Klezmer Idol: And the winner is...

August 2, 2007

The votes have been cast and counted, and we can announce (drumroll, please) that JC readers have chosen Stewart Curtis's K-Groove as the winner of our Klemzer Idol competition.

In what turned out to be a close contest, the votes of hundreds of readers, cast via the JC's website at thejc.com, put K-Groove just ahead of second-placed band Shir, with Klezmer Gourmet in third position. The seven other bands taking part were all well supported.

K-Groove's wins the opportunity to perform its blend of South American and Eastern European sounds at the Jewish Music Institute's KlezFest in London's Hyde Park on August 12.

Band leader Stewart Curtis was delighted. "It feels like winning an Oscar for a lifetime of dedication to the scale of B minor," he said. "I'm quite surprised, really. I thought I'd come in 11th place. It been a good competition and it's about time klezmer got its moment."

He also had some words of consolation for his nearest rivals, acoustic quartet Shir. "I know the guys from Shir. We have played together," he said. "They are a very good band and I'm honoured to have won against such strong competition. What's good about klezmer is that it brings together a whole mixture of musicians."

With two successful albums under their belt - Too Loud for Dinner and Smoked Salmon Salsa- K-Groove has a high profile in the British klezmer scene. Curtis - who comes from a jazz background - formed K-Groove in the mid 1990s and the line-up has changed very little over the years, with Rob Terry on keyboards, Brad Lang on basses, Hans Ferrao on drums and Paul Jayasinha on trumpet.

Curtis says the highlight of K-Groove's career so far - apart from winning Klezmer Idol - has been supporting jazz legend Nina Simone at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The band's third album, Brazilian Bop Bagel, is due to be released next year.

Klezmer Idol was organised by the JC with the Jewish Music Institute. The JMI's Laoise Davidson said: "It has been a fantastic competition, with a great line-up of bands, and we are delighted that it has made people aware how healthy the home-grown klezmer scene is here in the UK. Stewart Curtis's K-Groove, the winning band, is an excellent choice."

We would like to thank to all the musicians and readers who took part.

Last updated: 3:08pm, September 29 2008