The Biggest Klezmer Happenng in Africa!

Concert Launch of new Klezmer CD “Cape Town Shpiel” by Matthew Reid’s Klezmer Ensemble “Playing with Fire”


Monday 12 December 8 – 11 pm

Cape Town Center for the Book, Queen Victoria Street.

Unreserved seats R100.

To book contact: 021 434 9691 or email, or phone Myra at 083 4493974.


After years of entertaining music-lovers in Cape Town, and a long association with events such as the annual Yiddish Song Festivals at the Baxter Theatre, Playing with Fire launches its first Klezmer cd with a spectacular concert with these wonderful musicians:

Matthew Reid – Musical Director, Clarinet and Saxophone

Ivor Joffe – Vocals

Dave Ridgway – Bass

Albert Combrink – Piano

Kevin Gibson – Drums

Mike Blake – Trumpet

Nic Green – Trombone

Kerryn Torrance – Violin

Joe Bolton – Tuba

as well as Keith Tabisher, Bernard Kotse &  Elinor Spiers.


Limited tickets available from 021 434 9691 so book soon!

The Background

It is remarkable that a band devoted to Klezmer music should exist on the southern-most tip of Africa. Even more unusual is that it should still be going ten years after it started. Now, the Playing with Fire Klezmer Band under the inspired leadership of Matthew Reid, has finally cutting a CD of their music, to bring the sound and spirit of Klezmer into your heart and home.


Indeed, Klezmer has the scope and range to appeal to all ages and tastes. Playing with Fire has in fact participated in many of the popular ‘Balkanology’ parties that are a hit with youth in Cape Town, proving that the genre has all the potential to expand across the generations.


“Cape Town is most fortunate to have had in its midst the very gifted Klezmer musician, Matthew Reid.  His vibrant and moving arrangements, rendered superbly by him and his ensemble have added immeasurably to the local music scene.  It is difficult to imagine Cape Town’s annual Yiddish Song Festival without his magical renditions,” says Myra Osrin, who has been the driving force behind making a Playing with Fire CD into a reality.


“Having a person of Matthew’s k n o w l e d g e, dedication and integrity has been a key factor,” says Philip Todres, producer of the Yiddish Song Festival. “We are talking ‘soul music,’ and he has proven time and again that he has that intuitive instinct to work brilliantly in this genre.”


“Matthew’s contribution to the Jewish music scene in Cape Town is significant,” observes Fay Singer. “This CD is a fitting recognition of Matthew Reid and the Playing with Fire Klezmer Band, and the fact that Cape Town is witnessing a resurgence of interest in this musical form.”  Fay notes that in the USA, Klezmer is regarded as a national art form



Matthew agrees that now is the time to make a Playing with Fire CD of Klezmer music. “The timing is right — it has taken ten years for the band to mature in its understanding and interpretation of this unique style, and it will satisfy the repeated requests for a Klezmer CD by Playing with Fire.”


While the focus is on traditional klezmer refrains, Matthew has in some instances acknowledged that this is ‘Klezmer in Africa’.  Listen out for the sounds of traditional local melodies filtering through.  Or pick up on the Kaapse Klopse rhythm of the one number.  This ‘morphing’ of styles can be seen in the cross over between traditional and the jazz influence that occurred in the USA.


And there is also a nod to Yiddish Song, which Fay Singer regards as a cousin of klezmer music – the two genres often intersect.  Comparing this CD to ‘Cape Town ZING’ that was released 2 years ago highlights this association.  Ivor Joffe sings 4 numbers on the new CD.


The Concert on 12 December, 2011

Bring along your dancing shoes!  Matthew hopes to have you dancing or at least tapping your toes to this infectious music.


Billed as the “biggest Klezmer happening in Africa!” there will be + 11 musicians on stage.  This has to be the biggest ever klezmer concert in Africa.  So book immediately and be sure not to miss this unique Klezmer in Africa concert.

The Playing with Fire CD will be available for purchase at the Concert.  Get a signed copy PLUS a free copy of Cape Town Zing! at a very special price.

The celebratory launch will be held on Monday 12 December at the Centre forthe Book, Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town at 8pm.

Unreserved seats R100.

To book contact: 021 434 9691 or email, or phone Myra at 083 4493974.


This project is being made possible through generous sponsorships, and proceeds of CD sales will be shared with the Cape Jewish Seniors Association


Played by professional musicians called klezmorim, the genre originally consisted largely of dance tunes and instrumental display pieces for weddings and other celebrations. The genre has its origins in Eastern Europe. In the United States the genre morphed considerably as Yiddish-speaking Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, who arrived between 1880 and 1924,[1] met and assimilated American Jazz.

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“Music captures an era and part of the world from where a people came and expressed themselves.  It’s a cultural record.” Idan Raichel