Traditional music makers – listen up

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The Klezmorimalta Foundation will create links between Maltese and foreign artists in a bid to protect the quality of traditional ways of making music.

Newly-launched NGO, the Klezmorimalta Foundation, which was set up by Malta-based Dutch couple Ralph and Birgit Albrecht, is working towards the protection and appreciation of acoustic instruments, and the traditional ways of creating music.

“Music has always played an important role in our lives,” explains Birgit Albrecht, one of the co-founders of the Klezmorimalta Foundation. “We are not musicians ourselves, but we understand that music is a powerful and emotional form of human expression, and we would like to preserve its quality.

“When playing an instrument, such as the clarinet or the contrabass, a musician needs to practice for long periods of time, and we truly believe that a computer could never replace this,” she says. “Removing the musician lowers the listeners’ respect towards the music and the instrument. It is for this reason that we chose to put the word ‘klezmorim’ in the foundation’s title, as it means an itinerant Eastern European Jewish professional musician, and that explains exactly the kind of artists we’d like to promote and protect.”

It is no surprise that Birgit and Ralph chose Malta as the seat of their NGO. Due to its geographical position, the island has long been a great melting pot of cultures and culture, and this has led to everything from music to art, and architecture to crafts, being influenced by its colonisers and its neighbouring countries.

“Malta has a very special position, and its architecture invites people to perform,” says Birgit. “The Klezmorimalta Foundation also aims at encouraging musical education, and our idea of protecting music as a performing art is by allowing the natural advancement of culture in general, and by creating new ties between Maltese and foreign artists.”

The Klezmorimalta Foundation hopes to do all this by organising special events that bring a myriad of artists and European culture-vultures together in one space. In fact, it has recently been in the news as the organiser of the upcoming Klezmorimalta Nights – a concert of Eastern European klezmer music, which will take place on 29 and 30 August at Pjazza Teatru Rjal in Valletta.

“What’s so exciting about klezmer music is that the genre has developed all over the world. You can find klezmer bands in many different countries, and its artists – known as the aforementioned ‘klezmorim’ – have left many little seeds that have germinated into a very popular music genre worldwide,” continues Birgit.

The Foundation would like to stimulate an exchange of musical patrimony between Malta and other countries, which is why this event will include performances from the Amsterdam and Yxalag Klezmer Bands, from the Netherlands and Germany respectively, and the singer-songwriter Démira, who is also from the Netherlands.

“This event will bring together old and new forms of music and will serve as an example of how acoustic doesn’t have to mean boring, and of how traditional doesn’t have to be out-dated,” Birgit concludes.

Monique Chambers

Monique started indulge in 2011 and has since created Indulge Me GIFT and Indulge Me FOOD and volume 1 of The Artists Directory - Malta. A marketing professional by trade, Monique's passion is to promote local talent and Malta in general. Free time is her biggest indulgence, when she can tinker in her craft room or the kitchen, or be selfish with a book, the sofa and good glass of wine (of course, wearing something beautiful and with freshly coiffed hair!)

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