Director Talk: A Jumpin’ Night in the Garden of Eden, with Michal Goldman

A Live, Online Event Recorded Via Zoom on April 1, 2021

Made in the mid-1980s, A Jumpin’ Night in the Garden of Eden was the first film to document the American klezmer revival. For nearly a millennium, vigorous and soulful klezmer had been part of the celebration of Jewish life in Eastern Europe, and in the early decades of the twentieth century it continued to flourish in America. Assimilated and commercialized, this quintessential expression of Yiddish culture was virtually extinct by the time some young musicians went looking for a way to set themselves apart in the vast and competitive American musical landscape.

Making the past live in the present is at the heart of any musical revival, and A Jumpin’ Night in the Garden of Eden shows three generations of musicians involved in the process, tracing the efforts of two groups of young musicians, Kapelye and the Klezmer Conservatory Band, as they rediscover klezmer music and make it their own. Since the film was first released, the young musical explorers profiled here have become klezmer’s elder statesmen. A generation later, the question remains: why do young musicians continue to find this music so seductive?

This program is presented in partnership with Amherst Cinema. 

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