This band is my pride at this moment, even though I can’t say that we’re touring all over the world at the moment (which of course is the next step in my master plan!). We recorded an album in May 2018 with music that I wrote in the fist half of 2018, right after the birth of my first child.

This was the first time that I put together a klezmer band (with two violins, clarinet, cello, percussion and piano/accordion) with the sole objective of playing my own tunes. Most of them are traditional Yiddish dance forms like sirba, kolomeyke, freyekhs, sher, terkish and so on, although there is some more freewheeling stuff in there as well. Musically, Halva is very much inspired and intrigued by the combination of consonance and dissonance in Greek traditional music and modal music in general, and also by the sound of Hungarian fiddle bands (as you will see/hear in the trailer if you can spare three minutes to watch it). And then, of course, there is some influence of classical music and jazz in there as well. The main ingredient though, is klezmer music.

This project is in many ways a reflection of a turbulent period in my life. With the birth of my son in November 2017, I found myself in that cocoon of love with my wife and baby- the fascination of the new life that came out of us, and the energetic exploration and curiosity that drives it. At the same time, living together with and taking care of my old grandmother, there was a sobering reckoning with the imminent end of a life, in a hopeless fight against illness. Despite the pain, old age comes with a wisdom that nothing but a long life affords a person and I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to learn so many things about life from my grandmother.

I am also grateful and proud to have recorded this first Halva record with some good friends and fantastic musicians: Ilya Shneveys on piano and accordion (Ilya also contributed two tunes to the album), Georg Brinkmann on clarinet, Eline Duerinck on cello, Alina Bauer on violin and Robbe Kieckens on percussion.