Feisty . . . The Kugels (from left) Robin Perks, Ross Harris, Debbie Rawson and Jacqueline Norden. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

by Greta Yeoman

Feisty 19th-century Jewish folk music is returning to Geraldine this weekend.

The Kugels are set to perform a concert of “klezmer” – 19th-century Jewish folk music – at St Mary’s Church in Talbot St on Saturday, August 31.

The band, made up of former New Zealand Symphony Orchestra members Robin Perks, Debbie Rawson and Jacqueline Norden and composer and New Zealand arts laureate Ross Harris, toured with Arts on Tour in 2016, including a performance in Geraldine.

A review of their 2016 concert by the Geraldine Community Arts Council described The Kugels as an “amazing ensemble [which] gave a concert of rare quality that would grace any of the top auditoria worldwide”.

The Kugels’ show will feature original klezmer compositions from accordionist Harris, as well as traditional klezmer pieces originally played at weddings and other celebrations in Eastern and Central Europe.

Perks, the band’s violinist, was part of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra for just under 40 years and has spent the past 15 years performing klezmer music.

He is joined by multi-instrumentalist Rawson, who plays the clarinet, saxophone and xaphoon (a cross between a saxophone and clarinet).

Rawson is the head of woodwind at the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington.

The fourth member of the folk quartet, Norden, has played a range of instruments and genres including pop, Irish music, jazz and classical music, and plays in the Wellington Chamber Orchestra.

The Kugels will perform at St Mary’s Church in Geraldine on Saturday, August 31, starting at 7.30pm.

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