Don Kipper are a multi award-winning 7-piece ensemble playing and transforming a wide range of traditional musical forms reflecting the cultural diversity of North East London, from Turkish and Greek Folk Music to Romani music and Klezmer. While they attempt to root themselves deeply in the traditions that surround them, they also explore radical interpretations and taut arrangements full of complex harmonies, rhythms and imaginative improvisation. They’re equally adept at taking an intimate audience on a musical journey through Europe as they are taking their feet on a frantic journey around the dance floor, at home both on large outdoor stages playing to a crowd of ecstatic dancers, and in sweaty tents getting the throng jumping.
Since 2013, they have released their First and Second albums, been featured on BBC Introducing and the BBC World Service, played two European Tours, and won the titles of both the Moshe Beregovski Award for best Klezmer Newcomers and World Music Network’s Battle of the Bands. If you like the Amsterdam Klezmer Band, Taraf De Haïdouks, or Balkan Beat Box you’ll love Don Kipper!
There’s undoubtedly a new generation of musicians in the UK exploring Klezmer, Balkan and Roma music and many of them seem to have even surpassed the idiomatic fluency and technical proficiency of the turn of the century trailblazers. Maybe it’s a case of one generation seeding another musically… even so, ahead of the rest and heading for new territories is Don Kipper. Each time I see them they seem to have made another great leap forward and cross-pollinated their music with a Greek melody, a Turkish time signature or moments of ensemble playing that are so tight it sounds like one divine entity is playing the band. They’re so watchable, listenable and unique that I’m convinced that they’re going to break on through to the other side, kick xenophobia back into the previous century where it belongs and bathe an enchanted UK in a Klezmer wave the like of which it has never known before.
“Sure to send shivers down your spine”