Amsterdam Klezmer Band (AKB) plays songs in the style of klezmer, with elements of Balkan, Roma and hip-hop music. The new album “Bomba Pop” was produced by Austrian musician Dunkelbunt and is dedicated to their late co-founder and accordionist Theo van Tol.

The Dutch band Amsterdam Klezmer Band was founded in 1996 by saxophonist and singer Job Chajes. To this day, they are the authors of most of their repertoire. They are not conservative traditionalists, on the contrary, they have always experimented within the framework of klezmer, and quite boldly so. They combined it not only with gypsy, jazz, or South American music, but sometimes also flavored it with rap. Their songs were remixed by world-famous DJs such as C-Mon & Kypski, Shantel and others.

No matter where they play, in Brazil or in South Korea, there is a joyful connection of diverse audiences at their concerts. They call themselves a “mini brass band”. Their second singer, Alec Kopyt, hails from Odessa. He brought to the band the ancient, bittersweet song style of the streets of this port city.

“We are a democratic band. Diversity is what creates our specific sound”, said AKB.

Their latest album “Bomba Pop” contains imaginative songs, both fast and slow, instrumental and vocal-instrumental. In late 2022, Bomba Pop, a collection of pieces written by various band members, was recorded in collaboration with DJ, pianist and producer Dunkelbunt, the pseudonym of Viennese Ulf Lindemann. Dunkelbunt is an old acquaintance of the band, having already worked with them during the Balkan Beats craze of the early ’00s on remixes of tracks such as Naie Chuppe and Chassid in Amsterdam.

Modern not only klezmer

The goal; an exciting, exuberant mix of traditional Klezmer, oriental melodies and modern pop music influences, combined with the distinctive popping energy that AKB has been known for for over two and a half decades.

Fully in line with that goal, opener Do It In Amsterdam bursts into life with a mix of cumbia and klezmer. In 2025, the Dutch capital celebrates its 750th anniversary, and the Mokum-based world band is already looking forward to that.

From there, we travel on to the very first drum&bass-inspired Boogaloo track Choices and Consequences, and to Bomba and Joey’s Hora, which take the listener through more traditional Jewish-American swing and almost classical-sounding themes.

AKB - Bomba Pop

In 12 compositions, we dance, waltz and groove further along such tracks as “On Mala”, a collaboration with Ukrainian musicians Alec Kopyt and Katja Poltavets, and – how could it be otherwise – a solo tribute by accordionist Ellen van Vliet to her dear friend Theo van Tol, whose place in the AKB lineup she now fills with verve.

Instrumental closing track “The Journey And The Traveler” is also dedicated to Van Tol; a compelling, rainy, short, and above all powerful end to a meaningful but equally banging addition to the oeuvre of Holland’s premier klezmer band.

With that, Bomba Pop is an eclectic record that never feels patchy, and already bodes well for the band’s upcoming tour of the Netherlands. For now, you can listen to it on our Mixcloud broadcast in the “Album of the Week” section.

NMR (poto: press Amsterdam Klezmer Band)