Klezmokum was formed in 1989 by composer, pianist, arranger Burton Greene together with clarinetist Marcel Salomon—who has been “steeped lifelong” in Jewish cultural music. Klezmokum comes from klezmer, combined with the word “Mokum”, which means ‘place’ and is the old Jewish name for Amsterdam. Quite early tuba player Larry Fishkind joined the band and North African percussionist Roberto Haliffi. After Marcel Salomon left to pursue more traditional directions with his duo, clarinetist Michael Moore joined the band, followed by clarinetist Perry Robinson and Hans Mekel on tarragot, alto sax and clarinet. For several years we worked with either Akos Laki or Stanislav Mitrovic from Hungary and former Yugoslavia on clarinet and saxes. More recently recently we had Lior Kuperberg from Tel Aviv, Israel, on soprano and tenor saxophones. And to complete the ensemble we have had two multi-talented vocalists: Patricia Beysens and Marek Balata. Patricia also plays fl�gelhorn and often does the band's artwork. Marek has over a 3 octave vocal range and can sound like a synagogue cantor one moment, and scat like Bobbie McFerrin the next! To listen to Klezmokum is to travel around the globe through traditional Jewish cultures, to enter a past world and then return through the rhythmic vitality and spontaneity of improvised jazz into present time reality. “We are not trying to recreate the museum.”
Of note have been the performances at Bimhuis in Amsterdam, Middle Europe Festival (Germany), the Knitting Factory—5 Annual Avant Klezmer Festivals in New York, Amiens Jazz Festival (France), Opera House in Leipzig, North Sea Jazz Festival (Holland), Klezmokum at Klez-MORE Festival in Vienna, Austria (2004), and many more. Between 1992 and 2006 BV Haast in Amsterdam produced 6 CD’s of Klezmokum and Klez-thetics (an instrumental quartet version of Klezmokum). We have two CD’s recorded for Tzadik Records in New York: The first Klez-Edge CD: “Ancestors, Mindreles, Na Gila Monsters” (2008), and a intimate, intense duo CD with myself and Perry Robinson on Tzadik entitled "Two Voices In the Desert" (2009). After that we produced our 2012 recording "Where We Come From.. Where We're Going" for the Music & Words label.