MUSIC All About Eve:
Thu, 09/06/2012
Special To The Jewish Week

There is a lot to be said for continuity. In a culture in which the “new” is exalted and traditions have the half-life of a morning glory, it’s nice to talk to someone like Eve Sicular, leader and percussionist for Metropolitan Klezmer and Isle of Klezbos. She respects the traditions — what klezmer artist wouldn’t? — and is proud of her current track record.

“Metropolitan Klezmer is 18 years old and counting; we’re at the chai mark,” she says, chuckling. “Isle of Klezbos turned 14 in August.”

Equally significant, the bands continue to gig regularly and record steadily. And with a considerable overlap in personnel, the interrelationship of the groups makes Sicular’s life easier.

“It would be nice to have a manager,” she confesses, “but it’s OK being my own administrative assistant. It helps that the two bands have a symbiotic relationship. About half of the musicians are in both bands. Five out of the eight members of Metropolitan Klezmer are women and four of them are regulars in Isle, which is a sextet. What that means is that we sometimes have a built-in guest artist [from the sibling band] and that makes the repertoire fresh for us.”

How have these two bands managed to stay together for so long with minimal personnel changes in either group?

Variety and balance, Sicular says, are the key.

“Public performances, private parties, recording, and once in a while a commission to do something special — that’s been a good formula for us,” she says. “We were also lucky that we came along just as the Internet started —  people were beginning to make their own records and do a lot of their own publicity. We had a website for the band very early on, and that meant that we could chart our own course and people could find us.

Maturity helps too, she adds.

“We’re having more fun than ever when we play live, because musicians age well; their souls are constantly marinating in the music,” Sicular says. “As long as the body follows…”

On Sunday, Sept. 30, Isle of Klezbos plays the Klezmer Brunch at City Winery (155 Varick St. at Vandam St., [212] 608-0555, www.citywinery.com). First set begins at 11 a.m. On Nov. 4 at 2 p.m. you have a rare opportunity to see both bands on the same bill at Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College (2900 Campus Rd., [718] 951-4500, http://brooklyncenter.com).

On Sunday, Dec. 9, Metropolitan Klezmer plays the Klezmer Brunch at City Winery. First set begins at 11 a.m.