The word "Klezmer" is derived from Hebrew, and loosely translated means musical instrument. The example of Klezmer most familiar to mainstream America is the fiddler from the movie and play, "Fiddler on the Roof". An eastern European tradition, Klezmorim (Jewish folk musicians) traveled from town to town to entertain at weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, and other occasions. These musicians usually played fiddles and clarinets, which contributed to the melancholy sounds now associated with "Jewish music".
Although Klezmer is more closely tied to Eastern Europe, other areas with Jewish populations have contributed slightly different rhythms and styles--Turkisher, Rumanian Hora, Bulgar(Bulgaria), and Frailach(Germany).
Jews brought this form of music with them when they immigrated to the United States during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Although Klezmer music lost favor as an art form between 1930s and 1970s, it has made a comeback in recent years. As with other ethnic groups, Jewish Americans are rediscovering their roots, and Klezmer music is an integral part of the Jewish experience. Today, there are approximately 50 working Klezmer bands nationwide.