Lemon Bucket Orkestra Brings The Party To Meaford

The Lemon Bucket Orkestra will be at Meaford Hall tonight as part of their recent tour to promote the release of their latest album.  It promises to be a highly energetic and entertaining evening from this 12-member band that began as a lark and has gone on to win awards and international acclaim for their mix of traditional Klezmer music with originals.

The roots of klezmer music go back to the a Jewish tradition from Eastern Europe when itinerant musicians called klezmorim provided dance music for weddings and other celebrations.  The music is so lively and celebrative that it continues to enchant audiences today as it constantly evolves with musicians blending it with other genres.  It arrived in North America via Jewish immigrants around the turn of the twentieth century and made friends with jazz.  The Lemon Bucket Orkestra brings a “punk” sensibility to it, in the sense that it is open-ended and creative, retaining tradition while infusing a modern dynamic.

It was 2009 when Mark Marczyk returned to Toronto from a trip to Kiev inspired by the music he’d heard there to pick up his violin which had been gathering dust for years.  He joined a “gypsy-punk”  band called Worldly Savages, eventually getting together with Tangi Ropars with the idea of applying that same punk ethic to klezmer music.  The band they put together began to accumulate players who were enchanted by this music until at one point they had seventeen members.  Now it’s been pared down to a mere dozen but the ensemble includes a variety of exotic instruments including flugelhorn, sousaphone, sopilka and darbuka along with guitars, violin, accordion, reeds and brasses.

It was not only musicians that were drawn to the music like moths to a flame.  As the band began to tour their tendency toward spontaneous celebration of their music attracted a lot of attention.  An impromptu concert while awaiting a delayed flight at Pearson when they were on their way to a tour of Romania attracted not only a crowd but a lot of media.  On the flight back from their tour, they played on board the plane, and then again at Pearson when they arrived.  Subsequent Air Canada flights treated passengers to their music through the medium of a documentary film about the band called “Let’s Make Lemonade” created in 2012 by Toronto filmmaker Justin Friesen.  The film won the Peoples’ Choice award in the Air Canada enRoute Film Festival.

The Lemon Bucket Orkestra was part of a loose collective of experimental artists in Parkdale known as Fedora Upside Down.  This is the same collective that developed Freeman Dre and The Kitchen Party, another highly entertaining band, and one that has lately become part of our local Georgian Bay scene (look for them often at CROW in Collingwood)

In a 2013 tour of Eastern Europe the band collected several examples of ethnic music to add to their repertoire along with their original tunes.  When they returned to Toronto, their sold-out show at Lee’s Palace was just the first of many sellouts.  That same year they won “World Group of the Year” at the Canadian Folk Music Awards, after four nominations, and the following year they were nominated for a Juno Award in the category of “Best World Music Album”.

Mark Marczyk told the Meaford Express that “Every single show is like a new adventure.”  Although their music is well-rehearsed, when they play live they let the spirit of the music and the enthusiasm of that audience carry them where it will, living up to their self-description as “Canada’s only Balkan-klezmer-gypsy-party-punk-super-band”.

Showtime tonight Tuesday November 7, 8pm. Tickets $38 advance, $46 at door

Click on the image to hear or download music from the band


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