Howard says: “Klezmer’s popularity dwindled for various reasons until it had all but disappeared by the 1950s. Most Jews knew only one tune that was carried on from the old tradition – Hava Negila. However, thankfully klezmer was rediscovered in the 1970s in the USA by enthusiasts studying very old recordings. With the coming of computers and the internet, information about it has become widely accessible. Old recordings are now easily available on CD and there is a growing following of the music around the world.
It was exciting for me to discover that there were many other tunes as good as Hava Negila, and even more exciting to find that I could adapt this band music for solo guitar. The pieces I play are mostly in the dance-music category comprising mostly freylekhs, bulgars and khosidls. Ideally I like to play while stomping my foot on a wooden floor, and the ultimate thrill is to have some of the audience dancing to it. That makes me feel that I must be doing something right and I am helping to keep this unique musical culture alive.”
Howard Coleman in action (from Melton Mowbray Folk Festival Site)