Sunday, October 16, 2011

Meat Comas and Clarinets

If you're going to party after the Folk Fest, may I suggest it's with a klezmer band.

I took yet another Folk Fest virgin to the festival tonight, although we saw nowhere near as much music as I had last night with my first newcomer.

It may have been because tonight's companion was not a musician.

It may have been the larger crowds making movement more difficult or it may have been that after having seen six bands last night my choices were more limited.

But we still managed to hear music.

The highlight tonight was the Malian group Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba, who got a late start because setting up their sound system took forever.

Apparently their unique instruments were quite a challenge to mic, but once they got started, the crowd was right behind them, clapping and dancing.

But I could tell my friend was losing interest, so we made Mali our last stop.

After I dropped the newbie off, I headed over to Buzz and Ned's BBQ to join a Klezmer band after-party.

After their Folk Fest set, Winograd's Nue Tanznoyz Kapele and dancer Steven Weintraub were being feted by Buzz with ribs, brisket and appropriate liquor and in return, they were playing for the party.

Arriving, I discovered a bar comprised of  Slivovitz (made from "ripe and sound Damson plums") and Becherovka, a digestif made with herbal bitters.

Because who would want to use unsound plums for liquor?

While I was told of the significance of them and even tasted these spirits of the Jews, I was happiest to find Cazadores right next to them.

I happen to know that the bass player (and Buzz himself) are tequila fans, so I felt no guilt in forsaking the traditional for the agave.

When the band arrived at Buzz and Ned's, the first thing they did was perform a song while the amazed customers put down their ribs and stared.

Steven, the dancer in the group,  pranced about with a scarf enticing women to join him.

Once that was out of the way, we all sat down at the big picnic tables to eat...and eat.

Plates of succulent ribs were followed by a brisket as big as my thigh (and far more tender) and potato salad, macaroni and cheese, onion rings, hush puppies and I don't even remember what else.

At one point, the bass player looked at me and said, "Jewish people never eat this well."

Or so much pork, I'm sure.

Buzz himself carved the brisket from a picnic table and we didn't even bother with plates or utensils.

People grabbed the chunks and slices they wanted as they were sliced.

Sliced onion was available for the Texans

Once the band was sated, and it took a while, they grabbed their instruments and again began playing.

By the second song, there were two accordion players and one clarinetist standing on picnic table benches playing while their brethren played from the floor.

Multi-level Klezmer.

Then they went inside the restaurant to play for the staff who was busy cleaning up once the last customer left.

"That never happens," one of the servers later told me.

Steven got more women to dance and eventually a circle dance formed.

All but three bites of the brisket got eaten.

Less than two inches of Slivovitz remained out of the two bottles that started the party.

One of the musicians told me that "A clarinet is a voice and it tells the story of the Jewish people."

I didn't exactly dance on a picnic table, I merely sat on one.

And that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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