Which kind of music are we talking about ? thanks to this little glossary, the world of the Gefilte Swing and thus of the klezmer swing will not hold anymore secrets for you.

Gefilte fish

It is read/pronounced “guéfilté fiche”. And right, some don’t give “a fish” about it. But the stuffed carp requires a real expertise and needs to be tamed. When some just love its sweet-sour taste that often presides at Pessah (Jewish Easter). That’s how it became iconic of Ashkenazy cookery.


Klezmer didn’t include any singing. From the Middle Age to the 20th century and in all Eastern Europe, it was played by Jewish wandering players from celebrations to celebrations, from shtetls (villages) to ghettos. It gets its inspiration from secular songs and traditional dances as well as from Jewish liturgy and nigunim.
Under influence of Slavic, Gypsy, Greek, Turkish (Ottoman) and later jazz musicians, it acquired a recognisable diversity and sonority. It calls the audience for dancing and allows the musician to express a wide range of emotions, from joy to despair, piety to rebellion and contemplation to exhilaration.


A simple melody, often of religious inspiration, easy to catch and to sing together. Many have been written by a rabbi, a member of a rabbinic school or taken from a local or foreign folklore and then hallowed.
The lyrics are most often onomatopoeias that differ according to the region. For example, “bim, bom” in Modzitz area (Galicia) or “ay di gi day” in Ger.


The taste of klezmer owes a lot to its krekhts (sigh, moaning, sobbing, …) glitsh (portamento or brief glissando that goes from the note and higher); dreydl or shleyfer (grupetto), tshok (clattering), kvetsh (moaning) or kheytsh (inflexions), boydt’ia, … Yiddish words to characterize klezmer. They are inspired by the prayers’ recitation.


It is a form of vocal jazz with onomatopoeias instead of proper lyrics. It has been much developed by Ella Fitzgerald.


It first refers to a way of phrasing and making the notes bounce. It also defines a type of jazz from the 1930-1950. At that time many big bands were created : these of Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller,… after that came be-bop with musicians like Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillepsie.


It is the language of the Jewish songs of Eastern Europe. It derived from old German fused with Hebraic and Slavic words and from the Middle Age it became the vernacular language of the Jewish communities in central and eastern Europe. On the eve of the Second World War, Yiddish was spoken by the two-thirds of Jewish world population, that is 11 million.

The Gefilte Swing thank Michel Borzykowski for his inspiring site For an other source :