Bulgach squeezes Klezmer Juice at Boulevard

Gustavo Bulgach is one of the premier musicians performing that style in the modern era, and he’ll be bringing his Klezmer Juice trio to Boulevard Music this weekend. (Photo credit: Eduardo Citrinblum)

Klezmer is, according to Wikipedia, “an instrumental musical tradition of the Ashkenazi Jews of Central and Eastern Europe.” Gustavo Bulgach is one of the premier musicians performing that style in the modern era, and he’ll be bringing his Klezmer Juice trio to Boulevard Music this weekend. He told the News about what Culver can expect.

When did you start playing and performing? 

I started with the flute (recorder, etc) in school and by 15 years old I got a clarinet from my grandfather, or one of his friends gave it to him, and I attended the Buenos Aires Conservatory of music. Shortly afterwards, I got a saxophone and I focused on playing that with everyone I could.

Describe your sound/style?

I am always trying to sing through the clarinet. I figure out some words (real ones or made up) that can go along with the melody. When I play Klezmer I sing Yiddish, When I play Latin I sing in Spanish, and so on. I want to believe my instrument is nothing but an amplifier of my inner voice. My style is simple – one foot in tradition and the other in the now!

What are your career highlights so far?

I featured in the Hollywood movie Wedding Crashers featuring Vince Vaughgn and Owen Wilson. I was a member of the House of Blues house band for seven years. I performed with the one and only Little Richard. I’m a true Disciple of the great Bennie Maupin.

What recorded music is available — particularly the most recent?

I have five recordings available online at different sites, like ITunes. We also have a Spotify channel with over 13.000 Listeners a month. We have videos posted on Youtube under Klezmer Juice.

Have you performed at Boulevard Music before?
We have played at Boulevard Music just about three times before. It is one of my favorite venues to play. Intimate although large enough for a band on stage. Always full of friends and fans and music lovers. Disneyland!

What can the audience expect from the set this time?

The format of the band this time will be a trio. With Andrew Markham on keyboards (and MOOG SYNTH!), Cuban bass player Carlitos Cuba, and myself on clarinet and much more. We have been working on some original tunes, old Yiddish tangos, nigunim (melodies without lyrics) crashing into boleros, obscure wedding music from the old world, and much much more. It’s almost impossible to fit in one presentation. We may end up singing all together!

What else do you have coming up?

I’m always working on new music, either old or coming from a different genre. I always like to put the melodies into a test, to see if it can be fit for different Beats. I also love to score or write music for movies! I would like to do more so I am always working on pieces to be finished to be presented at any time. I’ve been working on some really interesting collaborations with a producer from France named Dede Diaz. 

I am the director of KAILA – the Klezmer Arts Institute of LA – and we have been very busy with workshops, Zoom Lessons and presentations. Local musicians get together every other week for the Klezmer Workshop and it has been an amazing experience, both for myself and for every musician that joins us. We are always open for more players so if any of your readers are interested, should email us at Klezmerla@gmail.com for more information.

Gustavo Bulgach & Klezmer Juice performs alongside Joellen Lapidus & the Urban Gypsies  at 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 8 at Boulevard Music. Go to boulevardmusic.com for more information.

Elsewhere this week

The Culver Hotel will be hosting the likes of Sylvia & the Rhythm Boys, and Scotty Bramer. Go to culverhotel.com for more info.

There’s a full program of music at the Cinema Bar this week, as usual. The Hot Club of Los Angeles plays every Monday, and Wednesdays are singer/songwriter and open mic night. Other artists performing this week include Jaime Scally Caps Band, KKAT, Hollywood Rivieras, Bob Street aka Beto Calle, and Adam Jason. Go to thecinemabar.com for more info.