many contributions of Charlotte's Jewish settlers and citizens.

Please join us on Friday, June 8th, in the Great Aunt Stella Center, 926 Elizabeth Avenue, in downtown Charlotte. The music gets underway at 7:30 PM; doors open at 7 PM. Parking adjacent to the Stella Center and in a nearby deck is free. Accessible entry and an elevator are available through the ground floor door on the parking lot side of the building. Look for designated "drop off" parking spaces next to this entrance; a CFS volunteer is available for assistance.

Monthly Charlotte Folk Society Gatherings are family-friendly and free. Donations are appreciated and essential to presenting the concert series in the Stella Center. Refreshments, a song circle, and jam sessions follow the hour-long concert; visitors are welcome to join in or simply listen. Charlotte Appalachian Dulcimer Club members offer loaner instruments to visitors wishing to try their hands at playing.

Klezmer music, dubbed by some as "Jewish jazz," runs the emotional gamut from the unabashedly joyous to the unabashedly sentimental. Itinerant folk musicians of Eastern Europe, called Klezmorim (Klezmer, singular) by their contemporary Jewish cultures, have vanished into antiquity. Klezmer comes from two Hebrew words: Kle (pronounced "clay"), and Zemer, meaning instrument and song, respectively. Their music was the result of a unique merger of Jewish culture with the rhythms and melodies of the Slavic soul. In the early 1900s, a large immigration of Jews to the United States took place and Klezmer music arrived with a passion. It was widely recorded in New York City in the first two decades of the 20th century. After the Great Depression, however, Klezmer musicians stopped recording. What had become a distinctly American version of a European genre disappeared from the musical scene. Klezmer music has been patiently waiting to be rediscovered and is currently enjoying a revival by contemporary Klezmer ensembles such as Viva Klezmer! We challenge you to keep your feet still when Gene Kavadlo (clarinet), Ali Kavadlo (violin/percussion), Mike Mosely (guitar), and Ron Brendle (bass) take the stage!

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Bulgar Medley

Viva Klezmer! was founded by Charlotte clarinetist Gene Kavadlo, in 1984. The quartet has toured extensively in the Southeast and has performed on several occasions with the Charlotte Symphony and has made numerous appearances at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. The ensemble has some 40-50 of its own arrangements of standard Klezmer tunes, as well as other "Klezmerized" versions of music ranging from Gershwin to Mahler.

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This exciting ensemble is especially proud of its work with young people. For the past fifteen years, Viva Klezmer! has presented a series of educational Klezmer concerts in the Charlotte public schools, perhaps the only school system in the country to bring Klezmer music to its students on a regular basis. The program teaches lessons in tolerance and an appreciation for cultural diversity, and has met with critical success from both educators and students.

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Viva Klezmer! has also been a big hit with college audiences. The ensemble was invited to perform for ClarinetFest2000, an international symposium; as well as ClarinetFest2004 in Washington, D.C. WDAV awarded the ensemble its first Annual Spencer Artist Award for its "dedicated work to enhance the community of the arts" in Charlotte.

Viva Klezmer! has two recordings to their credit. One is Viva Klezmer! Presents Viva Tradition! and a second is the self-titled Viva Klezmer! Recordings will be available to purchase downstairs in the Café after the concert.

Now, meet the musicians that comprise Viva Klezmer! Gene Kavadlo has been Principal Clarinetist with the Charlotte Symphony since 1975. He holds music degrees from Queens College, New York, and Indiana University. Gene is an active chamber music recitalist and a faculty member with several area colleges and universities. Ali Kavadlo has been Principal Violist with the Charlotte Symphony since 1975. She holds music degrees from the University of New Mexico and the University of Southern California and is an active recitalist and teacher. Mike Mosley is Co-Principal Bassist with the Charlotte Symphony and is Professor of Music at UNCC. He holds music degrees from Hardin Simmons University, Texas University, and Indiana University. Ron Brendle has a reputation for being Charlotte's finest jazz bass player and has performed and recorded with jazz greats Charlie Byrd, Herb Ellis, Mose Allison, and Clark Terry. He holds a music degree from Appalachian State University and received a North Carolina Jazz Composer's Fellowship in 1991. Visit the ensemble's website at

Arts & Science Council Logo

Don't miss this great and joyous music event presented this June at the Great Aunt Stella Center!

Charlotte Folk Society Gatherings are made possible, in part, with funding from the Arts & Science Council and the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Cultural Resources, and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.