Traditional Jewish band plays tomorrow

Group specializing in Eastern European music will disband soon, to hold one of final shows in Moscow



One World Cafe will host local ensemble Gefilte Trout Saturday evening. They will perform two more times in May and June.

CHLOE GRUNDMEIER, Evergreen reporter

The Palouse is littered with community bands performing folk music, rock and roll covers and more. However only one band performs traditional Jewish klezmer and Ladino music: Gefilte Trout.

They will hold their last concert of the academic year at One World Cafe this weekend.

Carla Chandler, Gefilte Trout band leader and violin player, first became interested in this style of music when she attended UCLA in the late 1980s, she said. It was harder then to find information about styles she’d heard at the time, but the sound stuck with her, she said.

Years later, she became reacquainted with the music and formed Gefilte Trout in 2006.

“I want to give others the same experience I had when I was at UCLA of, ‘Oh, that is wonderful. What is that?’ ” Chandler said. “The music just brings so much joy even though it’s in a minor key — it’s so lively, it’s still played to dance to at Jewish weddings.”

Gefilte Trout is comprised of vocalist Irina Allen, clarinetist Bill Voxman, guitarist Bill Thompson, bassist Bob Garcia and Chandler. Allen is originally from Russia and is part-Jewish and can sing in several languages, including Yiddish, Hebrew and Ladino — a Judeo-Spanish language spoken before the 1500s, Chandler said.

“[Allen]’s really opened up the world to us,” Chandler said.

The Jewish klezmer music style they regularly perform has a different sound than people are used to hearing in the U.S., Chandler said. They generally play minor keys with upbeat dance tempos, which rarely come together in traditional Western music.

“This style was really popular in the 1400s to the 1900s, but it’s still relevant today,” Chandler said. “It gives you kind of an idea about how people lived at one point in time, and that’s really cool.”

Gefilte Trout mainly performs at coffee shops, the Moscow Food Co-op and the Moscow Farmers Market.

“There are people from all around the world who go to [University of Idaho] and WSU who come to the farmers market, and some of them are familiar with this kind of music,” Chandler said. “Some people have heard it in New York City or maybe if you’re part of the small Jewish community we have here, your parents played it for you when you were a kid. We want to bring back that nostalgia.”

Both Chandler and Allen have been members of Gefilte Trout since the beginning, but in June the group will disband as they’re both moving. They will perform at One World Cafe again May 11, and Gefilte Trout’s final performance will be June 8 at the Moscow Farmers Market, Chandler said.

“We’re both sad to go but we’ve loved it so much,” Chandler said.

Gefilte Trout will perform at 7 p.m. tomorrow at One World Cafe in Moscow, 533 S Main St. Admission is free and open to the public.