For reviews of the band, click here.

For reviews of our performances, click here.

For reviews of our CD, click here.





Montreal’s kings of klezmer music!
- CBC television's Citybeat


Since the Baggers (as they’re called by fans) have a repertoire of more than 200 pieces, couples and their families have a lot to choose from. … They’ll be glad to make it easy for everyone to dance at your wedding.

- Sheryl Halper, Canadian Jewish News “A wedding’s worth of real shtetl sounds”


Taking their name from what was once the heart of the Montreal Jewish community, a historic synagogue on Bagg and Clark, the Baggers deliver a brand of klezmer packed with gusto. Minda Bernstein’s violin hits the full range from unbridled joy to desperate sorrow.

- Daniel Nemiroff & Len Dobbin, Montreal Mirror

 

The Bagg Street band was founded here 15 years ago, but its klezmer music goes back centuries and has its roots in the shtetls of Eastern Europe. Thanks to the Bagg Street gang, klezmer has found a new fan base here and has enthralled crowds not only at Jewish weddings but also at the Montreal jazz fest, among other secular musical happenings. The group’s latest CD, Go Meshuggah!, is a hit among many cultural communities in town.

- Bill Brownstein, The Montreal Gazette “Band crosses boundaries” (27 May 2007)





Authenticity is not a problem for the Bagg Street crew. They play their music as if it were part of their being, not something they learned for a gig or two. They are a pleasure to listen to ‘ a machaya*.’ (* Yiddish word for a wonderful feeling or event).

- Montreal jazz critic Irwin Block, reviewing show at Lion d'Or


Le Bagg Street Klezmer Band a brillé par son dynamisme.

- Le Devoir, revieiwing performance at Festival Musique Multi-Montréal


The Bagg Street Klezmer Band, qui comme son nom l’indique a vu le jour au coin des rues Bagg et Clark, a relu le répertoire traditonnel au grand bonheur des membres de la communauté juive montréalaise, qui s’était donné rendez-vous aux portes du Métro Place des Arts.

- Le Devoir, reviewing performance at Festival International de Jazz de Montréal


Our wedding was indeed everything we hoped for. … And the Bagg Street Band was a key part of that success. … Their music set the mood, or at least kept it high and away from traditional music. … They were patient, professional, devoted to wrapping people with warm music. I liked the way they dressed, original and comfortable, somewhat exotic but not in disguise, they looked cool and relaxed. Everything went smoothly, with a smile. We found [Robin, the booking agent,] very open and interested in receiving our requests, and [her] suggestions were rich and intelligent. The contract was clear and timely. You perfectly managed our expectations and we enjoyed each contact with you.  
It was a real pleasure dealing with the Bagg Street Band Team.

- Frederic and Josiane (Groom and Bride), September 2009




The joyous debut by Québecs first and foremost klezmer band. The selections are beautifully rendered, sometimes rollicking at breakneck speed, at other times pensive and deeply nostalgic

- Daniel Feist, Montreal Gazette, reviewing Go Meshuggah!


An almost 50-minute frenzy of music that goes beyond mere toe-tapping.

- Heather Soloman, Canadian Jewish News


A fine collection of 10 well-rendered instrumentals that will leave you reelin’ and spinnin’. No doubt about it, this album is going to make you, as its title states, Go Crazy.

- Martin Siberok, Hour Magazine


A klezmer revival has been going on for some years, as evidenced by a recent PBS special, a week of klezmer music at the 1994 Montreal Jazz Festival, and stacks of new recordings. The leading Montreal exponent is the Bagg Street Klezmer Band, who take their name from the Bagg Street synagogue. The title of this debut CD means Go Crazy! which is the effect klezmer musicians are supposed to have on party guests.

 Alongside the sprightly minor key dances are folk songs and processionals, all learned by band members from older musicians or from 78 RPM recordings. Because klezmer has absorbed influences from gypsies and gentiles who have lived alongside the Jewish people, there are traces of Russian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Polish, Greek, Turkish and Arabic music. Klezmer’s multi-ethnic origins make it appealing to a wide range of fans, and as instrumental music it transcends linguistic barriers.

Add in its sorrow and joy, exotic charm and tremendous energy, and it is easy to see why it is gaining popularity, striking a resonant chord with francophones and anglophones alike.

A lot of heart, soul and care went into this excellent set of music, appropriate for any gathering where emotions are felt – and you want to dance.

- Craig Morrison, McGill News (Spring 1997)

 

Here is yet another authoritative local band playing at far beyond local standards. From the opening medley of "Odessa Bulgars," these Bagg St. folks take their klez seriously, and play it with a lot of fervor and fun. They do a lot of dancing, with but a few quieter moments, as on their peaceful Russian Folk Melody, or on the sensitively done instrumental version of "Papir" (think, "doina doina" but less cloying), which manages to segue into a non-cliched Kolomeike (a dance of which I am beginning to tire in some renditions: Bad versions of this song--and unlike anything you are going to hear on this recording, are reminding me of my days emceeing a folk club in Jerusalem, where each week brought yet another butchered version of "Tennessee Stud").

Sorry for the digression, but you realize how much you enjoy something when you find yourself tapping your toes to songs that you have come to dread on other recordings. This is one of the good recordings. Even their "Papirosn" sounds new.

I should also mention, since this is a Montreal band, that the liner notes are presented in both English and French, and that both renditions look exquisite. Songs are well-annotated, as well.

Go Meshuggah! is also unusual in that there are no vocals on the album. In short, the band remains true to klezmer tradition, presenting renewed standards for your listening pleasure. I emphasize the word, "pleasure." Clearly, to paraphrase the band's motto, "Klezmer is our Bagg." (Or, as they would put it, "Le Klezmer est notre Bagg".

Enjoy!

- Ari Davidow, www.klezmershack.com, reviewing Go Meshuggah!





 





Comments