Book our klezmer ceilidh for an unforgettably great party!

Do you have a wedding or big birthday coming soon?

Do you want to have a celebration that will be remembered with pleasure for years, as something different but highly enjoyable for all your family and friends?

Then book ZHOK HORA as your band! Just look what we will provide…

  • Acoustic klezmer music while your guests meet and chat. Sometimes bright and sparkling, sometimes soulful and poetic, always beautifully performed by two or three members of the band, without amplification (listen to the music here)
  • Six piece klezmer band for dancing
  • The dances are wonderfully uplifting, easy to learn and suitable for all, from the most stately octogenarian to the kids
  • The services of a dance caller, who will teach everyone the steps
  • Free use of band’s PA
  • Special arrangements? – give us a call and we will do our best to oblige. By the way, we love playing outside!

Zhok Hora played at St Andrew’s Music Festival

St AndrewsZhok Hora performed their own unforgettable brand of klezmer at St Andrew’s Church, Psalter Lane, Sheffield S11 8YL on the evening of Monday 10th November, 2014. The large audience enjoyed the wild dance tunes and heart-breakingly sad wedding music of Jewish Eastern Europe, and the world premier of Ray Kohn’s klezmer composition “Ex Tempore”.

All proceeds went to the Delphi Trust, a Sheffield based charity that supports live music and associated educational projects.

25th Anniversary of Klezmer in the UK – and it all started in Sheffield!

Ray performing at Kingfield Hall, Sheffield in 2012

Ray performing at Kingfield Hall, Sheffield in 2012

2013 was the 25th anniversary of the UK’s first klezmer band, and it all started in Sheffield with workshops given by Zhok Hora’s fiddler Ray Kohn, back in 1987.

Klezmer is the world music sensation with gripping melodies and powerful rhythms that spring from the Jewish folk music of Eastern Europe. Klezmer bands have become amongst the most attractive performers on stages in every continent.

The original Sheffield Klezmer Band was formed in 1988 from those attending workshops given by Ray Kohn in 1987. Springing from the visit of the touring Anne Frank Exhibition, the workshops began as a small-scale teaching programme for local children. However, as parents also began to play, demand for performances grew and the band played in Sheffield, Salford, Manchester, Leeds and York. This band went on to become the Sheffield Spielers, and Zhoc Hora guitarist Ian Stern was another founder member.

Demand for workshops from further afield led to a series that attracted potential klezmer performers from all over the UK. Meanwhile Sheffield’s Central Library bought every klezmer record it could lay its hands on, both new recordings of bands from the USA and reissues of old recordings made in the 1920s and 30s. The free distribution of klezmer arrangements, made from these old recordings, encouraged the growth of bands throughout the UK and Ray supported this network with a free broadsheet called Klezmer Kontact. With readers throughout the UK and abroad, he organised a European Klezmer Bands competition in Sheffield that brought together 10 bands. (A band from Amsterdam won.)

With the launch of a klezmer website by David Hayes in 1993, the broadsheet was discontinued, but by then there were a number of semi-professional bands playing all over the country. By 1995, some fully professional performers were making a name for themselves and the London Klezcamp brought them together with experienced professionals from the USA. The UK’s klezmer players had joined the world music movement!

In Sheffield, the Spielers were joined by Tashbain, who combined klezmer with Jewish storytelling and headlined all the major storytelling festivals in the UK. Then came Minnie Moosika and others. Meanwhile Ray Kohn left Sheffield, first to work in Nottingham then to travel the world. He finally came to rest back home in Sheffield to find the klezmer scene that he started alive and kicking – and just ripe for the formation of a new band.

Zhok Hora – today Sheffield, tomorrow the world!

Taking a break from recording at Blackbrook Farm, Sheffield 2012

Zhok Hora, Sheffield’s finest klezmer band, hit the world music scene in 2011 and haven’t stopped running away since! Six talented musicians create magical musical mayhem, majestically marrying modern and traditional takes on some good old-fashioned klezmer… Dancing and carousing in general a speciality. Available for weddings, birthday parties, live gigs, bar and bat mitzvahs, and very “special” occasions of all sorts.

One of the best places we played in 2012 was the Weston Park Live Bandstand Marathon, in Sheffield. On a baking hot Sunday afternoon in September (yes there was at least one!) we played to a huge crowd of warm and happy people, mainly sprawled out on the grass eating picnics and ice cream It was a lovely gig. Another highlight was our first public dance, held at the Kingfield Hall and kindly hosted by Sheffield’s Jewish community. We invited Sue Cooper over from New Mills to call the dance steps, and a great time was had by all.