Alicia Svigals is a violinist/composer and a founder of the Klezmatics and of the all-women band Mikveh, who is considered by many to be the world’s foremost klezmer fiddler. She has also played with everyone from violinist Itzhak Perlman to Led Zeppelin.
Alicia’s party band gets everyone dancing with klezmer, simkhe dancing music, Israeli folk dance tunes, and high-energy rock, R&B and jazz. The musicians are the top artists on the Jewish music scene.
We spoke with Alicia to learn more about having this type of music at your child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah. (Photos below by Jeff Block).
MM: Please describe what you do?
AS: We play the wild and wonderful traditional Jewish party music known as klezmer, and bring a fantastic dance leader who guides the crowd through a ‘mega-hora’ that can last up to an hour. Much more than just circling and lifting the Mitzvah family on chairs, the dancing usually draws in every single person at the party, young and old; the kids in particular love spinning around on a brass plate in the center of the circle and being part of the pinwheel shapes, snaking lines and other formations that our dance master makes happen.
Dance leader Steve Weintraub bottle dances to the live music of Klezmer by Alicia Svigals
MM: How do guests react once the music begins?
AS: Party goers, most of whom have never been exposed to this side of Jewish culture before, describe the parties as the most memorable they’ve ever been to. The feeling of ecstatic celebration in those concentric circles, and the Jewish cultural experience the Mitzvah kids and their friends get out of it, is impossible to put a price on.
Alicia performing with her band
MM: How many Bar/Bat Mitzvahs do you play each year?
AS: We play about 40-50 Mitzvahs a year. We play rock, R&B and jazz in addition to klezmer, and collaborate with DJs and MCs as well — we can bring our own or work with yours. Our dance leader can play party games with the kids too, so a separate MC isn’t necessary.
Moms attempting the Bat Mitzvah Bottle Dance Challenge!
Watch Alicia’s band live in concert on YouTube here.
For more information, call Alicia at: 1 877 KLEZMER