Metropolitan Klezmer, founded in 1994, is the collaborative adventure of eight exceptional New York musicians creating inspired interpretations and original compositions around a panorama of traditionally eclectic Yiddish repertoire. The band was formed by drummer/Yiddish film scholar Eve Sicular with multi-talented world music artists Ismail Butera (accordion) and Michael Hess (violin, ney flutes, kanun zither) plus ubiquitous downtown bass and tuba treasure Dave Hofstra, and originally featured klezmer legend Howie Leess (b. 1920) on clarinet & tenor sax. Since their debut at John Zorn's New Jewish Music Fest, the group has expanded to include vocalist Melissa Fogarty and a dynamic horn section: Debra Kreisberg (clarinet/alto sax), Pam Fleming (trumpet/fluegelhorn), and Reut Regev (trombone). Karen Waltuch plays viola. Former members also include Steve Elson (reeds) and Rick Faulkner (trombone). Collectively, their experiences span genres from Albanian to Zydeco as well as jazz, Latin, classical, funk, ska and many other styles. Individually, Metropolitan Klezmer players have worked with such diverse artists as Bonnie Raitt, The Toasters, Bill Frisell, Toshi Reagon, Juan Carlos Formell, Indigo Girls, Burning Spear, Amy Sedaris, Max Roach, Rufus Wainwright, Nora York, and the Microscopic Septet, as well as Jewish music performers from the Klezmatics and Andy Statman to David Krakauer, Sephardic stars Alhambra and SF's Charming Hostess. To quote Seth Rogovoy (The Essential Klezmer), Metropolitan Klezmer is distinguished by just plain great, versatile ensemble playing... exuberant spirit and wit.